A Complete Video Program for Youth Soccer Clubs

Video isn’t what it used to be. It’s for lots more than just game review. Leading video software is still about game review and classroom sessions. But video can actually do much more to make your club more successful. At WeVu we understand that because we're players and coaches too (see the picture below for one of our founder's U18 teams). We've been out on the field with kids of all ages for thousands of hours. 

The many uses and benefits of video is why the Canadian Soccer Association mandates a video program for its National Youth Club License program and US Club Soccer Youth Club Standards requires video for NPL clubs.

In this post we give you a preview of the material in our eBook that describes the five key benefits of a video program and how to start one at your club.

Here’s what a complete video program will get you.

Better staff and parent coaches.

They can record parts of their sessions and send them in to staff for feedback and to earn club badges.

A better soccer culture.

Share key clips to some or all teams and coaches to educate them about how the game works.

Better tactical understanding.

Get players to really engage with video of their own games and pro matches by having them answer questions right along the video.

Better skills development.

Mini-homework for players. Give them ten minutes of ball work that they record and upload for coaches to check.

Better communication.

Record messages to sets of teams and distribute automatically to each team’s private site.

Clubs in other sports are getting these benefits from video. Shouldn’t we be doing all this in youth soccer too?
In our eBook we talk about 5 separate reasons video will benefit youth soccer clubs. Here are the first few lines from each of these 5 sections of our eBook.

Video for Teaching the Game

Video is now a natural component of learning everywhere -- especially for young people who can’t imagine learning without it. But in general, youth sports clubs and coaches aren’t using video as much as in other areas of education.

Video for coach development

Club directors want to make their coaches better. For one thing, the better the coaches, the less troubleshooting is required and the club’s reputation steadily improves. And then there’s success on the field.

Using video really produces results, especially when you can build a culture of feedback on coaching practice. Sure, it’s a little awkward at first, but after the camera is rolling the coaches probably relax and run their session more naturally than with a staff coach attending in person and scribbling comments on a notepad.

Video for player skills homework

Practice time is limited. Too often, especially at older age groups, individual technical skills take a back seat to drills and small-sided games. One solution is to use video to get kids to do skills homework. This has to be part of all great clubs’ video programs. All the players need is their own ball and a smartphone on a stand or in a parent’s hands.

Video for parent understanding

Club directors and us coaches need parents to understand what we’re trying to accomplish. How many times have we heard parents yelling stuff on the sideline that is counterproductive: incessant screaming of “pressure”, “great kick Taylor!”, “kick it up, Sam!”, “get rid of it”, and “send him!”.  We can ask them not to shout, but wouldn’t it be better to educate them a little so they can ask their kids the right questions after the game.

Video for player evaluations and tryouts

Finally, there’s the toughest part of every director’s job – player evaluations and team formation. How can video help?

You can use video to complement the way you do things now, or you can use it to transform player evaluation entirely.

As a complement:

For one thing, you can record evaluation (tryout) sessions. At the field, if you have 60 kids barging around you only get a few little glimpses of each player and evaluators’ judgments can be all over the map. Is it really worth having evaluators stand around and tick a few boxes or use a rating scale based on four or five touches per player? So why not record them and have staff coaches watch them later, comfortably, and use a player-rating rubric right in the video software that exports a report for you to use in team-formation meetings.

Transform your evaluations completely with video:

How much does the evaluation process currently cost in terms of registration, field costs, paying evaluators to be there in person, and getting their ratings and notes into a spreadsheet to share? Is it worth it? Are the evaluators ratings reliable, given how little they see and the artifical context the players are in? Do they correlate with the season-long judgments of your most knowledgeable, experienced coaches?

What if you put your resources into recording a couple of half-games for each team? That would help the teams, first and foremost, and your club would really stand out. (In fact it’s required by the Club License and Club Standards programs).

A guide for recording soccer

Soccer is not an easy game to record. It’s big. It moves fast. And what players are doing off the ball is just as important as what they’re doing on the ball. So here are some tips to get games recorded well enough so they’re useful, but without breaking the bank. In fact, sharing our step-by-step guide can get you good quality recordings done by parents or injured players or anyone else who can pan a video camera or phone on a tripod. The other option, of course, is to hire a recording service with high pole tripods and pro-level cameras.

Most of this guide is about recording games. If you’re recording smaller events like practice sessions or individual technique things get a lot easier. The only exception is that if you’re recording coaches running training sessions, you need good audio, so we help you with that in our eBook.

How to start a video program at your club

We think starting small with some keen coaches and competitive teams is the best approach. Then you can show off the success and you’ll have some evangelists in the club to motivate and help others.

  1. Trial some coach education with your staff coaches. Get them comfortable with using the software and with giving and getting feedback on their coaching. You can just arrange to record one of their sessions each and share them for some peer review in one WeVu video sharing site, for example.
  2. We’ve got 7 more great ideas in the book...
Please share with colleagues who could use WeVu!

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