My U11 girls soccer team had a fun, engaging, if unconventional practice last night, thanks to YouTube and the CoachesEye Sport Video Analysis App (iOS & Android. $5). Thanks to unseasonably cold weather (at least for Victoria, BC), made worse by a strong breeze, we decided to move our practice indoors last night. The traditional activity for a rained out, or frozen out practice is to do a “chalk talk” session, reviewing positioning and strategy with the team. The only problem is that one hour is a long time to talk to 10 year olds about soccer strategy, so we instead did the following:
As the girls arrived, we had them do some running with a ball to warm them up and tire them out a bit before going inside the warm clubhouse for the rest of the practice. We divided the team into two groups and then had them spend 20 to 25 minutes taking turns doing the following two activities.
Activity 1: Juggling & Video Feedback – Each player grabbed a ball and was asked to start juggling the ball. I then grabbed my iPad and in turn used the CoachesEye app to record each one juggling the ball for 20 or 30 seconds each. I then asked them to stop and gather round the tablet so we could review how they were doing, and what they could do to improve their juggling technique. Here’s a sample video:
Some of the girls already had fairly good technique, and others were still learning. For those struggling it was seemed helpful for them to be able to see what they were doing in slow motion, so they could focus their efforts on making the little changes needed to use the proper technique. We did this about three more times, with the girls juggling, and then watching themselves in slow motion. In a couple of cases, girls made dramatic improvements in their technique over the course of 20 minutes. Given how much time we’ve worked on juggling so far this season, the 20 minutes we spent using the CoachesEye app, made a remarkable impact.
Activity 2: Spacing, Passing & Pressing Videos – The girls gathered around my laptop sitting on a chair to watched three downloaded YouTube videos of Barcelona passing and spacing in game situations (triangles everywhere!).
This was followed by a video showing how Barcelona pressing for the ball when they lose it (one person presses the ball and everyone else cuts off passing lanes).
We paused and replayed portions of the videos so they could see professionals doing what we as coaches had been verbally asking them to do. Next week we’ll work on Spacing and Passing to reinforce what we hope they’ll be able to visualize now that they’ve seen it in the videos. For anyone interested, I used a FireFox plugin to download the YouTube videos to my laptop.
While we focused on Juggling and Team Shape, I’ve used CoachesEye and YouTube to help some of the other teams I’ve coached with a number of other skills including, passing technique, shooting technique & ball possession strategies. Used with a bit of planning and forethought, these two video tools can help teams learn new some skills more quickly and effectively.