Coaching Association of Canada

5 Reasons Coaches Should Use Video


By: Craig Johnson, Territory Manager - Canada, Hudl.

We know the value of video at Hudl.

Video is the connective tissue in the modern sports landscape. It helps communication with players, gives visuals to stats, gets athletes recruited, and helps you find the holes in your upcoming opponent’s strategy. Video is the present and future of athletics.

The power of video is nearly limitless, and we’ve heard the proof. Coaches have told us it saved their season or played a key role in an upset. Here are five reasons why you should use it.

  • 1. Develop Your Players

    Video has become the ultimate teaching tool for coaches to relate to their athletes. It’s one thing to tell a player what to fix or what’s happening during the action. But the ability to show them what’s happening and how to adjust allows for a whole new level of learning. 

    For Hugh Dunlop, the head coach at Ontario Hockey Academy, video is an essential part of his coaching practice. “A few years back, we sat one of our better forwards for the last 10 minutes of a game. Needless to say, during the game and immediately following it, the player did not agree.

    “Following a team video session, we asked that specific player to stay behind and we showed him only one of his final shifts. It gave him a chance to see exactly what us as coaches, and everyone else in the building were watching. We had another game that night and he scored in the first period and was our best forward for the entire game.”

    Coaches across all sports have recognized that athletes tend to be visual learners. While they respond to verbal lessons and can improve from instructions, adding the visual element to what a coach says helps them make a stronger connection.

    “The key for us is to keep it short and concise by focusing on one or two specific topics while using a couple clips for each,” adds Dunlop. “Generally, it seems to be most effective when we can show players a couple clips of what needs improvement, followed by a clip that shows what happens when the play is executed properly.” 

  • 2. Stay Objective

    One of the hardest things for a coach to do is completely eliminate biases from their assessment — in fact, the human mind is incapable of doing it. Hard as we fight it, our emotions are always going to affect the way we recall an event. 

    Rewatching a game or practice can provide the clarity that’s lost in the heat of the battle. In the moment, our brains create theories and opinions that may or may not be accurate based on our emotions.

    Video eliminates emotion from the equation. Upon second review, coaches can clearly see what really occurred and eliminate the subjectivity the brain is prone to.

  • 3. Find the Right Stats

    Statistics are an integral part of any evaluation process. Diving into the numbers can reveal tendencies that are easy to miss during game action. 

    Video makes the numbers come to life.

    “We look to track shot attempts for and against as well as shots that hit the net,” says Dunlop. “The key here is defensively we are looking to keep shots on the outside and conversely are looking to get quality shots ourselves.

    “Collecting this simple data allows us to narrow down what areas we are watching for in the video. For example, if we are getting a lot of shot attempts from good areas, but not many shots, we aren’t hitting the net. If we are giving up a lot of quality shot attempts, maybe we are too passive in giving up zone entries, etc.”

    While the data can provide useful information, linking it to video provides much greater context. With Hudl, one click is all that separates a coach from a statistic, and a corresponding playlist of the video clips tied to that stat.

  • 4. Scout your Opponents 

    It’s key to address your own team’s needs, but dissecting your rival’s game plan can be just as critical. Coach Dunlop and the Ontario Hockey Academy put an inherent emphasis on scouting as they prepare for games. 

    “Primarily we are looking at their special teams,” said Dunlop. “We try to figure out what they are comfortable with and try to eliminate that. If we limit their comfort level, we feel as though we have an advantage. In addition we may track certain players from time to time to find tendencies or weaknesses in their game and try to exploit them.”

    Finding a key tactical edge in your scouting can be the crucial component that gives you a leg up on the competition.

  • 5. Get Athletes Recruited

    These days, the email inboxes and Twitter feeds of college coaches and recruiters are littered with messages from high school athletes hoping to get their attention.

    The best way to catch coaches’ eyes is with a killer highlight video. Showcase your best moments into a short clip to get a player on a school’s radar. Flash some talent with highlights and coaches will watch full games to complete their evaluation.

    “We create 10 to 15 minute recruiting videos for all of our graduating athletes. In addition, if a team is interested in drafting a player, we will do the same thing. This video is generally made up of shifts and shows a player's’ entire game – no one wants to see a highlight reel.

    “It is about getting an accurate depiction of the player so recruiters can make an informed decision.”