July 3, 2024

Can you coach off-field in the way you would on-field?

Written by:
Andy Muir

It’s corny, I know, but Coach Logic really was built for coaches, by coaches.

As well as having teaching and coaching backgrounds when we started, we also had hair, we still coach and always think about the coach first as we continue to develop Coach Logic as a collaborative video analysis software for sports around the world.

Coincidentally we are coaching at the same club, the mighty Currie Chieftains, who’s Senior Team, coached by Mark, are Premiership Champions. 

I’m coaching at the other end of the club, but in my 6th year coaching with the mini’s team my son is part of as we head into Under 11’s.

I’ll let you decide who has the hardest job!

Mark’s squad are avid users of Coach Logic. The group I coach with are a bit young, but that doesn’t mean to say they don’t love to see a short clip of them and their teammates in action!

However, there are still similarities as to the coaching process we both go through with regards to how, when, and with whom, we will connect.  Ultimately, we try to recreate this in Coach Logic.

Let’s dive into what I mean…

As with most coaches, there will be on-field interactions that will be with individuals, small groups, and the whole squad.  There is no rule as to whether they are initiated by the player or the coach.

With the young team, one of the biggest learnings is to keep the whole squad interactions. It became quite clear that no matter how good an explanation I gave before a game, it didn’t transfer once we got started.

It’s been far better to give basic instructions and then develop over the first few minutes.  It saves a couple of minutes of me chatting and delivers the upside of more touches and play time, and the group having to work it out for themselves is a pretty handy skill too!

Perhaps the most useful time for whole group interaction is to point out something cool one of the squad did, whether that be a game or behaviour related.

Often when we have small group interactions, we are providing opportunities for problem solving, which is a great way for them to have ownership and connect with each other.

On-field we let them call time-outs, which they love.  They’ll talk about tactics to be more successful, or sometimes I think they look at it as an opportunity to hatch a cunning plan to get one over the other team.

We try to make this an adult free zone.  Although we might hover over to hear what they’re saying as it can be quite insightful or ask a question to help them find their words, but it’s also a bit selfish as it’s quite heartwarming to hear what they come up with.

Finally, we’ll do some (Ed Hall termed) Ninja coaching.  Effectively we will move around and speak to, or ask a question of, individual players without stopping play.  More often than not, no one will know what went down.  Sometimes we’re pumping up their tires, other times we’re asking a helpful question, or acknowledging they tried something cool.  The important thing is we’re making a connection to support their growth.

It doesn't change for most environments as they get older, but the individual needs based on their stage of development are so different, it would be fruitless continually giving big group feedback.

We’re lucky that as well as a great group of players, we are an enthusiastic and caring group of coaches, and it’s something we will build on for the coming season as we strive to make it the best part of their week.

Just as every interaction on-field doesn’t involve the whole squad, neither should our approach to video analysis.  Instead, it should be flexible to how you want to coach, give individuals a personal experience and not put all the burden on any single individual.

Does the ability to engage in this way around your video analysis sound like a good way to go?

With Coach Logic we have tried to create exactly this.  You can send out messages and clips to the whole squad, give small groups the opportunity to create playlists as part of your weekly preparation, or individuals can annotate playlists as part of their individual development plan, highlights reel or recruitment video.

Mark wouldn’t get the engagement online without the connection in the real world!  Maybe the conversation will be started walking back from the training pitch followed up by finding some content, or maybe it will be initiated by sharing a short clip and following up in person.

Either way, the crossover between the physical and digital world is frequent, and recognising opportunities to make the most of this can be powerful. 

If you’d like to find out more about how Coach Logic can motivate your squad to develop individually and collectively, please get in touch.


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