Here are the best tips and tricks for using video to grow your athletes’ skills.

As a club team, your success is determined by more than wins and losses. It’s your job to create well-rounded players with correct technique and the ability to make the right decisions. We know it's a risky business—everything from your players' futures to the club's success is on the line.

Not only is it a big undertaking, but time with players is often limited and resources are spread thin. That’s where video comes in, to ensure learning doesn't end after practice. With a little creativity and insight from other coaches, video can be the tool to improve your players’ development and take your club to the next level.

1. Motivate players to watch technique, not just highlights.

To build on the fundamentals, encourage your athletes to look further than the flashy moments. Video can help them adjust their focus to see the bigger picture of the game and their development.

Add clips to a playlist.
“The tendency for players is to want to look at their highlights. But that’s when I would break out some clips and email a player and say, ‘Look at these shots you had last game,’ or, ‘Look at this series here. What are we doing right and what are we doing wrong?’ That’s a good way to get them to focus in on the particular areas you want them to.” Bob Rickman, Head Coach, Alton High School (Ill.)

Create playlists for your players to see and improve their technique. Here are a few ways to get started.

2. Grab an iPad and record drills at practice.

Use video at practice to give instant and specific feedback to individual athletes or the whole team. The sooner athletes can take what they see in the video and put it into action, the higher their chances of retaining that information. Plus, if you have Wi-Fi at your gym or field, upload as you record so players can review the video as soon as they head to the locker room.

3. Encourage your athletes to create a playlist of best and worst clips after each game.

When your players have a chance to identify the areas they need to improve before you point them out, it can have a lasting impact. They've truly owned the process and the lesson will take root. Have them pull out their five best plays from a game—areas where they made a big play, showed quick thinking or had good technique—as well as their five worst plays. This saves you time, but it also gets athletes to think about their technique and own their growth. You can give feedback on those plays and point out anything they missed.  

4. Set pre-game objectives to provide a benchmarks for your players.

We've heard from teams who work with each player individually to set specific objectives before every game. It gives players focus in the game and provides direction as they watch video after the game. They can pull out the specific clips that reference their objective and show how they met it or where they fell short. Encourage them to add those clips to a playlist and track that objective over multiple games.

“I encourage them to watch the game so that when they come in they can analyze exactly how they did on those individual targets. I find that they really buy into that. They’re really keen to watch themselves back." Lewis Benson, Head Coach, Sparsholt College (U.K.)

5. Track athlete progression from the first game to last.  

Because you can create playlists from multiple games, you're able to track an athlete's progression throughout the season to see where they've improved and what they should focus on in the future.

  1. Pull clips of a player's technique at the start of season.
  2. Add a custom label for that player to keep everything organized.
  3. Keep adding clips as the season continues.
  4. Share it with the athlete so they can track their own progress.
"You can say, ‘Look there’s your clips from two months ago.’ It’s really easy to find and pull up, then you can see where [they] are now. So you can look at how much they’ve improved in taking crosses, ball receiving skills, finishing with the left foot, all of those things." Matt Murray, First-Team Assistant Manager, Nike Academy

6. Quiz your athletes with comments on the video.

Playlists are an ideal tool to pinpoint the most important moments from a game, but comments can help you steer the conversation in the right direction. Use them to ask your players questions about what happened and challenge their perception of the game. Or get creative and have them search for specific things in the video.

Give feedback with comments.
"We'll have a lot of times where they watch it with their notebook and we give them four or five things to find in the clip or this session of the game. It's a little treasure hunt for these nuggets that they need to review." Bob Rogers, Head Coach, Wittman-Hanson (Mass.)

7. Create team goals around more than wins and losses.

When the focus is on player development, it can be hard to gauge your team's growth, especially with a younger team. You also might need to validate your coaching decisions with concerned or frustrated parents. A good way to handle this is to build goals for your team that go deeper than W/Ls. With the goals report in Hudl, you can set benchmarks for team and player progress so you aren't discouraged if team development doesn't translate to wins.

You might not be able to roll out all these ideas with your team immediately, but it’s important to start somewhere. When you fuel your athletes’ development with video, the results will speak for themselves.