(Pictured Above: U.S. Soccer coaches at an educational event at the National Development Center in Kansas City, Kansas.)

In the world of soccer, the ability to evaluate your own performance is a vital skill for any player looking to improve their game. It’s not just about winning or losing either, it’s about understanding the nuances of your game, pinpointing areas of improvement, and harnessing your strengths to elevate your play to the next level.

One way to achieve your performance, is through video footage. Utilizing video gives you the ability to elevate your performance independently, liberating you from relying solely on your coach or parent to provide feedback.

So, if you’re an aspiring player with big goals, this guide will equip you with the tools you need to extract the maximum value from every training session or match you play by utilizing video footage.

Find Three Clips To Review

Why? Reviewing your best moments is a great way to sharpen your performance. It’s advisable to try and do this shortly after a game or training ends, this way moments will be fresh in the mind.

At the elite level, professional athletes rely a huge amount on post-match video to boost their confidence. By watching and collating your own moments, you will also be able to build up a strong understanding of where your individual skills lie. Going forward, being able to display your strengths will be crucial to gaining the attention of coaches, scouts, and even managers.

Tip: Find three moments from each half of your game to review. Try to select a mix of good moments and those which need improvement. Watch each clip closely and assess what you did well in the situation, and what you could have done better (whether that’s releasing the pass a little earlier or placing your shot into one of the corners).

Learn By Watching Your Mistakes (Without Blame)

Why? Getting back on your feet after a defeat is a natural part of being a soccer player. Mistakes and losses can be painful experiences. Yet, being able to reflect on errors is an important part of the journey. Observing a short delay before reviewing footage is understandable. Although, as players we should not avoid revisiting bad moments for too long, as they will likely be the key to avoiding them in the future.

Depending on your field position, mistakes and errors may be more common. For goalkeepers and defenders, it’s easy to feel 100% responsible for certain situations. Mitigating feelings of regret can be tough, especially in the heat of the moment. Fortunately, video gives us the chance to review things a little more objectively.

Tip: When reviewing video, be honest with yourself and select a handful of moments where you feel you may be at fault. An example could be a scenario where you lost the ball or weren’t marking a player. Once you’ve identified the video, try playing back and slowing the clip down. This process of reviewing the preceding moments will help you identify other factors that may have led to the mistake. Ask yourself questions like, were you under pressure due to a poor pass? Did another player leave you isolated, with no support?

Learn Faster By Sharing Videos

Why? Coaches are among the most important people in any player’s development. Yet, there are several ways that you, as a player, can maximize the expertise of support staff. A good coach will always be happy to answer any questions, especially if you have taken the time to review and pinpoint certain aspects of your game.
Given that you can freeze and isolate moments, video is a great way to share ideas and get expert insights. Sharing video with you coach, will enable them to give you constructive feedback quickly and directly. So, if you are trying to fix a recurring weakness in defense or improve a skill, the coach can easily review the video, see where you’re going wrong, and give you pointers.

Tip: One of the best ways to share a video and ensure it retains its original quality, is to post it as an ‘Unlisted’ video YouTube. This way, it can be seen by only those you share the link with and won’t appear in the videos tab of your private channel homepage. Alternatively, you can use WhatsApp, DropBox, or save the video to your team’s video analysis platform, like Spiideo (if it has one).

Watch Clips Together – To Build Your Team Chemistry

Why? Good chemistry is arguably the most important component for any successful team. It’s a trait many teams spend years trying to master. Cultivated properly, it gives players the ability to work together seamlessly, anticipating each other’s movements and making plays without even thinking about it.

One of the best ways to build chemistry is through video analysis. By watching a video of yourself playing, you can identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as those of your teammates. This information can then be used to develop set pieces and strategies that will help the team play more effectively as a unit.

Tip: As a player, it can be hard to get the whole team to watch back a video that you’ve clipped. Therefore, if you are keen to raise something with the entire team, it can be worth sharing it with your coach. Alternatively, choose a couple of clips that involve you and a few teammates.

As a small group, watch back the video and discuss what you could have done differently. Talk about how it unfolded, what went well, what you could have tried in the situation, and then plan to try it again in a training session or if you are comfortable enough, a game.

Make & Utilize Your Highlight Reel

Why? Harnessing the power of a highlight reel is a great way to boost your confidence and performance before a game. Visualization is a powerful tool, so being able to watch moments when things have gone well can have a massive influence. The beauty of video is you can watch clips quickly, it only takes two minutes and is not a big investment of time. Even professionals like Tom Brady and Cristiano Ronaldo use these techniques day in and day out.

It is important to remember that a highlight reel is not a replacement for practice. You should still get out on the field and practice regularly. However, watching your highlight reel can be a great way to supplement your practice, and help to improve your overall performance.

Tip: Find the clips that best illustrate the positive passages of play from your games, pool all these videos together and then download a free video app or use one of the clipping tools online. Once you have put all the clips together into one video and are satisfied, make sure to save it somewhere you can easily rewatch it. It is worth having a few different videos, perhaps one attributed to tackles, one for passes, and one for goals. Whatever you feel is most appropriate for the position you play.

Overall, getting your hands on footage of your games and practice is well worth the time. Once you get into the habit, evaluating your performance through video should become second nature and support all the other areas of your game. Using the tips above, you can ensure that you get the most out of video and take your game to the next level.

About the Author: Matthew Delicâte is a former professional soccer player who represented the Richmond Kickers in the United Soccer League. Delicâte is currently the Director of Sales, North America at Spiideo, a cloud-based video recording and analysis solution.