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Remote video coaching: so many reasons it’s great for athletes of all ages

Video analysis is huge for professional and college sports and now it is finding its way into youth sports, high school, and clubs too. But so far it’s mostly about game analysis – video sessions in classrooms. Most people don’t realize there’s a new way to use video for personalized coaching even in team sports. Players can have their ‘real coach’ coaching the team, PLUS a separate personal video coach. We’re not talking about the kind of skills coach that players get when they pay for professional one-on-one coaches. We’re talking about a coach to analyze training and games, and individual work separate from the team, and coach players on what to do to get better, including the mental side of the game.

In the old days, you’d need to have your personal coach in the stands and even at practices, spying on the whole team. But this is the age of video and phones and the cloud – YouTube and all that. Coaches can see players practice and play even when they live across the country or around the world.

Players have been making videos for recruiting for a long time now. So why not use the same technology while the players are developing, using video to get coaching tailored to the player’s needs, from a hand-picked personal coach?

There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is a good idea.

  1. It’s truly personalized training. If you send video to a coach, you’re paying for his or her time focussing on YOU. There’s a reason why pro teams have so many coaches: because only then can the players get specific things they can work on. On most youth teams there just isn’t enough time for coaches to spend time talking to and making notes for every player. Sure, it happens a bit, but it’s uneven and sometimes players feel their coach concentrates on other players. What’s better for an individual player’s development: listening to one coach tell the whole team 20 or 30 different things in a practice, or having a personal coach give the player 3 things to work on in training and try to put into action in games?
  2. The second reason is that it works better than coaches telling players what they did wrong. With video and remote coaching, the player can connect the feedback and advice to what is really happening so they understand how to play better. With video and comments right alongside, players truly notice and understand what they did and what they could have done.  If you do something in a game and then a coach tells you in the locker room after the game that you should be doing it differently, how likely is it that you’ll work on it individually and then remember that advice in a game? In fact, it’s natural for humans to not even recognize or admit that they’ve done something wrong. Seeing is believing; and improving.       Learn more on the WeVu for Athletes Page 
  3. It’s recorded – it lasts. It doesn’t go away. It’s always available to the player to check and look back on. If the player gets frustrated about something, the coach can point out why it’s happening and can even point back to the same thing a few months ago. And that means the player can see the progress. You might hear: “Wow, ok, I look at early in the season where I wasn’t in the right stance defensively. My coach pointed it out and gave me a challenge to work on it. Now in these new game videos it looks like I’ve figured it out.” Think of what that progress does for a player’s confidence. That’s what Lindsay Huddleston of Sports Psychology Solutions has seen with the athletes he coaches.
  4.  Everyone needs a second opinion. (Even Stanford’s Health Care system offers remote second opinions!)  Team coaches that keep a totally open mind about players’ development are a rare breed. It’s natural human psychology to put people in boxes and then interpret what you see to confirm how those biases. But when you send video to a coach somewhere else, who has no connection to your team, you’re getting a fresh set of eyes. It’s like sending MRI results to a radiologist in another city – maybe they will see something that the first doctor didn’t, or maybe just start in a different part of the image and put the pieces together to form a different conclusion. There’s even a college basketball scout named Norm Eavenson that bills himself as a second opinion.
  5. It actually teaches you how to learn. Taking feedback in a positive way and really having it sink in so that your actions are affected is surely one of the most important skills in life. Education experts call this “reflective practice” and it’s now a thing in athlete development. When we’re coached in person, in real time, our defenses go up and our minds play all kinds of tricks on us because we’re social beings and we don’t like disapproval. That’s all different when you’re interacting with a qualified, experienced, positive coach online. The time and distance you have to digest the advice and try to improve patiently over time is a really valuable lesson in how to learn. It carries over to school and work and everything else.
  6. The coach can assign online videos or film their own demonstrations for you. All that can happen in the same platform where you are uploading your video. Coaches can make a comment and link to a video of a pro player or a coaching resource video. That’s better and cheaper than watching a coach demonstrate in person because you can replay it over and over and compare it to what you’re doing now.
  7. It’s better value. Remote coaching costs less – here’s why. Let’s face it, you can only improve a few things at a time. Working in a concentrated way on one or two things is the most effective way to improve. So you only need a coach to pick out those one or two things and then go work on them. When the coach doesn’t have to travel and spend lots of time with you, you won’t pay nearly as much as you would in person. Coaches can watch the film and make their comments right in an online video platform from the comfort of their home, so when they spend half an hour with your film, you pay for half an hour of their time. Remote coaching has already hit the big time in fitness coaching, as this article in Shape magazine shows.
  8. The coaching is more accountable, so you’re more likely to get good stuff from your coach. Online coaches who don’t give productive, actionable feedback won’t last long – their reviews won’t be good. And athletes aren’t stuck with a coach; they can move on if they’re not getting what they need.
  9. Use these videos for recruting. Coaches at the next level don’t pay much attention to a mixtape you edited with all your highlights. Eventually they want to see the real you, making bad plays as well as the highlight reel stuff. Why not show them the real you, with coaching points, and how you’ve made progress. That’s what they really want: someone who cares about learning, puts the effort in, and can really learn from what coaches are pointing out.

You probably have another reason. Let us know in the comments below.

Coming Next: Part II – How to use video for remote coaching

We (of course) think WeVu is your best bet for ​remote coaching.​

Please share with colleagues who could use WeVu!

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