In 2017, I had the pleasure of working with an extremely talented group of RDS U11's based out of the New York Red Bull's Training Facility. The opportunity to work and practice next to the hallowed turf on which the First Team train was a great experience for such young players. As the team grew throughout the season, we looked at ways we could enhance their learning on given topics and introduced a player/parent video analysis session.
This session was used to primarily aid players in their transfer of learning from training sessions to game-day and reflect on how effective this was. As an added bonus, parents were able to silently observe, giving them insight into the process and an appreciation of what the players were working on within session's.
We were fortunate enough to have our game's recorded from an advantageous angle which allowed for the use of video in the first place. One of our responsibilities as a Regional Development School coach was to tag the games (we used vLoop) and send each player their clips the following week. While clipping the games can be time-consuming, the benefit is that players are able to watch their own clips, rather than the whole game, which caters to their attention spans at that age.
As an added bonus, I was experimenting with Chyron Hego's Coach Paint for the first time. This allowed me to add some visual cues and highlight specifics for the purpose of transferring learning from training session's to game-day.
This then built into the aforementioned player/parent video session. Held before the session, we looked at last week's topic, how we'd applied it in the game, and how that tied into what we were going to work on that evening and building into the next game.
By using vLoop and Coach Paint, we were able to change the format of the message we were trying to get across to the players. The previous week we had worked on playing off of the forward and this was a great way to show them in a different way what we were talking about. By pinpointing moments within the game where they had got success, we could positively reinforce that moment and try to cement their understanding of the topic.
1) Keep It Short and Sweet
I'd have lost the players if I'd have gone in to lengthy explanations within a classroom session. Information and videos were kept short, concise and to the point. This is especially important when using video with young players. We looked at three topics, three short videos and the rest of the time utilized small break out groups and tasks with the players. Which brings me to the next point...
2) Make It Interactive
Once the players get over the initial cool factor of using video, it can then become very focused on "Am I on the ball?" or "Where am I on the field" and they can lose sight of the topic. Asking questions, setting challenges or identifying things to look out for beforehand can be very handy here. We took this a step further and had players write their observations on sticky notes before placing them on the wall and reading them out to teammates. This gave some interesting insight from the players and engaged them in the topic.
3) Relate It Back To The Pro's
This goes for any level of the game. By relating it back to professional players and those they see on TV, it is more likely to stick. For these guys, it's the New York Red Bull's. For other's it might be Messi/Ronaldo etc. Inspiring players to emulate the pro's and giving them examples of what they might do to study opponents is a good starting point. Potentially highlighting how they reflect and analyze their own performances can encourage young players to adopt a similar mindset.