Coach Logic in the News | March 2020
Covid-19 has hit the sporting calendar like nothing else in the past fifty years. With access to greater technology and innovation like never before, it’s been refreshing to see sporting organisations come up with various methods of engaging players, coaches, fans and parents during this time until sport resumes.
Coach Logic has been featured in several articles recently with organisations seeking to keep the connection of those individuals that make up them.
We’ve put together a quick summary of some of the pieces that have been published of recent.
If you’d like any more information on the methods used, don’t hesitate to get in touch.
Academy of Football update: Ricky Martin
Academy Manager Ricky Martin has explained how West Ham United is continuing to support and develop all of the Club’s promising young players during the ongoing break in fixtures.
With all elite football suspended until at least 30 April, the Academy has devised bespoke programmes for every young player and age group who would normally attend Chadwell Heath training ground for the bulk of their development.
Players remain in close contact with the Academy’s medical, fitness and sports science staff and their training schemes have been tailored specifically to support individual’s physical and mental development and welfare.
“To keep our Academy players prepared, we’ve set individual programmes for the players all the way down the different age phases,” Martin explained. “In the PDP (Professional Development Phase) – the Under-23s and the Under-18s – their programmes are a lot more physical-based, where they can use their own bodyweight and do exercises on their own at home or in public spaces, such as parks, not requiring a gym.
“For our [younger] schoolboy players, we’ve got a bit more technical and tactical work for them as well. They have some skills work to practice on their own, but they’ve also got tactical tasks to learn things on a computer programme we use – Coach Logic.
“Through this platform, they can watch games, complete questionnaires and work on some observation tasks, keeping them stimulated and active in their learning.”
I am certain that our young players, our young people and our staff are doing everything they can to help and support people in their local communities at this delicate time
While the situation remains fluid, Martin and his team of staff continue to take all necessary precautions to provide flexible and pragmatic support for everyone involved with the Academy of Football.
Martin said: “At the moment we’re working on a week-by-week basis with a view to there not being any fixtures until the end of April, as per the current information.
“We’re going to keep alert to all possible situations and be ready to support our players, our staff and our families to provide them with programmes while they’re away from the Academy, getting them ready to return to action, safe and healthy.
Martin also spoke proudly of his belief that the characters which comprise the Academy of Football are doing everything they can to be caring citizens in their respective communities.
“The Academy sends out all our support to our neighbours and our communities,” he continued. “I am certain that our young players, our young people and our staff are doing everything they can to help and support people in their local communities at this delicate time.
“We have some fantastic young people in our Academy and they do some great work both on the pitch and off the pitch as well.”
Tigers Continue Support for Student Athletes
Leicester Tigers coaches are continuing to develop young players at Brooksby Melton College in spite of the impact of Covid-19.
The Leicestershire college, like schools and colleges across the UK, has been forced to close its doors to the vast majority of students following the outbreak of coronavirus.
But young rugby players enrolled on Brooksby’s rugby programme – delivered in partnership with the Tigers – are being encouraged to continue their development with pioneering new learning techniques.
These include digital sessions on topics like strength and conditioning, drugs in sport and concussion, as well as live contact with Tigers coaches via video link. Wider support around career and lifestyle advice will also continue, while students can submit work through the college’s virtual learning environment.
Steven Baker, senior rugby development officer at Leicester Tigers, said: “For me, I feel that this is an amazing opportunity as a coaching team to provide an innovative way of rugby learning – it challenges us as professionals to create the resources and challenges aspiring student athletes to maintain their engagement with the programme.
“As a service provider it is our duty to maintain our high standards of delivery and support these learners with their goals in order to transition onto their next level of performance from a rugby, academic or lifestyle perspective.
“These are going to be incredibly difficult times for young athletes at the moment, both physically and mentally, and providing this programme of delivery to them will encourage them to look after themselves, as well as their peers and loved ones by sharing the information they will learn.”
Tigers Academy coach Tom Harrison heads up the delivery of Brooksby’s rugby programme alongside Baker. He explained the thinking behind moving education online.
“Having access to [specialist software] Coach Logic has allowed us to make this transition to education online with video content,” he said. “It’s widely known that Generation Z spend 23 or more hours a week streaming video and 80% of them claim to have learned something from a YouTube video.
