Using Technology to Support Player Development can be a very effective tool with technology virtually being everywhere in our lives! Technology has also changed the way we teach but also the way children learn too. As a coach, it is important that we do not lose sight of what we are there for when working with young players which is to provide them with a fun, safe learning environment to allow them to develop as young people and players. Technology if used incorrectly can lead onto us losing what we are therefore and can cloud the purity of children playing football. However, technology can also be an excellent tool to ignite children’s interest in learning. In this blog, I am going to explore some different uses of technology that you may wish to use for your players to help support their learning.

Player and Coach Feedback:

Videoing your players as well as your coaching sessions can be a great way of evaluating and support yours and their learning. Video support can be simply used by filming through a phone, tablet or a video camera to record particular parts of your sessions as well as individual/team players. The use of a microphone can also be a great way of recording your interactions and sessions too, helping you to understand how you coach and how you may look to improve how you communicate with your players but also deliver your coaching sessions as well. Videos for players can be a great way of showing and sharing them things that relate to their individual needs as well as the team too. When working with young players, video’s should be used to positively reinforce the behaviours and actions you like from them.

Video Analysis:

Video analysis software such as HUDL,Coach Logic and VEO are now widely used across all levels of football to help coaches support their players and teams. Often this software is easily accessible and provide an interactive platform for players to engage with their coaches and team mates around their performance as well as the teams too. Any analysis that is provided to players, should largely be positive to reinforce behaviours and actions that are positive. However, it may be that you wish to use this analysis to also show ways in which players and also the team can improve too. Video analysis can often be costly, so using platforms such as YouTube can be a great way to provide tasks for players to watch teams and individuals to analyse themselves. Children often learn new skills from recreating goals and moves that their role models and this can be a great way to offer a simple platform for children to engage in some form of video analysis.

Trackers: Physical trackers such as GPS vests are a great way of continually monitoring and evaluating your players physical load. However, these pieces of technology should be predominantly used when working with older players that are in a performance environment. There are also a number of other trackers that can be used for young players too which evaluate what they’ve done technically in both your training and games. Technology like Sock IT is a very simple piece of technology which can be fun and engaging for the children to help them to develop. Another example of this is the Adidas GMR software which is an interactive platform for players where their progression is evaluated and rewarded.

Statistical Analysis: Wyscout, Stats Bomb are great pieces of software that are widely available now across all levels of support to help teams prepare for upcoming fixtures by analyse themselves as well as their opponents. Technology such as Dartfish is also a cheap platform which is easily accessible to help coaches collate data from their own sessions and games. This type of software allows you to create your own buttons for you to tag and record areas that you wish too. This type of statistical analysis can be really useful to coaches as it may provide you with common trends across your coaching sessions as well as your games. However, any statistical analysis should only simply support your decisions and you should not be led by it as it may not also take the context of the session, game or situation into account.

Home Based Tools:

Tools like our Individual Skills Program can provide a brilliant platform for coaches to provide players with additional support away from your training and games. In my previous blog, I explored the benefits of home based work and technology can certainly help your players engage with playing more football and sport away from your sessions.

To conclude, with all technology, there is no harm in trying new platforms and ways of using it, however, it’s important that you understand it’s purpose but don’t lose sight of what is important, children playing football.