Clarity Affords Focus: A Coach’s Perspective on the Benefits of Video Analysis in Youth Sport

In our previous blog we explored the impact of bias on physiotherapy practice. We identified the need to remain conscious of our of bias and the impact of our biases on our ability to critically appraise and utilise existing and new methods to support the rehab process. In this blog, we explore coach perceptions of performance analysis in youth sport and the collective and targeted benefits the video analysis. Thanks to a member of our rugby coaching team for answering the following questions.

What does analysis mean to you in your sport?

In an ever-evolving world of technology in sport, video analysis has become a significant part of rugby coaching. Rugby teams have become more technically and tactically efficient and we believe the use of analysis plays a key role in finding ways to support team and individual player development. Even in a school rugby programme, video analysis has become an important part of our review and player development process.

Analysis has played a substantial part in the way I now deliver my coaching sessions. It allows me the opportunity to take the emotion out of the game, review match and training footage with a clear head and show players examples of both good practice and areas of their game that can be improved. In addition, video analysis allows me to reflect on my own coaching practice by helping me to answer questions such as:

Am I coaching this correctly?

Are the players understanding what I want them to do?

Is a certain coaching intervention working as I had planned?  

If a player can better understand the game and if my coaching interventions can be more impactful, then that is positive for the individual and the team. Thus, analysis creates accountability for all involved and requires minimal effective inputs from video analysis, with potentially large positive changes in performance.

What advice would you give to an analyst coming into the industry?

Be open to any opportunities put in front of you. Do not bottleneck yourself into one sport. You can learn a lot from a range of sports which can then lead to you being an even better analyst in your preferred sport. In short, coaching and analysis processes can be transferable. Developing a larger toolbox of skills in both areas can have long term benefit to your practice.

Be involved with as many coaching discussions as possible. This will help you gain an understanding of how the coaching team works and what they want in team reviews. For example, one coach may have enough time to go through 7/8 clips and discuss all of them, but another coach may only have a ten-minute slot, so as an analyst it’s important you know what clips are beneficial. This comes through good communication between the analyst and coach.

What do you think are the key skills an analyst needs to have?

An understanding of your sport. You don’t have to be an expert but to have a level of knowledge and understanding to be able to support the coaching process is advantageous. If a coach knows that the analyst can produce clips that will be relevant to the coaching situation then that can have a greater impact on the coach and player experience.

You must love what you’re doing. That’s the most important part. An analyst’s job can be very lonely if you do not enjoy what you’re doing. The hours can be long so smile, be happy and be grateful you’re doing something you love.

What benefits can pupils get from analysis?

Pupils can gain a huge amount from analysis. Not just from what the video analysis process can provide, but also an understanding of how to access and optimise analysis software. Enhancing pupils understanding of the capturing, coding and analysis process will be beneficial for their short term understanding of the sport and their long term understanding of the analysis process. These may be important skills they can use inside and outside of sport in the future. In summary, video analysis is now embedded in the coaching processes of rugby at a variety of levels. The congruence of the coach and analyst may be key to optimise the content and processes involved in analysis. If both parties can bring a broad range of prior experiences to the analysis process, then this may enhance the experience of the player as the end user. Finally, framing video analysis as the opportunity to learn skills for and beyond sport may be a healthy outlook for young people in sport and their ability to transfer the use of technology beyond the sports field.

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