Video Analysis – its all about the questions….

Posted: October 12, 2015 in Tech in coaching

Video Analysis – Power to the player, its all about the questions

The second in a series about technology in coaching will concentrate on video analysis and in particular about the author’s experience using the SportsCode products Contact Jim via @tech4coaching on twitter or by email


I have used SportsCode products in a range of different applications over the last nine or ten years. Both to assist my teaching of PE and teacher observation in the school environment, and also in coaching at First XV, Premier Club and ITM level with the Steelers.

Old coaching biographies that I have read refer to time spent with video, wearing the rewind and fast forward button out to review previous games and preview upcoming opponents. Video analysis programmes give us the ability to do this without the use of video, but instead in a digital format. Instead of being a prized possession, the game tape can now be shared digitally throughout the team and viewed by all. Instead of a dusty room filled with reel after reel of game tape, games are stored digitally and shared via the internet and external hard drives.

From the old school……




….to modern day!

At the professional level, there are distinct times in the week set aside for players to perform a review of the previous weeks game, and a preview of the upcoming opponents. Typically there are a number of computers available around which players can sit and use the tape to make decisions about trends and opportunities within their game and also spot weaknesses to be exploited in their opponents. As you can see below we have three synched video feeds and are able to isolate all sorts of aspects of play via coding the game i.e. tagging specific moments in the game as scrums, lineouts, lineout attack – post game this allows us to view only those moments rather than the whole 80 minutes.

Also within the professional game analysis can be made in game – these you tube clips are examples of the value that can be added by the use of this technology.

youtube – Sam Allardyce talking about his use of video technology in the UK’s Premier Football League – The analysts for Gloucester Rugby illustrate their game day – some great use of in-game analysis leading to actual changes here.

At the moment in game analysis remains the domain of the professional environment but there are many things as grassroots coaches that we can do. Analysis has become a manageable process for all coaches now without the massive time commitment that used to be inherent when VHS was the only answer.  The ability to use a video camera with an SD card has opened up very quick and easy methods of transferring video footage to our computers. iCoda allows a number of spectators/ injured players/team management to contribute to the teams performance with the ability to generate statistics as the game is being played (for feedback at halftime), coding can then be transferred post game to align with the captured video. This allows for analysis to be completed within 15-20 minutes of the game finishing and really allows you to start sharing meaningful clips with your players/athletes.
An example workflow for me in the amateur club environment is as follows:


  1. Video Match



2. Code the game using  ‘SportsCode Gamebreaker Plus’ break down the game into Scrums, Lineouts, Lineout attacks etc for Rugby, Penalty Corners, Circle entries etc for Hockey


3. Create videos of these events – share this video via a shared folder in Dropbox or Google Drive

4. Ensure players view the video and decision makers are able to comment on it before or at the Tuesday session.

5. Download a copy of this video onto ipad/phone in order for all players to view at training. AnyPlayer HD is a great iPad app for viewing video on the iPad


This allows me to complete the process of video analysis and share it with my players before training starts on Tuesday. The additional time commitment for me is minimal – coding a game takes the same amount of time as it does to watch it. Every coach I am sure would like to watch the game – I merely do so with a laptop and code as I watch. Then the uploads to Dropbox can be done in the background and therefore takes no extra time.

In the limited time available in the amateur environment this ensures that we have more on field time while still encouraging the players to make decisions about how they could become better players. It is imperative though to set questions and problems for the players to direct their viewing of the video. It is too easy for players to go straight to the big hits or the tries they have scored rather than view elements of their game with a critical eye. The NZ Coach Approach is a philosophical approach to coaching that promotes athlete learning, this can be facilitated by using video to challenge players. Through the use of video analysis and placing responsibility on the players they can become better athletes – surely a major goal of all coaches in every sport. Here is a video of an American basketball coach and the education he promotes via the use of Video Analysis:

Given that Video Analysis has become so prevalent in the professional game, I feel we as coaches should be attempting to prepare our players and develop athletes who think deeply about their part in the game. It is often a great way for players to feel part of the overall strategy and there is nothing more powerful for a coach than when a player initiates a strategy that they think will work having studied the video. As coaches we can develop athletes and create better players by using Video Analysis and involving the athletes in the process. I would like to challenge coaches to challenge their players to become the best they can be and create intelligent athletes through the use of Video Analysis.


Please contact me via email or find me on twitter @tech4coaching.


Jim Dickin.



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