“Alongside our usual performance analyst work, we are aiming to create engaging videos and workbooks that will upskill our student-athletes and help them to plan out their futures.”
Brooksby Melton College recorded their highest-ever finish in this season’s Academic and Sporting Excellence (AASE) League and also retained their County Cup title earlier this month.
You can read more about how the programme is helping to reshape stereotypes and the next generation of Tigers by clicking here.
Umpires turn to technology in order to stay at the top of their game
As much of the world goes into lockdown as governments and communities try to contain the spread of Covid-19, athletes have been posting videos and images of the ways they are staying fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, ready to get straight back to top level action when the world emerges from the other side of the virus.
Also looking to stay on top of their game are the umpires. Just as teams will be looking for a quick return to action, so too the umpires will need to be at their physical and mental peaks. We spoke to New Zealand’s Kelly Hudson to find out how she is coping with the challenges posed by living in lockdown.
How is the virus impacting your physical training as a high level umpire?
Until now my training has been unhindered, we have not yet started our hockey season in New Zealand, and I have been able to access my trainer, gym facility and physio with ease, but as I write this, the New Zealand government has implemented strict protocols, closing all non-essential businesses and asking people to stay at home, in self-isolation. These new government-implemented Covid-19 restrictions bring us here in NZ into alignment with what many of my colleagues have already been experiencing overseas.
The changes for me will be to essentially maintain communication with my coach in an online forum; we will re-create my sessions so I can continue my progression in a home gym set-up; nothing fancy, a bench, a couple of kettle bells/free weights, resistance bands, wind-trainer road bike, adjustable high bar. I am fortunate to have space around where I live and can access hills, and areas to run easily and stay in isolation, but also remain safe – this is not easy for everyone. I can also move some of these sessions to a park or the beach (provided I am alone) which will be amazing to still get out into the beautiful outdoors.
My physiotherapist will also be via online and while there won’t be hands on, my treatment is a lot around strengthening other muscles and progressing exercises relating to identified weaknesses to improve stability, power, change of direction, so that is able to transition to an online chat fairly easily.
So while my training and wellness sessions will be different I’m pleased to be able to still have my support team connected in some way – this is hugely important as we are already operating in a fairly isolated capacity anyway.
What are you doing and what can others do to stay fit and focused
I see there is a guy in France who ran a marathon on his 7m balcony. That is motivation too, though not really for me, thanks. What it does prove though, is that anything is possible with a little imagination, you make a plan and stick to it.
There is a lot of uncertainty in the world right now, but one thing that has been a core value of mine throughout the latter stages of my umpiring career is that I can only control what I can control. I don’t know if the Olympics will be postponed, what will happen with ProLeague matches, or even if our local hockey season will ever get to start this year, but what I do know is I can plan for the dates that I have right now, continue to strive to achieve my own fitness levels, maintain connections with my colleagues locally and around the world, and we can get through this together.
Small term pain like restricting movement and not being able to travel are necessary for longer term gain and hopefully containing this virus and saving people from pain and suffering.
Do you stay in contact with umpiring colleagues via social media?
Yes we have groups for Pro League as well as for Tokyo Olympics, and everyone has close mates within the officiating community across the world. It’s been amazing to have such close connections with people who are experiencing things in a totally different way to you, and yet we are all connected in this. The team of officials is incredibly unique in that it is truly international; so we all know people – our friends – in the areas that are worst affected. It’s very sobering when there is a real human connection.
What can you and your fellow umpires do to stay up with the speed of the game?
We are very fortunate at international level that we have access to CoachLogic, which has most international matches, certainly all the FIH Hockey Pro League games, that we are able to log onto, or create our own copy to then tag and review. We also have access to Umpire Managers who we can discuss things with. There have also been some excellent sharing of clips by people in our groups that we are able to view and comment on. Sometimes this happens in smaller informal WhatsApp groups. It is awesome to be able to stay current and strive to be consistent in our interpretations. It is an area that keeps growing as we become more familiar and comfortable with the technology.
Not everyone needs a flash forum or online portal to watch hockey though, FIH.live is a great place to start and there are other hockey matches available online. You can watch the game and nit-pick the decision-making, or watch from a broader game-sense perspective and see what you might have done differently if you had have been umpiring that match. You can add a few tricks to your tool kit and get them ready to try out when the season is allowed to start. Also get in touch with a senior umpire, or someone you think would be a good mentor; likewise reach out to younger or new umpires and be that person for them. There are lots of things we can talk about without having to be at a hockey field, we need to stay connected.
