10 Tips for Improving Communication with Players Through Video Analysis

By Duncan Ritchie

14-October-2020 on Tips

17 minute read

A good coach may have developed the greatest strategy for winning a match that the world has ever seen, but, ultimately, it is the players on the field that must be told how to execute and enact it. Therefore, communication between coaching staff and players is essential to achieving results. In this article, we’ve compiled some tips on how to improve communication with your team through video analysis.


Whenever we need some inspiration, we turn to the great Marcelo Bielsa, he who has perhaps thought about football more than anyone else on the planet. “Coaches can commit two cardinal sins”, he said. “Making players who can fly walk or pretending that those players who can only walk can actually fly.” The Argentine coach, who is also a proponent of video analysis, is well aware of the fundamental connection between footballer, coach and the success of a team.

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words


We don’t want to continuously harp on about this...but it’s true: video images are 100% objective and reinforce ideas. Sport in general is so subjective that, without the benefit of video, feedback sessions and debates with your players can run for hours without any firm conclusions being established. 


On the other hand, a visual resource can cut debate short, maybe not dead, but it certainly helps. There will always be a certain amount of disagreement in sport, you just have to look at controversial refereeing decisions to see that, despite all the technological advancements and audiovisual resources at our disposal.


Nacsport Tip: View video as a positive. If you are one of these coaches who views technological progression with suspicion, we have to tell you that you are behind the times. Don’t be a luddite...video analysis is your friend!


If you have already established a video analysis methodology at your club, well done! Give yourself a pat on the back...but don’t get complacent. There’s always more that you could be doing!


Player Review


Keep the Head Up


It’s just as important to keep morale up and be positive off the field as it is on it.


In general, humans don’t take too kindly to criticism. Nobody likes to be constantly reminded of what they are doing wrong, especially if it comes in the form of reproach. Athletes and sports people are exactly the same. But, at the end of the day, if there was no room for improvement, there would be no need for video analysis!


Nacsport Tip: Obviously, there will come a point where you have to tell a player what they are doing wrong in order to fix the problem. We recommend that you do this in a constructive way that facilitates learning. Be empathetic and think carefully about how you are going to dispense advice. Intersperse the negative with a whole lot of positive. If a player has the feeling that everything they are doing is wrong, you may destroy their morale, which might have the exact opposite effect to that which you wanted and could even spread to the rest of your team. 


Player Review 2


Tailor the Analysis to the Individual


It’s not uncommon to have tailor-made training for each individual member of the team. This has been something which has evolved enormously through the years. Each player is unique, with training needs which are specific to them. These needs could be exercise routines or dietary requirements. So why should performance analysis be any different?


Not everyone responds to audiovisual and coaching instructions in the same way and everyone has their own learning style. So why do we continue to tackle this task collectively? Why do analysis sessions tend to be with the collective team and mistakes commented on in front of everyone?


Nacsport Tip: Focus on what works best for the individual. Every player has their own personality and way of learning so hold individual analysis sessions to complement the team sessions. By all means, reinforce positive actions in team sessions, but think about whether pointing out negatives in front of everyone is a good idea, especially if the player is quite introverted. Be empathetic.


Nacsport has the perfect tool for creating analysis tailored to the individual, the presentations environment. Create lists of actions for specific players, produce a video of said actions and deliver it to the player, physically or digitally. 


We even have a solution for sharing your presentations, Sharing.com, which is an online storage system which allows you to share your work privately with any player on the network and conduct private one-to-one sessions with them.


Castleford Tigers


Teach Them to Fish...


Not literally, of course, although some might say that fishing is a mentally relaxing sport. No we are, of course, referring to that old saying, “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach him how to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime”.


But what does this axiom have to do with communication and video analysis? Well, it’s simple. We’re well accustomed to the sight of an overbearing coach on the sidelines, who wants his players to be an extension of himself on the field and pulls his hair out in frustration and rage when his best laid plans fail.


But what if the player simply doesn’t understand the how and why of the instructions they receive? It’s possible that they are reacting like an automaton, following instructions even though they don’t understand the rationale behind the orders. This will, sooner or later, lead to failure, especially when they are put into a situation which requires a degree of critical thinking.


However, if they are able to discover for themselves what they are doing incorrectly, they will be better placed to make much quicker decisive decisions in the future. Every second counts in sport and the right tools can lead to success.


Nacsport Tip: The English are pioneers when it comes to sports performance analysis and we've learned a lot from them over the years. Within English rugby clubs, it’s common practice for players to choose the action they want to see and directly manage their own performance analysis.


The analyst creates a Dashboard for the player which contains all their individual actions. The player can then play around with the data, clicking to see what they consider to be the most pertinent info for them and drawing their own conclusions. Backed up by instructions from coaching staff, the improvement of performance is all but guaranteed.


