A few years back I got a call from the manager of the team I was working with. We had reached the business end of the season and it was the Thursday morning before a Sunday game. The team would meet a few times over the coming days but this would the last collective get-together until Sunday. The manager asked me to find a particular clip on YouTube so we could show the players that night. The clip was of another team from a few seasons back. It’s a well known clip, perhaps even a defining passage of play for that team and that era of the game.
I looked at the clip a few times and decided to tell the manager that once downloaded the quality was really poor and we shouldn’t show it. That wasn’t true. Rightly or wrongly I thought it was the wrong thing to do. It’s not my place as an analyst to do this, but I just didn’t agree.
All too often I have worked with coaches and managers who mistake showing players clips for actually teaching/coaching them how to do something. They mistake demonstration for actually teaching players how to perform in a given situation.
In the example I mentioned above the manager seemed to think that the skills shown in the famous clip were simply about attitude or motivation. His team could simply turn them on once they saw them on the screen.
Instead in this short 90 seconds clip I felt there was years of technical and tactical work, hours spent on wet and windy training grounds, honing these skills. Our team had never trained or been coached these particular skills. I’d never seen this kind of training before. I felt it wrong just to rock up, a few days before a game, show a clip and say to the players there you go ‘this is what I expect on Sunday’. This isn’t coaching.
I am a huge believer in the power of video and well delivered video analysis can transform players and a team. But please coaches don’t think that because you have shown a clip you have taught your players anything. Video can help, but until you see evidence of a skill or tactic being performed on grass don’t presume the players have learned anything new.
*The manager above sourced the clip himself and showed it to the players that evening.