I was working with my U11 boys gold team last night and used my phone to shoot some video. It really is a fantastic tool having a pocket size HD video recorder at training and I plan to use it more and more.
I’ve done these sorts of videos before and I generally preface them by telling those that will be watching them that I am terrible golfer. I don’t golf much and I know I’m more likely to hit rough than fairway every time I tee off. Yet every time I wind up and strike the ball I’m convinced I’m hitting it the way Tiger Woods does. Or used to. It feels flawless. Yet the ball does not go where I intend it to go. It’s only when I see video of myself hitting the golf ball that I realize how much my feet shift and how ragged my swing is.
And for most soccer players it’s a similar story. Until you see how you look when you shoot a soccer ball you’re likely unaware of what could use some improvement. I’ve seen some very good players look absolutely mortified when they see video I’ve shot of them kicking a soccer ball but in the end they hopefully get past that and use those visuals to correct elements of their approach, planted foot, swing through the ball and follow through to improve technique.
Here’s what I shot last night, edited down with a load of annotations informing the players what they’re doing well and what they need to work on. You may need to pause it here and there if you want to read the comments as it’s pretty rapid fire.
It’s interesting how each player is remarkably similar through each of their efforts. They do the same things each time whether it’s good or bad. When you really look at these things closely you realize that any player, regardless of size or strength, is capable of striking the ball with power and direction if they can work towards great technique in their approach to the ball, how they plant their non-kicking foot, the speed they can generate in their swing through the ball, the balance they achieve through the kicking motion and the follow through as they strike the ball. Shooting for me is the most technical of the basics skills players learn so investing some time in giving players visual feedback on what they do well and what they need to work on is time well spent; particularly at younger ages like U11.