Otago Polytechnic

What happens when you combine sports psychology and performance analysis? 

Simon Middlemas, Principal Lecturer and Research Coordinator at Otago Polytechnic’s Institute of Sport and Adventure, decided to find out by studying the use of video feedback for developing elite youth footballers. While video is increasingly recognised and used within elite sport for performance information, the effect of video feedback on the psychology of players and coaches has seen little research attention.

Previous sports psychology research has highlighted the usefulness of visualisation for building confidence, but has not concerned itself with pre- and post-game video analysis.

Simon’s research - conducted with Dr Chris Harwood at Loughborough University in the United Kingdom - had two main objectives: 1. Understand coach and player perspectives on video-based feedback and 2. Explore how the learning environment, style of video feedback delivery and individual differences affected key psychological outcomes.

Simon found that, traditionally, the coach holds the power.  They control what footage the athlete watches and often the focus is on replaying mistakes.  

“The emphasis of video feedback needs to be on the athlete rather than the coach,” says Simon.  “Players need to be engaged and feel ownership of the learning process.

Simon says athletes need to focus greater attention on the best model of themselves, with coaches encouraging the use of video feedback of players performing at their peak.

“Without understanding the psychology of motivation, performance analysis is irrelevant and hours of analysis are wasted. My research provides a way to link different professionals to work together with athletes and coaches to achieve the same goal.”


Middlemas, S.G. & Harwood, C. (2015) Perceptions of Video feedback amongst elite youth football coaches and Players. International Sports Science + Sports Medicine Conference 2015 Newcastle Upon Tyne 8–10th September 2015 Abstracts. British Journal of Sports Medicine, October 2015, Volume 49, Suppl 2.