Making Video Meetings Work for Your Athletes

Ideas on how to organise your video analysis meetings in order to maximise athlete engagement.

If you’ve ever been involved in a video meeting you will have met some team coaches who run great video meetings and some, well…..not so good.

There are a number of ways to run good video meetings. The most important thing is to remember they are a way of informing, educating and developing our athletes. If players are leaving with their head in a spin or bored stiff, then something isn’t right. Depending on how you run your meetings might dictate the length of time they should last to keep players attention and engagement high. The more two way conversation that can be introduced in meetings, the more likely it is that your players are thinking about what is being discussed, as well as, remembering it...hopefully. Do not sit players down to watch a full game of footage and expect them to come out better for it, interest will wain and value will drop.

interest will wain and value will drop.

Here are some ideas for how you can run your future video meetings.

Coach Presenter. Probably the most common way that video meetings are run. A coach collates a range of tactical coaching clips and presents them to the team to see areas for improvement, areas for positive reinforcement or perhaps draw attention to opposition strengths/weaknesses. Remember, if the coach presents for too long, player's minds are going to wonder - asking players to say what they see and think is a simple way of encouraging engagement. We highly recommend going into your meeting with a clear objective and 1-3 simple learning themes or actions that can transition directly into your practical session or game. Resist the temptation to do all of the talking and encourage player group and individual contributions. Once you get your process running aim to keep this type of video meeting to a maximum of 15 minutes. Remember you can also faciliate one to one's and bring your analysis or teaching clips to the pitch or court with you on your iPad.

pitch or court with you on your iPad

Player to Player: If a coach approaches video analysis in the ‘coach presenter’ format too often their voice may become almost like white noise with the monotonous conformity of the meetings leading to a low attention span amongst players. Remember, players are comfortable and probably (like it or not) more likely to listen with interest to other players. This is why selecting members of the squad to run video meetings for you might be a great experiment. Working with a select few players each time, to speak about specific tactical elements of the game while helping pass accountability to the players, will also provide ownership to the players in the programme. I would recommend allowing a little more time for this meeting, around 30 minutes, because the players are less experienced in presenting to the group and perhaps (surprisingly) you might find a higher level of engagement.

Group Collaboration: This is definitely my favourite form of video meeting, although it does require a lot of time, so it may not be the regular weekly session but potentially a monthly session. I would recommend allowing 45 minutes for group collaboration work - perfect for when your pitch is unplayable but useful at any point. To carry out this type of meeting you will need access to numerous iPads or laptops. Select how you want your groups split - this is totally your decision and sometimes it’s great opportunity to mix players by communication style, playing position, age etc. Give each group a set of tactical clips to analyse and ask them to present back to the other groups their observations and insights. As a coach, however difficult, let the players work and only intervene if asked. This form of video meeting will drive a lot of creative conversation amongst your players, they will have to think for themselves and find the answers as a team without being led. It is a great way to increase tactical awareness as a smaller group generally means everyone speaks and without coach involvement, players might feel more comfortable speaking. This form of video meeting passes accountability for learning to the players and gives them ownership.

players and gives them ownership

Line/unit Specific: Ever been asked to attend a meeting, got there and then thought, “this has little or no relevance to me at all”. Whilst every line or unit of a team needs to work in sync some information is more important to some than others. For example attackers might not need to attend video meeting for defenders and vice versa. If you can, avoid weighing players down with information which is not directly applicable or related to them (remember individual attention spans are generally quite low). This will not only keep video meetings more focused and succinct but also increase player attentiveness as meetings are more relevant. Line meetings should be short, sharp and precise - our advice is to keep them that way with 15 minute slots per team line or unit.

Individual specific: A great way to gauge how astute players are in how their role effects the team and how their decision making effects their own performance. Hosting individual player meetings not only helps players feel valued but can also breed good conversation as athletes can ask questions in private that they may not be comfortable asking in front of the squad. Individual player meetings can work with a coach deciding what clips to show players or also work well when the player would like to ask some questions to the coach. Remember players know what they don’t know - we want informative and educating two way conversation and not a head nodding session with one person speaking. Our recommendation is to keep this meeting short and specific to one or two coaching points allowing the player to consciously attempt to implement changes or increase and revisit these points later down the line in the next meeting. This can also be a good opportunity to use player and role related data (evidence) from your performance analysis to show benchmarks, trends and to visualise change/progress overtime with the player to support positive learning.

player to support positive learning

Whilst it’s up to you to decide how you want to run your video meetings, as coaches we are always trying to serve our players' needs and increase accountability, ownership and most importantly aide development. Consider what will my players respond to best and how can I encourage a less passive learning approach overtime ('show me and I see, involve me and I learn').

Remember too, that the performance data we capture gives us an excellent starting point to work from - based on fact. Coaches tend to be inquisitive in nature so being able to track where a player is, to where they are in line with your seasonal plan can also offer insight into what interventions and coaching is adding value.

Written by Adam Louden

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