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Blended Learning in Football

1-overview

While working through my AFC/FFA Professional Diploma I chose to research Player development methods through the use of Technology. While I know technology is used in football with video clips provided to teams and players, my research though indicated that a plain video does not mean you are teaching a visual learner. While I researched Learning Styles, there was no clear process or method.  For me all of the theories I research made sense and fit with different types of players, this leads me to think coaching is very personal and each player should be treated differently.

endeavour-new-logo

We are trialing a model within the football program at my School, Endeavour Sports High with the support of A-League club Sydney FC. The model overview I will explain in this article, it is important to note though that we are not saying actually coaching is not important, in fact, it is still the most important component.  What we are trying to do is move the players to the practice phase of learning.  We also introduced a weekly Training Game Tournament for Year 7 and 8 setting them more tactical tasks but still videoed to see if our main topics came out in a competitive game.

 

Through the last 5 years progressing through the AFC A-Licence and AFC Professional diploma I have written my philosophy and with this now I am adjusting depending on the age groups I am working with.  Of course, a school program should be more about individual development and teach many systems rather than just one like in a team situation.

 

team-app

For team communication I use Team App with all my players and teams, this allows us to keep all informed and deliver videos to promote the players development.

team-app-iphone

 

phases-of-learning

THREE PHASES OF LEARNING SKILLS

  • The Cognitive Phase or Understanding

The first stage of learning a new skill, the athlete gathers mental images of how the skill looks when performed correctly.

  • The Practice Phase or Verbal Motor Phase

In this stage coach should teach athlete’s how to self-coach, monitor execution of skill and make self-adjustments or corrections when practicing alone or during competition.

  • The Autonomic Phase or Motor Phase

The athlete now shows a natural and automatic manner when demonstrating the skill.  The skill now mastered can be used can be selected and used with no real thought concerning execution.

See below a short video on the Stages of Learning

In the book  by Dave Meier, The Accelerated Learning Handbook: A Creative Guide to Designing and Delivering Faster, More Effective Training Programs. He suggests a 4th learning phase called Preparation which could be considered in football and fits well with the idea of delivering some information prior to the training week.

  • Preparation: Arousing Interest
  • Presentation: Encountering the New Knowledge or Skills
  • Practice: Integrating the New Knowledge or Skills
  • Performance: Applying the New Knowledge and Skills

 

4-cognitive-multimedia-learning-theory

The first step was to introduce a learning Video just prior to training, we placed a small TV next to the field in our equipment shed with a connection to my ipad.  These videos are very short, 1 to 3 minutes to show the key objective of the session.  I found with some videos we had a goal from a top team and footage of a training session to go with it.  The older players actually read the information on the screen well and got the exercise moving very quickly.

I then researched creating a learning video which led me to the Cognitive Multimedia learning theory which is a set of rules on creating a video so we don’t overload the working memory. How often do you watch a tactical video on You Tube that is so busy you can’t keep up with it, too many words on the screen and too many subjects covered. While I make plenty of these videos I actually rarely watch others especially those on youtube.  I have learned that my working memory can’t keep up and that is why I stop them after 1 or 2 minutes, sometimes also videos have too many theories built in that suggest they’re done by a technology guru rather than a coach. Through this research though I have found that my early videos are pretty close to meeting most of the rules, sometimes I did use text and voice over that is maybe the only adjustment that needed to be made.  With older players I use text rather than voice over just in case, they get sick of hearing my voice.

My research led me to the Blended learning concept some call it a flipped classroom but there is a difference between them both. Blended learning is very specific to the group you are working with and a flipped classroom is more general and is more for the masses with less group specific information, both though fit into the idea of using technology to teach.  In some ways, I have been using blended learning for at least 6 years but now technology was cheaper and easier to use.  4 years ago I had an online learning course made for England schoolboys that were quite expensive to put together.

The difficulties in rolling out this method are getting players logged in and convincing them that it is designed to be short and easy to do.  When working with younger players you have to go through mom and dad and this can be an issue if parents are not great with technology.  Previously I used web blogs with passwords but I noticed at times the videos had been shared with other clubs. While having the video does not mean the other club can replicate everything you do,  it does take plenty of time and effort to develop the videos so permission to share should be requested.  The idea is players can watch the video in recess, on the bus or in their free time on their mobile devices, mobile phone, iPad, android or even on their laptop or desktop PC.

See below a short video explaining the Cognitive Multi Media learning Theory

See below the Dual coding theory explained

 

8-blended-learning

My research led me to the Blended learning concept some call it a flipped classroom but there is a difference between them both. Blended learning is very specific to the group you are working with and a flipped classroom is more general and is more for the masses with less group specific information, both though fit into the idea of using technology to teach.  In some ways, I have been using blended learning for at least 6 years but now technology was cheaper and easier to use.  4 years ago I had an online learning course made for England schoolboys that were quite expensive to put together.

