Traditionally video analysis has been seen as something to be used only at elite level in sport. People have seen its place where coaches and teams have lots of time, money and resources. Certainly when we at Performance Innovation first started in this industry that was pretty much the case but times they are – a - changin!

So let’s take a look then at why this is the case and what is the difference between using video analysis at grassroots compared to elite level.

First of all there is no doubt that video analysis started at elite level as elite coaches tried to get an edge on the opposition initially through statistical analysis but video quickly became the next step.

The focus in team games tended to be about decision making, set plays, identifying strengths and weaknesses. In individual sports it was more technical and videoing closed skills such as golf swings has been around as long as video has existed.
The hardware itself was usually very expensive, Video cameras, laptops, projectors etc all came at premium cost and then some of the software systems on the market were and continue to be very complicated to learn and use.

Certainly with Focus we pride ourselves that our software is easy to learn and use and the hardware itself has absolutely tumbled in cost. People often ask me about which cameras to buy etc and I say that I have used video successfully that I have shot on a mobile or cell phone and with the new ipad we have produced the world’s first self contained analysis solution with Focus X2i. Technology being beyond the grassroots cost then is very definitely no longer an issue as most families have everything you would need as far as the hardware is concerned.

Why are youngsters at grassroots level ready for this though because that I believe really is the key and where things have really transformed. Kids today live in a very visual world. Very few do not have a smartphone that they use to make videos of each other that they post on facebook, twitter or instagram. You tube is one of the most visited websites by youngsters under 16. If ever a generation was prepared to benefit from visual feedback about their performance it is the youngsters of today.

The second thing that I led on to there is the real key and I’m going to shout it FEEDBACK! Yes feedback is the key if players understand what they need to do to improve the whole coaching process becomes so much easier. What is the best way to understand – to actually see yourself doing it. What fills in the gaps in the jigsaw for the coach who tries to replay it in their mind. What a difference video can make in both those scenarios!!

At Performance Innovation we recognised this some time ago and we are trying hard to make sure our software is affordable and accessible at grass roots level. That is very much why we entered a partnership with FA Learning. Member coaches can purchase the software at greatly reduced cost. At the recent conference for grassroots coaches we were very much convincing people that video analysis has a huge role to play at the grassroots end of coaching. Why is that then? And what can we offer?

What is missing then is probably that understanding among coaches about what you can actually do with video analysis. Because of sport on tv we assume it’s beyond us and it’s very technical or complex. Well of course you can make it complex but at all levels the advice we give at Performance Innovation is ‘less is more’!

Keep your analysis simple and don’t try to find out everything, use it to enhance your coaching and consider it as a tool to improve the quality of feedback you can give your players because essentially that is what it is all about; improving the quality of feedback
Analyse coaching sessions, practices, small sided games, look at players learning technical skills, look at inexperienced coaches or helpers within your club and help support them in improving their coaching practice. You could easily create strengths and development needs profiles for your players.

Once you start to think about it in those simple terms the possibilities are boundless and Video Analysis really can be at the heart of coaching and development at grassroots level

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