The secret weapon grassroots coaches don’t realise they have.

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We’ve all seen it on Sky and BT sports: pundits reviewing match footage from different vantage points to analyse key moments in the outcome of competitive matches. From football to basketball, rugby to tennis, video analysis has taken the world of sport by storm. For coaches, noting down these key moments on a notepad to assist their half-time team talk or post-match review has been incredibly powerful. How else are players meant to remember all the instances where their performances could have or should have been better? … Especially when the adrenaline from competition wears off.

We are all visual learners

Video analysis has been adopted by modern sports coaches, trainers and managers to supplement their notes in order to deliver more compelling match analysis that crystalises the feedback they are delivering. For the player, this creates an open dialogue with the coach resulting in better outcomes. It also reduces the incidence of player apathy to feedback which can arise when players feel that the feedback received does not match how they felt the game transpired. As the saying goes, seeing is believing.
Central to a meaningful video analysis session is good match footage, and while this is a non-issue at the elite level of sports where multiple cameras around the playing arena ensure that no action goes undetected, same cannot be said at the grassroots level of sport.

Affordable technology is bridging the gap

For a sport like football, advances in camera technology and football analysis software have become a game changer helping the grassroots and non-league clubs to adopt best practices in match analysis without breaking the bank. Forward-thinking coaches and analysts are now accustomed to recording their matches with affordable action cameras which are easily set up pitch side on a tripod.

Single camera limitations

Most grassroots football coaches and analysts would agree that recording a match and creating highlights for players can be time consuming. First, you need someone to operate the camera in order to pan and zoom into the relevant action areas. Imagine recording a match and missing your striker’s screamer from outside the box? He or she would certainly not be impressed. Second, the single camera recording that has become prevalent certainly does not provide a view wide enough to see the entire pitch and gain a tactical view in one shot. What’s the use of berating the left back for bombing forward if the goal that was scored from the half-way line was because the goalkeeper was off the line?

Can’t AI just automate that?

Panoramic
Source: Loughborough University Statmetrix

New technology, powered no less by AI – yes, that buzzword – is helping to bring improvements to match recoding that can integrate more than one camera. These multicamera solutions deliver a panoramic viewing mode for coaches which ensure that they can see how their team shape evolves with each passage of play. Furthermore, by tracking the movement of the ball and the players, a broadcast viewing mode can also be generated which focuses solely on the action areas. AI is delivering the best of both for football coaches; however, it is worth noting AI should and will not replace a coach’s intuition. What it should provide is meaningful insights that would otherwise take a grassroots coach a lot of time and effort to do manually.

Better coaches develop better players

In conclusion, video analysis is beneficial not only for players but also coaches themselves. For those aspiring to get to the top of their profession, match analysis has become industry standard and rightly so. Better coaches will most certainly develop better players and not the other way round.