Video is the objective source that helps players and coaches get on the same side of the table to quickly make corrections.

One of the most important components to team success is having a group of individuals who all clearly understand and accept their role. Not every player is a star, but the better athletes play to their strengths, the more cohesive and successful the team will be.

Upon joining a program, some athletes struggle in a new role and need a little extra coaching. Every coach has had such a player: the average 3-point shooter who bombs away like Steph Curry, the midfielder that tries to split the defense instead of making the extra pass, or the quarterback who tries to fit a pass throw a tight window instead of taking a checkdown.

Simply lecturing these players isn’t the most effective way to iron out their bad habits. Instead, coaches should use objective evidence and create a positive learning environment to connect with and teach athletes. Video allows coaches and players to sit on the same side of the table to understand strengths and weaknesses.

Let the Video Speak for Itself

It’s one thing to tell an athlete what needs to be corrected, but actually showing them takes their learning to another level. A player might think the coach is biased or is being too hard on them, but video provides evidence of a coach’s objectivity.

“Sometimes as a coach you can tell the player they have to move the ball quicker or they’re dribbling too much,” Kevin Orr, head boys basketball coach at Rice Lake High School (Wisc.), said. “But if you can actually show them that they are doing this, I think that really helps.”

With video, players learn without feeling they’re being singled out or attacked. Coaches can calmly show them why it’s beneficial to trade a contested 3-pointer for an extra pass, or accept a three-yard run instead of trying to grab extra yards by bouncing the run outside.

“Saying is one thing, but showing them is hands down the best way to teach. We talk it, we walk it, we show it, and that’s how I think they learn. They need to hear, but they need to see it firsthand too." Jeremy Beamon, assistant boys basketball coach at Middletown HS (N.Y.)

Simply sitting down with a player one-on-one for five to 10 minutes can make a huge difference. The personal setting helps build the athlete-coach relationship and keeps them from feeling like they’re being called out in front of their teammates.

“Players oftentimes don’t even realize what their tendencies have become,” Greg Ceitham, boys soccer coach at Holland High School (Mich.), said. “By showing them, they know definitively what we’re talking about and are much more open to advice and approaching and changing some tendencies.”

Use Reports as Backup

Even while making mistakes, most players’ motivations are pure. They simply might not understand why a shot is ill-advised or how an extra pass would’ve set up a teammate for better success.

Shot charts in basketball and soccer are perfect to show athletes where they’re most efficient. If a post player is shooting much higher from the left block than the right, encourage him or her to stay on that side of the lane more. If your striker is taking shots from too far out, encourage them to take an extra dribble or two before firing on the goal.

“We have a player who was not shooting well from the 3-point line and that was their favorite shot,” Christian Selich, girls basketball coach at Millington High School (Mich.), said. “I look at her shot chart one day and notice inside the arc she’s shooting about 55 percent and outside it’s about 17 percent. We brought that up and said, ‘You might want to get yourself the ball inside a little more.’”

Video brings stats to life. With Hudl, simply clicking on a statistic will create a playlist of moments relevant to the data, so coaches easily find the exact teaching points they need.

Show Positive Results Too

Positive reinforcement is a more effective teacher than punishment. That’s why Nebraska volleyball coach and four-time national champion John Cook shows five good plays for every bad one in his video sessions. Athletes respond positively to seeing what they did well, instead of being reprimanded for mistakes.

“Utilize video to catch them doing good, and to me, that’s as powerful a tool as anything,” legendary volleyball coach Terry Liskevych said. “Let’s turn it into a positive. All of us as coaches focus more on the negative than we should.

“Positive corrective feedback, especially when linked to video as a visual tool, which is how most people learn, that means you can always do it.”

Find plays where the athlete made the right decision or opted for the correct pass and explain why that play was successful. Instead of feeling accused for making a mistake, the athlete will feel encouraged and be more likely to choose that route when the situation arises next time.

Video allows coaches of all sports to get their athletes on the same page, and help everyone buy in to the team concept. Getting every player moving in the same direction will create a consistent, stable culture that sets programs up for long-term success.

For more ideas on how to use video to build a foundation, check out our Coaching Resources page.