June 1, 2021

Four benefits of Video Analysis that aren't immediately obvious

Written by:
Kenneth Rae

Having worked with many teams and organisations over the past few years it is clear how varied and different the use of Video Analysis can be. For some it is a 'nice-to-do' activity that isn't completed every week. For others, it is the absolute be-all-and-end-all if you really desire to develop players.

This chats and discussions we have had have allowed us to gain a better understanding of the Video Analysis userbase and the benefits of it. Some benefits are fairly obvious - no player or coach in the world can recall 100% of a match in real time. Some benefits are a bit more intricate.

We've provided four examples of benefits that aren't immediately obvious when evaluating how involved you want to get with the process of Video Analysis.

1. IT GETS PLAYERS MORE INVOLVED

“What I’ve noticed at my level, certainly in comparison to the Six Nations, is players tend to switch off the further they get away from the ball. There can be a similar cognitive load on players when they’re involved, but players' concentration levels can fluctuate at my level when they’re not close to the ball or action.” - Mark Cairns.

One of the extra benefits of video is allowing players to get another watch of the match but from a secondary viewpoint. Players that were actively involved in one moment will see opportunities on the video that they didn’t see in the actual game.

Certain positions get a different view to the game compared to others. The video allows them to see opportunities and space around the breakdown they might not have seen in the game.

Likewise it allows forwards to see opportunities in the back field they might not have noticed.

Players start recognising opportunities for breaks on-field the more they recognise opportunities that arise from the video. Individuals may just need a moment where they're not as cognitively involved to get that aha moment and see other options.

Additionally, as players pick up on opportunities through the watching of video, they’re more confident (and better) at communicating these opportunities on-field to both teammates and coaching staff.

Use the opportunities presented on video as chances for players to get more involved in the actual game, by recognising alternative options in real time. More involved players = better game for everyone.

2. IT ALLOWS FOR THE CREATION AND SHARING OF BEST PRACTICE EXAMPLES

The best users of Coach Logic are using best practice videos on their platform as a base for discussion.

It’s so easy to go to YouTube, find a clip you’ve seen and then embed it into Coach Logic. The crucial factor in this is, the use of other team’s footage takes the personal element out of discussion.

Your team can critically evaluate and reflect on what’s happened in the video without the pressure of potentially undermining or criticising a fellow player, or coach, depending on the discussion and your views.

As a squad you are developing the analytical skills of the playing group. Players start to watch matches as coaches, as opposed to fans. A simple start could be asking them to analyse a player in their position. Their eyes are drawn to that player, and they’re picking up subtle, and not so subtle, information on how that player plays in that position.

Ask them to do it for two or three matches and the range of information a young player can pick up is extensive.

The vast majority of YouTube videos can be embedded within the Feed. It’s a great way to stimulate creative thinking within your squad. You’ll be positively surprised what young players can come up with!

A famous quote to finish on, that resonates with many organisations in the sporting world:

“We have always been shameless about stealing great ideas” – Steve Jobs.

3. IT CREATES AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE PLAYERS WANT TO BE ON FILM

“One of the big things I want in my coaching environment is one in which players want to be on film.” – Mark Cairns.

If your environment is commonly posting ‘work-ons’ or ‘improvements’ the players will eventually shy away from being on video.

It translates on-field to not taking responsibility or feeling brave enough to make that potentially risky match-winning action.

It can occur from highlighting individual players as examples of bad practice or unacceptable execution. If you’re repeatedly highlighting this in front of their peers, individuals are naturally inclined to be afraid of making mistakes, rather than being confident to take opportunities.

In the group environment, players love positive reinforcement. Everyone recognises that warm feeling when you get praised infront of your team. Players naturally want to please their coach, they want to be the person on camera next week.

When you are feeding back something that didn’t go to plan, why not keep it as a private discussion or add an AC or senior player?

Even better, get the players themselves to find their areas of improvement and get them to tag it.

Congratulate them on finding the clip and help them come up with possible solutions, such as 1-1 work at the next training session.

When they perform the skill better in the next match make sure you notice it and send them a ‘well-done’. Players can create their own playlists and add to them as the season progresses. An example is Hamish from Currie Chieftains who identified he wanted to be more physical.

He was challenged to find moments showing physicality on-field, developing that mindset of wanting to add good clips to this over the season, rather than avoiding it.

There’s always a place for showing teams improvement areas but can you flip your environment to one that encourages creativity and a desire to be on film more, such as Hamish improving his physicality through creating & finding the real good moments?

The result?

"Hamish has been one of our most improved players this season". - Mark Cairns

4. It Improves Stimulated Recall for Players and Coaches

"Stimulated recall is a research method that allows the investigation of cognitive processes through inviting participants to recall their concurrent thinking during an event when prompted by a video sequence or some other form of visual recall".

In our context, it’s basically the term for using video to recall something that happened in a match.

While the exact figure of how much players remember from a match differs depending on which person or journal is cited, no player or coach remembers 100% of everything that happens in a game.

Some say it’s as low as 20%, some say it can be about 70%. According to The Human Memory Organisation, memories are not stored in our brains like books on library shelves, more so an unsolved jigsaw puzzle, involving different elements stored in disparate parts of the brain, widely distributed throughout the cortex. Memory retrieval, therefore, requires re-visiting the nerve pathways formed when encoding the memory.

Mackey and Gass (2005) also suggested it [stimulated recall through video] is an effective way to gain interpretation of events and aid an individual’s thinking at a particular point in time.

What does all this means in practical terms?

If you coach, you’ll want to ask your players what happened at a certain point, but it’s worth remembering their recall, both short-term and medium/long-term is supported by visual aids like reviewing match video.

Can they remember why they made a certain decision? What were the circumstances around it? What could have obscured their recall?

The majority of the time you’ll get a more thorough response from a player by asking them what happened when they’ve had an opportunity for stimulated recall to kick in and bring the memories from the various parts of the brain together. The information is in there.