VOD Reviews: What Are They and Why Should You Do Them?

Although each esports coach will have his or her own unique coaching style, one coaching technique that coaches at all levels of play will utilize extensively are VOD (video on demand) reviews. For those that are familiar with traditional sports coaching, they have probably heard this called film review. Regardless of if you are talking about esports or traditional sports, the essence of a VOD review remains the same.


Your task in a VOD review is to analyze practice or match footage to help your team learn and grow from their mistakes or successes. The VODs might be stored in an external source that the whole team can access such as YouTube or Twitch or stored on the coach’s personal computer.


Typically, a coach will pre-select certain areas of a VOD to review with the entire team and will break down the details in strategy that lead to a certain outcome in the game.


Occasionally, a coach might ask a player to lead a VOD review, utilizing the task as a way to let the players exercise their analysis and presentation skills.


Different types of VOD reviews:


VOD reviews can take several different forms depending on what specifically a coach is trying to accomplish. Below you will find a breakdown of the different types of VOD reviews a coach might conduct.


Synchronous: A synchronous VOD review happens with the entire team present to see it happen in real time, very similar to how a teacher might work with a group of students in a class. Given the proper equipment, the coach can play the VOD on a large screen that all players can easily see. The coach will then be able to stop and start the VOD as needed to point out key points to discuss with the team. In this format, the players can be very involved in working through problems/mistakes seen in the review.


Asynchronous: These VOD reviews typically occur when a coach and their players are not able to meet together at the same time. In these instances, a coach might record him or herself conducting a VOD review and then send that footage to their players to watch asynchronously. In these types of reviews the coach must rely primarily on his or her own knowledge to analyze the footage, rather than receiving input from the players.


Micro: A micro VOD review may be conducted either synchronously or asynchronously. However, a micro VOD review will focus specifically on the individual actions that the players make, as opposed to the bigger strategy decisions being made. These VOD reviews are particularly important at lower levels of play where players are not as proficient mechanically. In this type of VOD review, a coach will likely be watching the footage through the perspective of a particular player’s point of view to analyze all of the individual actions they take. Micro VOD reviews also do not require the presence of an entire team. If a coach wants to focus on improving one specific player, they might hold a micro VOD review with just that player.


Macro: A macro VOD review is essentially the opposite of a micro VOD review. In this type of review, a coach will focus primarily on the overall actions and strategy decisions that his or her team made. Macro vod reviews are particularly relevant for high skill level teams that are mechanically proficient and need to lean on strategic decisions to succeed. A coach will typically conduct this type of VOD review from an overhead perspective rather than from an individual point of view. In order to get the best results from a macro VOD review, a coach will typically want the entire team to be present because it takes an entire team to make macro decisions.


Useful tools for VOD Reviews:


One of the most important tools a coach can use for a VOD review would be a program that allows them to draw on top of the video. A popular option amongst coaches is the free drawing tool Epic Pen. Tools such as Epic Pen allow the coaches to draw whatever they want to on the video as they are analyzing it. The function of these tools are very similar to a traditional sports coach drawing diagrams on a whiteboard.


Another tool that coaches will sometimes use during VOD reviews are external pictures/programs that show the layout of the in game map. For example, Valorant coaches commonly use the program Valoplant.gg to simulate various in-game situations.


Overall, VOD Reviews are very beneficial for esports coaches and teams. There are many different ways to use this technique, and any coach is sure to be able to fit this into his or her training regimen.


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