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The Power of Visual Instruction in Player Development

Chris Idun
Sports involve so many aspects from skill, technique and strategy to organization, communication and teamwork. All of these can be seen in players from a young age, but it's the development of these through training that transforms potential into success.

This article looks at how best to use visual cues as an aid to player development and the impact that it can have on players and teams.

1. Player Development

Individual development is essential for all players' long-term success in any sport. It takes time and effort on the players’ and coaches' side to hone technical ability, tactical understanding, physical conditioning, and psychological strength.

1.      Technical: The foundation of any sport is the technique to perform actions. Training sessions evolve around improving accuracy or speed of those actions through repetition and opposed practice.

2.     Tactical: If technical elements are the foundation of sport, then understanding tactical elements of the game are the next building blocks. Players need to learn when to execute the techniques mastered to outplay an opponent and make intelligent and strategic choices.

3.     Physical: The physical demands of sports vary from discipline to discipline. Improving the physical abilities of players whether it's explosive actions, athletic power or endurance starts at a young age. Tailoring strength and conditioning programs to specific ages is vital to allow players' bodies to grow naturally and develop sport-specific actions.

4.     Psychological: Effective communication and teamwork are essential in team sports. Training sessions should always include elements of decision-making and social communication to help to nurture the development of players' psychological skills, build leadership, create mental toughness and help create bonds.

Delving a little further into player development, I wanted to draw on my experiences coaching to highlight the importance of visual aids in player development.

In a world where screens are practically an extension of our bodies, leveraging technology in player development is a no-brainer. Think about it – we're all used to taking in information through screens, whether it's on our phones, tablets, or laptops. So why not bring that familiarity into our training sessions?

2. Visual Learners

Studies show that around 65% of people are visual learners, so if you’re giving verbal instruction and feedback to players about actions and errors they are making, some may not understand until they’ve seen the footage or diagram. By showing a video of that error or by showing the clear picture of the outcomes you want from the training exercise they may be able to catch on quicker.

3. Session Planning

Planning sessions gives a perfect opportunity to start the visual process for yourself as a coach, for assistants working alongside you and eventually for players. Having a plan for how the session is going to function efficiently and provides structure to build on. The difference between a well-planned session and one that doesn’t have that sort of effort put into it is obvious for the players and for parents and other observing.

Planning things on paper might be a start for some, but it’s easy to lose, time-consuming to make and clunky to carry around.

Enter the 360Player session planning tool. This handy tool is a game-changer. Not only does it give us a head start on explaining the ins and outs of a session, but it also helps mentally prepare our players before they even step onto the field. It's like giving them a foundation of understanding before the session even begins. Adding session plans to training events is going to let your player interact with the topics, key coaching points and transitions giving them more time with the ball and you less time talking them through the drill.

You can input Key Coaching Points, progressions and challenges the players might be given, the dimensions of the field you’re going to use, and what equipment you need fact everything for start to finish of your session. Once that's saved it’s available for reference at any point in the future, linked to the training session so you know when it was delivered and the outcomes from it.

But the best part for me is the animation inside the drawing tool. Too many times I’ve tried unsuccessfully to explain movements and rotations to players. Up until now the best solution was always with cones or whiteboards but with those not always being available bringing up the animations in-app on my phone means players get that visual aid before stepping into the practice.

4. Video Analysis

The 360Player video tool allows us to tag players in key moments of action during a game or training session. It's like having a personalized highlight reel of their best moments and critical areas for improvement. This is where the real magic happens. Players get to see themselves in action, learn from their successes, and see the key areas for improvement that align with their IDPs. They’ll be able to see in their player profile all the clips you’ve tagged, comment and replay so they’re still learning even when the session or game is finished.

This analysis can focus on the technical, tactical, physical or psychological part of the session that you may have missed or misinterpreted in real-time. Did heads drop after a shot was missed? How was the body position of the receiving player? Who was the first to react to a turnover of possession?

Using training content and video are both powerful features to help drive player development to the next level. Want to find out more? Hop on a call with a 360Player rep to see how your club could benefit from these tools.

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