In this three-part series we’ll provide expert tips for working remotely, whether you’re a coach, analyst, scout or player. 

The precautions surrounding the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have created a unique set of challenges for this season of sport. During these times of social distancing, sports professionals are unable to interact face-to-face, but need to stay connected and continue to work together to be ready for when seasons recommence. 

Scouts can no longer travel to see live matches, but must keep in mind preparations for identifying new targets and preparing for the summer transfer window.

To begin, let’s take a look at the daily challenges for a coach or analyst working remotely.

  • Changing from high to low contact time with athletes.
  • Separation can remove the spirit of ‘competition’ from the day-to-day lives of coaches/analysts/athletes that are common in high-performance sports environments.
  • Disconnection from the context of the sport, where training will most often switch to non-specific methods due to restrictions on movement and equipment e.g. players using exercise bikes rather than sport specific equipment to stay physically active.
  • Relationships with athletes shifting to a status where high trust is required.
  • Sharing the same message with multiple athletes and tailoring responses to fit individual needs.
  • Ensuring athletes have a clear daily plan to remain physically and mentally focused on return to play.
  • Managing expectations and frustrations related to players not being able to play.
  • Mitigating against athletes getting bored and picking up bad habits that would impair their performance.
  • Balancing changes in workflows with new demands from their own families.

So what can you do to overcome some of these challenges?

Create content on Hudl to programme team training exercises:

  • Curate and communicate clear plans for athletes to follow related to their physical and mental health. Take for example Fleetwood Town’s academy who upload gym sessions and exercises to Hudl during breaks in the season.
  • Create an online education environment aimed at individual athletes, groups and/or entire teams.
  • Set daily challenges and have players upload video evidence of them attempting those challenges.
An example of the drills offered to Fleetwood Town's academy players remotely through Hudl.

Produce individual learning plans with Hudl Sportscode: 

Use common methodologies such as individual learning plans as frameworks for creating online education content. Analysts who now have more time during social distancing can use the Hudl Sportscode database tool to revisit previous games and training sessions. Here’s a couple of examples you could use:

    • Create a set ‘playing philosophy’ instances. Eg: ‘Best examples of playing through midfield’.
    • Create individual player profiles. Eg: ‘The five tactical qualities we look for in a holding midfielder’.
    • Create a set ‘training practices’ instances. Eg: ‘Our favourite technical drills for counter-press principles’.

    Create educational content for your team using Wyscout’s global database:

    For analysts who now have more time, you can go the extra mile to create educational content using Hudl and Wyscout’s global database. Here’s a couple of examples to get you started:

      • ‘The best examples of set pieces from around the world (attack and defence)’.
      • ‘The best examples of other teams around the world with similar playing styles to ours’.
      • Goals or chance creation analysis from teams competing in your league. 

      Empower your athletes by providing self-regulating tasks: 

      • Reduce the load on Coach / Analyst to create all the content through empowerment of athletes to generate and self-regulate on home-work style tasks. Take the example of Amiens SC who give their academy players daily self-regulating tasks on Hudl, such as clipping their own highlights and providing feedback on their own performances via video. Oxford United's academy have launched daily challenges for their players on their YouTube channel, while China's Beijing Zhonghe Guoan FC are using Hudl to provide a curated list of video highlights for their youth players to analyze at home. 
      • Promote imaginative content that can include competition between peers.

      Use this time to enhance your learning:

      • Empower athletes and staff to educate themselves on how to use and upskill in use of analysis software. Hudl Academy provides a range of online courses for all levels of knowledge.Some examples of courses you can take could include:

      Hudl Sportscode (including scripting)

      Hudl Replay

      Hudl & Sportscode integration and elite football workflows

      Hudl Coda

      Wyscout (including certification)  

      • Use this downtime to learn something new, make tweaks to your code window, or learn more about workflow improvements in Hudl Sportscode. Sign up for a free Expert Chat and one of our expert Product Consultants will work with you to answer any questions you have.
      A Beijing Zhonghe Guoan youth player uses Hudl to complete his analysis at home. Image credit:

      Providing feedback:

      • Use conferencing technology such as Zoom as a means of connecting with individual athletes, groups and/or entire teams. 
      • Use the messaging tools in Hudl to communicate en masse, with team units, or individuals.

      Next week we will bring you more practical examples to get you through these challenges, and we’ll dig deeper into how technology can support scouts and recruitment teams.