Castleford Tigers 2


Feedback Is Important


Communication is a two-way street, never forget that. Listening to players is just as important as directing them. After all, they are the ones on the field or the court who interpret the game going on around them.


Video analysis is just one of various perspectives and the athlete has just as much to add to the mix. In addition, if someone feels listened to and respected, they will consequently feel valued and participate much more freely in the analysis process.


Nacsport Tip: Listen to the players and allow them to participate freely and actively in performance discussions. They will give perspectives that may not have been previously considered. There is little use in proposing solutions which are not actionable. We once again turn to Sharimg.com which is the perfect solution for getting feedback from players and athletes, especially when they are not in front of you.




As Clear As Mud


We’ve all been there...someone dictates a list of tasks that have to be completed, one after the other. By the time it comes to the 4th or 5th task? Well, your brain has probably switched off and nothing else is going in. This means that a big percentage of the message has been lost down the pan. The clearer and more concise the idea, the easier it is to fulfil. 


Nacsport Tip: Keep it simple. Baby steps. Trying to change several things at the same time can be extremely complex. Instead, focus on the one aspect of the game that you consider to be most important for improving. When this is done, move to the next. In fact, we recommend that you set a period of time to correct one aspect before moving on to the next.


Castleford Tigers 3


Compete. Analyse. Repeat. 


“We are what we repeatedly do”, said Aristotle. But let’s not get philosophical again, let’s stick to sport. If repetition is one of the fundamentals of strength training, why should it be any different in other aspects of an athlete’s training? When we study for an exam, we go over the same material again and again, so it’s a proven learning strategy.


Nacsport Tip: Nacsport has several tools which allow you to compile similar actions and present them altogether. One of these tools is the comparison tool which can show up to 8 different actions at the same time, letting you compare and contrast. In the presentation environment, you can gather data from over several matches, depending on the version of Nacsport you are using, and create a list with them. The advanced search functions, such as the data matrix or action search bar, alongside the filtering of parameters for finding various plays within a match make this an easy process in Nacsport. Compete, analyse, repeat and, in the end, improvement will come naturally.   


Ealing Trailfinders


Motivate Your Team


There are various anecdotes telling us about motivational videos shown to teams in order to get them gee’d up for an important match. A well known example of this is the video that Barcelona’s Pep Guardiola presented to his players before the 2008 Champions League final which saw them beat Manchester United 3-1.


Audiovisual resources as motivation has a whole raft of psychological theorising behind it, but we’ll content ourselves here by saying that it actually works by reinforcing positivity and connecting with the players’ basic emotions.


Nacsport Tip: We’ve seen quite a few button templates which include an extra button which is used specifically to collect actions which could be used as a motivational tool for a player. Every time there is a play which is exceptional and worth recalling, the action is logged. All these tagged actions can now be sewn together with ease to create your motivational video. In addition, from Basic+ onwards, you can add an external audio file. Why not add music to get your team’s blood pumping or a speech from a movie that gives you goosebumps? 


Gloucester Rugby

Ensure Time Is On Your Side

It may be due to a lack of time or resources, but many coaches and analysts tend to focus on matches and competitions.


However, many top-level clubs have extended their video analysis sessions to cover training sessions too. This means that they have time to change the game plan if they see that something is not working well in training. With the game plan in hand, you can better study your own team’s performance throughout the week and apply corrective measures if problems arise.


Nacsport Tip: Include training sessions in your analysis work. This analysis gives you much greater perspective when it comes to the team’s performance. They say that training is the key to success, so why not study what’s happening at the training ground and prepare for the match as thoroughly as you can?


Nacsport provides several tools to make analysis easier and faster and also the ability to analyse live and on the go. Nacsport Tag&view for iOS, for example, let’s you tag on the go and send the analysis to your computer. Real-time joint analysis combined with Coach Station make this process quick and simple...and these are just a few of the tools Nacsport has to offer in this regard.


Basketball Analysis


Earn the Trust of the Team


To finish up, what we’ve said in this article will count for nothing if you don’t earn the respect and confidence of the team. Without this, you won’t have much impact on their performance.


Earning people’s trust is not something we can teach you, there are no mathematical formulas and different people have different ideas on how to go about this. In fact, there is a wealth of literature devoted to leadership, motivation and teamwork. We understand that you do this job for the love of it and you should put the same care into building relationships, showing empathy and acting with honesty, humility and a desire to win.

Nacsport Tip: If we could invent a “Win” button for our template, we’d be millionaires...but we can’t. Building relationships is the same, there’s no magic spell, but if you put the same amount time into this and enact the previous 9 tips we’ve given you, you’ve found the recipe for success!


If you're not yet a Nacsport user but would like to see how video analysis can help you improve communication with your team, click the link below for FREE 30-day trial of any program in our range of software then keep scrolling down to see our range of software with lifetime licenses and payment plans, designed to help you get the most out of your team at the best price for you.


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