Leveraging Video in Training: A Strategy for Coaches

Coaching during a training session.

The trend of incorporating videos into training sessions is rapidly gaining momentum among football coaches. Understand here why this approach can be a highly effective teaching tool. One of the early adopters of this trend was Julian Nagelsmann, who introduced the concept of a massive TV screen alongside the training pitch.

Read more: Leveraging Video in Training: A Strategy for Coaches

The Rise of Video Technology in Football:

In recent years, technology has significantly seeped into professional football. Notably, Ajax was seen using a golf cart equipped with a TV screen. Even more compelling was this video from AS Roma, showcasing the impact of José Mourinho’s innovative approach: link. But what’s the actual utility of having a TV screen on the pitch?

The Power of Visual Feedback:

The answer, quite intuitively, is straightforward. Through visual feedback, coaches can precisely pinpoint areas that require improvement. Furthermore, Mark Tichelaar, in his enlightening book ‘Reading, Knowing, and Not Forgetting’, offers a unique perspective. He suggests that our brains are constantly striving to connect new information with the knowledge already stored. If this connection fails, comprehension and retention become challenging.

The Brain’s Mechanics:

Fundamentally, our brains consist of interconnected brain cells, simplifying the process of correlating new information with existing knowledge. Consider a coaching change, where the new coach plans some tactical alterations. The prior knowledge from the former coach can aid players in understanding the new strategies more effortlessly. In such cases, brain cells containing related data are triggered, promoting quicker comprehension and longer retention of the new information.

Understanding the ‘Bigger Picture’:

Another intriguing concept from Tichelaar’s book is the ‘Bigger Picture’. He believes information absorption accelerates when our brains comprehend the overall narrative. A study by Bouwer and his peers validated this theory. Two student groups were assigned a detective novel to read. While one group received the story page-by-page, preventing them from skimming ahead, the other began by reading the conclusion. Intriguingly, the latter group, having discerned the entire narrative beforehand, understood the material 38% better and could differentiate vital details more efficiently. Tichelaar concludes that information is never isolated; it always fits into a broader context. Recognizing this larger framework ensures a more streamlined and effective learning process (top-down approach).

Contextualizing Training with Video:

By integrating match videos into training, coaches can clarify the context behind specific exercises. Tichelaar suggests that starting with the broader context before delving into specific instructions makes knowledge transfer smoother and more efficient. While not everyone might have access to live screen facilities, utilizing tactics boards can offer a similar benefit. This methodology has been frequently employed by Julian Nagelsmann during his initial training sessions at Bayern Munich, as seen here: link.


Bouwer, G.H., Clark, M.C., Lesgold, A.M., Lesgold, A.m. & Winzez, D. (1969)’Hierachical retrieval schemes in recall of categorical word list’, journal of verbal learning and verbal behaviour, 8 (pp. 323-343).

Tigchelaar, M. & Spijkers, V. (2017). Lezen, weten en niet vergeten. Houten: Spectrum.

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