Do you have a message for umpires around the world right now?
Keep in touch with your hockey mates – I have just tonight been chatting with a couple of friends about what the situation is for them at the moment in terms of restriction of movement, and when schools are closing and so forth. It will be challenging working from home, training in isolation, everything moving online in terms of communication – but we can have fun with that too – I feel there will be an emergence of creativity over the next few weeks!
“He waka eke noa” (We are all in this together.)
First Published: http://fih.ch/news/technological-takeover/
Whether you are coach, player or official, the two major, related, developments in team sports such as hockey over the past few years have been in the areas of communication and video analysis.
Communication is at the heart of hockey, whatever your role within it. As a coach, you are constantly seeking ways to communicate more effectively with your players. As a player, you want a connection with your teammates; and, as an official, you want to ensure you are communicating effectively with your umpiring colleague on the other side of the pitch.
Through the medium of video playback, learning also improves. Players, coaches and officials can reflect upon their performances. As a coach, did they get their message across? As an umpire, they can see the impact of their own behaviour or body language in certain situations; a captain can assess how effectively they made their point to team mates.
Coach Logic is a popular video analysis platform among hockey clubs and nations. Co-founder Mark Cairns says: “When we first set out, five years ago, we were looking at ways to make players smarter. It was a case of using video as a key learning asset in achieving that. Rather than the coach just saying what the players were not good at, the video helped players understand what they were doing, why they were doing it and how they could make decisions to improve their game.”
The practice of coaches sending video clips to players, or umpire managers sending clips to umpires also suits today’s mobile lifestyle. The clips can be viewed on mobile devices while traveling or relaxing at home. Players no longer have to be in a side room at the training ground watching a video with all their team mates. Interaction via comment boxes allow for a deeper engagement with the learning process.
One aspiring hockey coach who places learning through video analysis at the heart of his coaching is Jamie Culnane. A graduate of the European Hockey Federation’s Top Coach Programme, Culnane is now a member of the England Hockey coaching staff, working with the U18 boys national squad.
When it comes to working with elite players, Culnane takes a collaborative approach. Question and answer sessions with athletes figure heavily and he seeks input from all the coaching team when charting the best way forward.
For Culnane, the coaching “sweet spot” is to meet individual need in a group setting. “As a coach I like to really challenge what is right for the individual and how that marries up with team/programme goals.”
But, he adds, being the facilitator for player development also means striking a fine balance between supporting the athlete and allowing them to development their own independence and self-sufficiency.
This is where video feedback plays its part. Culnane is a skilled analyst. It is an area of expertise he feels every coach should consider developing for the benefit of the teams they work with. “A few years ago I set out to teach myself to be an analyst as a tool to help me add value to programmes. It has opened doors for me.
“We use an online portal every week and it is the athletes who drive the engagement. In reality, just like being out on the pitch, the process should be open enough for the athletes to get what they need from it. Some of our guys will sit and watch the whole game, some watch their own clips and some watch key team moments. I don’t think this is a level of engagement you would get with a team meeting.”
Coach Logic also provides the video platform used by FIH umpires. Uruguay’s Frederico Garcia was one of a team of umpires working at the FIH Series Finals in Malaysia in 2019. Speaking about the training and support he receives as an international umpire, Garcia says: “One feature of umpiring preparation that is relatively new is the uptake of technology. Before a contest the umpires will study video clips that highlight certain points within a game or umpiring points that they have been instructed to concentrate upon.”
Groups of umpires communicate via WhatsApp or Facebook pages, where they swap information and debate the finer points of decision-making. Again, the ability to share clips and give opinions on the action is a vital part of the umpires’ development. “Hockey is very subjective,” says Garcia. “The way we interpret action on the pitch can vary from one umpire to another – it is very healthy to be able to debate with our peers.”
Certainly the use of video clips is an area that is developing apace. As Mark Cairns points out: “There has been a lot of work and subsequent improvement in nutrition, psychology and strength and conditioning. Sometimes the need to connect all of that to the game is forgotten. Saturday’s match is when the players and coaches make the decisions; unless there is a real understanding of the game then real improvement won’t happen. Video feedback is a vital tool in developing a deeper level of understanding of the game and your role within it.”