The impact of video-based practice on the development of elite youth footballers
2014-11-12T12:21:11Z (GMT) by
Whilst video is increasingly recognized and utilized within elite sport settings as an appropriate medium for delivering information about performance (MacRae, Miller-Perrin, & Tinberg, 2003), the exact role of the video as a development tool within youth football remains unclear (Groom, Cushion & Nelson, 2011). It is argued that further research is needed which is grounded in the day-to-day realities of the players, coaches and practitioners using video to develop players for senior football. Drawing from a wide range of scientific disciplines, the term ‘video-based practice’ is employed throughout this research to represent the overall activities and processes surrounding video delivery in youth football settings. The main aim of this research project was to gain an in-depth understanding of video-based practice within elite youth football. Mixed-methods were undertaken to tackle these applied research questions. Forming a two-part investigation, study one focused on developing an understanding the perspectives of the key participants in the VFB process within youth football. Interviews were conducted with eleven coaches and twelve players currently based with elite youth football environments. A thematic content analysis yielded rich data pertaining to their perceptions of the factors involved in the delivery of video feedback within youth football. In study 1a with coaches, 421 distinct raw-data quotes were abstracted into 111 lower-order themes, and 17 higher-order themes; while in study 1b with players, 490 distinct raw-data quotes were abstracted into 104 lower-order themes, and 16 higher-order themes. These higher order themes were grouped together under three general dimensions. These focused on (i) the psychological processes engaged during delivery, (ii) the impact of using different delivery strategies, and (iii) the impact of the delivery climate surrounding video- ii based practice. Whilst a broad range of common themes were identified, the findings also highlighted differences in the way coaches and players perceived the VFB delivery process. In the second part of this research, the emphasis shifted from exploring the factors influencing delivery, to directly exploring their impact from within elite youth football settings. In study two, an ‘individual-focused’ video intervention – based on the tenets of self-modeling theory - was delivered to five players within a single-case design to explore its effect on subcomponents of performance and selected psychological variables during a competitive football season. The findings were mixed. Whilst positive changes were observed on certain subcomponents of performance for three of the four players who received the video intervention, the findings showed that no impact was observed for other subcomponents. The findings also highlight the potential mediating influence of a number of psychological variables in the video-performance relationship, including self-efficacy, affect, imagery and motivation. Finally, in study three, a two-year narrative-based reflective piece is presented of the principal researchers’ experiences working as an practitioner within video-based practice within an elite professional youth football setting. Using reflective journals and observations in the field, a number of practical, philosophical and ethical issues were explored through the perspective of the coach-practitioner relationship. Overall, the findings of this thesis reveal the central importance of psychological factors in influencing the effectiveness of video-based practice in youth football, and suggest that the skill and expertise of the Sport Psychologist may add significant value to video-based practice alongside the coach and performance analysis practitioner.