See below a short video explaining Blended Learning

The difficulties in rolling out this method is getting players logged in and convincing them that it is designed to be short and easy to do.  When working with younger players you have to go through mom and dad and this can be an issue if parents are not great with technology.  Previously I used web blogs with passwords but I noticed at times the videos had been shared with other clubs. While having the video does not mean the other club can replicate everything you do,  it does take plenty of time and effort to develop the videos so permission to share should be requested.  The idea is players can watch the video in recess, on the bus or in their free time on their mobile devices, mobile phone, iPad, android or even on their laptop or desktop PC.

 

10-goclass

Having researched and trialled a number of online classrooms I decided to sign up with GoClass, it was simple and flexible enough.  This now allows for individual log in and can also be monitored for activity individually.  So we can see if one player login 50 times or if a player does not log in at all.  The Goclass app can be installed on any mobile device, iPad, android or PC so the players can watch at any time.

We now have to consider all the tools we have at our disposal and work out which to use to make the video or blog page.  This is when the creative side of making learning material needs to be considered, how do we make a simple video or design a web page that is interesting and will engage players enough to look through it.  The flexibility of a webpage is very good because it is a great place to use all different types of media.

See below the SHOW page, with this I use a blog so I can build on the first video with footage of all the work we do with the teams at the school and show footage of their success.

go-class-attacking-creation-third-man-running-show-page

 

Below is the EXPLAIN page this allows the player to read some key points we have provided about the video

go-class-attacking-creation-third-man-running-explain-page

 

Below is the ASK page, we can now ask some questions and start to see the understanding of each individual player

go-class-attacking-creation-third-man-running-ask-page

 

 

5-individual-and-group-actions

We started to work on creative actions or actions that would create positive moments in games in other training sessions, subjects like inverted attacks, Inverted shooting, Breaking the last line, freeing from the marker, 3rd man runs also different types of deliveries, early balls in behind, cutbacks, diagonal balls in behind. In all these sessions we would watch a 1 or 2-minute video to introduce the concepts. then again any good actions I would create clips and show the players via our team app, some also were posted on the school’s facebook page, the idea again was to say well done, and show the players their good actions rather than their bad ones.  One learning theory says engagement and deep learning are important so promoting good actions is a good way to motivate the players to perform.  Often when something good happened players would recommend adding the footage to the team app.

Topics typically last for 2 weeks, the cycle looks something like this

topic-cycle-1

topic-cycle-_002

See below an early video created which we showed prior to a Training Game tournament, we set the players in groups and they discussed the video before we headed out to the field.

We would then create clips and show the players via our team app, some also were posted on the school’s facebook page, the idea again was to say well done, and show the players their good actions rather than their bad ones.

See below a video showing highlights of skills and good examples of subjects we have covered

See below an individual player analysis showing is good work, highlighting his skills and good examples of the subjects we have covered.

See below a good example of team Play using Concepts of Possession

See below the older players practicing a diagonal delivery, this video mixes top team footage with footage of our training

See below our Speed Agility Quickness Robben drill

See below using video to have some fun

7-australia-deaf-national-team

The concept we have also implemented with Australia’s national deaf team, my technical Director role is to break down the sessions provided by Head coach Robbie Stanton. I film the sessions, microphone Robbie then try to break the session into smaller learning videos for the players, we try to get a translator to assist or I provide voice over with subtitles.

The video below shows us practicing types of deliveries in preparation for an international vs North Korea, this video was made and provided to the players on the same day via the team app.

See below the image shows the basic overview of the types of build up used in football.

build-up-methods

See below a Deaf National team video on our main types of build up.

9-learning-videos

The method I use today is to provide learning videos before every training session to provide the players with some good quality visuals of the part of the game we are going to work on. The video below would be a good example of how I have simplified the use of video so we can discuss while we watch it. We would then video our session and trim the video down and add some footage of use in training and in games attempting to create the actions we have worked on. This can be broken up into full success examples and part success examples so the players can then discuss which part broke down, of course, we can find footage at the highest level of part success. In all football actions especially those that involve groups of players more often than not we have part success in a passing pattern or key action.  I believe it is better to coach n the run and praise part success than intervening to prove we can fix everything.  When we do give feedback to the area the move broke down it must be detailed and even within this movement, an individual player may have still delivered part success.  For example, his/her positioning, movement, timing of movement, body shape, first touch, the decision on the next pass may have been very good.  It could have been the execution of the pass that broke down so giving positives then feedback on the passing execution I would recommend.  I use a weekly training Game tournament to give players opportunities to practice our work, I have a preference of reviewing when players are in competitive game situations. Early 2017 Sydney University will start a study on the Training Game weekly tournament we use to bring out the weekly training objectives.

See below a before training learning video, no voiceover just the key actions.

 

See below a Constraints-Led Coaching training Game to work on thrid man runs to create an opportunity

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