The use of feedback videos in sport

Whilst video analysis has become an entrenched part of football at all levels, its usage and application across different performance levels ranging from amateur to elite vary enormously. Furthermore, at the elite level, integration of video into training and match preparation often depends enormously on the coaching staff, and particularly the value they place upon it.

At any level, however, as argued by Peter O’Donoghue in his research article ‘The use of feedback videos in sport’, published in 2006 in the International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport, videos can be a powerful instruction and motivation tool for athletes. Although the article was published over a decade ago, it still provides a useful framework from which coaches can design their video processes, based on analysis of the video processes implemented by club and international netball teams.

O’Donoghue puts forward a dynamic model of the video process, suggesting that observation & analysis of match video can be categorised into either positive aspects or negative aspects. Accordingly, selections of events within these categories can be utilised to provide feedback back to the players. The model is shown below.

Whilst this model is sound, more recent research has identified other areas of analysis that can be achieved through video. These include coach reflection, player-led learning and opposition analysis. Whilst these are addressed in the article, given the prevalence of video analysis in these areas, they should be incorporated into the model accordingly to give a more complete picture of the variety of ways in which video can be used in the coaching process.

O’Donoghue then elaborates on specific examples of positive and negative feedback being provided to players through video. These included videos of team areas for improvements and individual technique-based analysis. In a practical sense, this is the area in which video is most commonly utilized in most coaching environments. Most research supports the benefits of providing individual and group feedback on past performances as an indicator for future improvements. In a competitive, performance phase environment (e.g. senior & elite sport) this may involve the coach presenting specific clips from games and providing visual and verbal feedback on specific technical, tactical and psychological factors identified in the videos.

This is similar to the case study provided by O’Donoghue in the research article. It would be insightful to know whether the type of feedback provided (whether it be positive or negative and the way in which feedback is presented affects player understanding and whether this is affected by the age and performance level of the players.

It was particularly interesting to read in O’Donoughue’s research of the use of motivational moves in elite sporting environments. Compilations of match highlights accompanied with music are highly popular amongst fans, as evidenced by the hundreds and thousands of such videos available on YouTube, but it is interesting to read how these types of videos are utilized within teams themselves. The author reports that players found these movies useful to “be reminded of the many positive aspects…of their ability and performance.”

Overall, this research article provided a unique and practical insight into how video can be integrated into the coaching process. Whilst the dynamic model presented is incomplete, it provides a useful framework from which coaches can formally plan their use of video. It would be interesting to read an updated version of this article taking into account technological advances over the past decade and to see how video has evolved within professional sport working environments.

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