How to coach football during a lockdown

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For the football and sports community, these times aren’t easy. Social distancing is the norm and team sports all over the world are closed down and government restrictions have made it impossible to play games or train in teams. Highest priority for everybody is of course to stay safe and follow guidelines from health authorities.

However, we miss football like crazy! 

Coaching football on a distance
As we’ve described before, Veo’s Copenhagen office is closed down at the moment and has been since the beginning of March. All football clubs’ training activities in Denmark were closed down by the government at roughly the same time.

So how can coaches use their time during the lockdown? I have had a conversation – on distance of course – with Sam Rafique and Kienn Jensen. Both are employees at Veo and, perhaps more relevant for this blog post, both are football coaches in the renowned youth academies of Hellerup Idrætsklub and Lyngby Boldklub respectively. And of course, both use Veo a lot in their work with the young players.

So, how do Sam and Kienn use the time to prepare for the return of football?

“We are already looking forward to when we can play again. It is important to review our matches this season and plan accordingly to next season. We need to be able to see where we were technically, physically and tactically. We need to be able to reach those standards again. For us, studying the older recordings has been specifically helpful. Especially since our players have improved so much from last September till now. We want them to see how far they have come. By comparing games from September and our last match we played before the break, they can see how much they have improved,” says Sam Rafique.

And Kienn Jensen continues:

“We communicate with the players almost daily, and some of the players are meeting up themselves doing training sessions, where I am talking to them both before and after to give them some ideas of what to do. I have also been doing some individual coaching with single players. I have been watching a lot of our earlier recordings to prepare for when we are back to normal, and to give myself new ideas. Besides I’ve used recordings to do individual clips, to show and talk to the players about,” says Kienn Jensen

Analyse football for homeworks
When you normally train four to five times a week and spend the most of your Saturdays playing football, a total lockdown of football frees a lot of time. The spring months are normally a hectic period as the Danish football season normally draws to an end in May or June.

The spring of 2020 turned out a little different, but that doesn’t mean that the players are not occupied with football.

“We have been giving them physical training for homework; running and so on. And then we have told the players to watch some old footage, and to make clips that we could go through together,” says Kienn Jensen.

The educational perspective of players analysing their own matches is also an important part of the preparation in HIK:

“The players have a program from our fitness coach, to try and keep them in some basic shape. Mentally also, but this has less structure. Instead it’s more about discovery. For example we might ask players to find some highlights where they create overloads well. By doing this we are able to not only check they are learning, but actively encourage them to watch their games, while giving them challenges,” says Sam Rafique.

New features on the Veo platform
In the last couple of months, Veo has introduced several new features on the Veo analysis platform. Features like Player profiles, Draw-on-screen and the newest feature Directed highlights have made the time in isolation a little less boring for the coaches.

“I have found the draw on screen feature fantastic. Before I was doing this manually by downloading the videos, clipping them and then using another program to draw lines and boxes. This feature saves so much time and it is really easy to use,” says Sam Rafique.

And his colleague goes on:

“I have used the draw-on-screen which is really cool, and the user directed highlights for my individual clips – they are absolutely amazing! I already spent hours making highlights for players to help them self study when we can’t train together on the pitch,” says Kienn Jensen.

Hopefully, we can soon return to football. But until then, the pause has provided a unique opportunity to get deeply into analysis.

Stay safe.

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