Getting started with video analysis is easier than you think. Find out how.

​“We feel that if you don’t watch the game back in that cold view you may be building your training week on sand, because you may be building it on something that didn’t actually happen in the game.” Aaron Calvin - Performance Analyst, Nike Academy

That quote says it all. Video analysis is a non-biased look into actual events as they played out on the pitch – the cold hard facts if you will.

But the question for many is where do I start?

We sat down with analysts and coaches at every level to hear how they’ve established a culture of video analysis within their organizations. Check their insights and get started with your own club.

Find the Right Tools

We’re a video analysis company. So of course we’re going to say that our software has the tools you need, no matter the level of analysis you’re trying to implement. But it’s not just about finding a solution to fit your budget. There are other criteria to consider.

Start by finding a filming solution that you can implement within your club’s structure. That means finding the proper equipment and someone to help film. Look into hiring out those responsibilities to local media companies, or put a plug in at a local college or university to find aspiring performance analysts. (The latter is our favorite option.)

Once you have a few individuals on board, familiarize them with the tools they’ll be using.

We also offer free online training for anyone looking to understand our tools.

Now you’re ready to execute.

Individual Analysis Session at Portsmouth FC

Introduce Video to Your Squad

Set the expectation with your entire squad that you are implementing video analysis. Have a brief meeting to talk through why you’re using it and what specifically you’re hoping to gain from it.

From there, it’s vital that you take the time to show your athletes how to critically analyse matches. “They’re not coaches. They’re players. And their own internal thought process is around what they think is right,” said John Goodman, manager at the Nike Academy. “Yet, we do want to give them some freedom to evaluate their performances, but that’s why we’ll sit down with them and steer them and say, ‘This is what we’re trying to do.’”

For a lot of players, analysis is a new concept. Some have never re-watched a full match with the intent to analyse their own performances, so they may not know what to look for. Encourage them to sit down with either a coach or an analyst the first time – that simple 30-minute individual session can go a long way.

Be sure to follow up directly with your players after you’ve taken time to sit down and analyse performances. Split the squad into groups assigned to members of your staff, and send out individual messages to gauge how they’re doing.

Build Analysis into Your Week

You have to make time for video analysis, and not just once a week when you can’t get to the pitch. Quick 15-minute sessions before training can help elevate your team’s execution. We’ve learned that coaches who meet prior to training have greater success translating their ideas into action.

“It gives you the opportunity to reinforce what you are trying to achieve on the training ground. So if you’re working all week on playing into the final third as early as possible, being direct, and getting the ball up there and it’s not happening, you’re not seeing it. Obviously [Hudl] is a massively helpful tool." Mike Harris, Portsmouth FC

From there, it’s vital that your players are putting in the time on their own to watch and evaluate their performances. From there, it’s all about accountability. “We monitor it so we know who [has] logged on, we know how long they’ve been on for,” said Mike Harris of Portsmouth FC. “From our point of view, it just gives us a really good indication of who really wants to be a professional footballer, and who is willing to put in the work to do that."

Vary Your Delivery 

Engaging your players means meeting them where they are most comfortable, and that means finding alternate methods of presentation. Whether it’s in large group sessions with the whole squad or individual meetings with your players, you should be able to quickly discover which approach works best with your group.

Try to vary the routine. Alternate between coach-led and player-led review sessions to ensure your players are committed to reviewing your training and matches. This also holds players accountable for improving outside of training. A little homework never hurt anybody.

Team Analysis Session at Sparsholt College

Start Small

Focusing on video analysis with one team can ultimately lead to greater success when you implement it across the organization. This gives you and your staff an opportunity to find out what does or doesn’t work with your squads. You can hone in on specifics to simplify your approach.

But starting small goes beyond just executing analysis with one team. It’s also about honing in on specifics for each age group, should you choose to implement it holistically. Development and understanding varies with every age group, so it’s important to tailor your analysis to have the greatest possible impact.

“You have to be really clinical with the theme you’re trying to show whenever you’re using video,” said Calvin. “Because with too much noise, the boys just get confused, and they leave more confused than when they came into the session. So it’s really important that you just [hone in] on one theme.”

What are my next steps?

If you think video analysis is the right fit for your club, start implementing it. Survey your community to find people who are passionate about the game, educate your squad on the importance of video, and find ways to make it stick.

Want to make Hudl part of that routine? Check out our full suite of tools to find the solution that fits your needs.