Parents of soccer players ask me this question all the time and while there is never a single answer to a question like this, there are definitely ways to make the answer simple for you.
But before I start offering my opinion, based on years of real world experience, let me first tell you that I’m not an Audio / Video (AV) expert, I don’t hang out in the AV forums, we’re not going to talk about the “lossy” quality of the codecs or the benefits / drawbacks of the various video compression schemes.
If you’re looking for the king of “geek speak”, you’re reading the wrong article.
My focus is 100% on the parent or coach that wants to get really good quality video of their soccer games for coaching analysis, video highlights for college recruiting, and / or video that looks really good when you watch the game at home on your large screen TV.
Issue #1: 4K versus not 4K
In general, avoid all 4K cameras because the current cameras are all recording at 30 frames per second (fps) and you need to record at 60 fps (see issue #2).
Issue #2: Frame rate
There is a lot of action taking place in an average soccer game so unless you’re fixing your camera in one spot i.e. on the goalie… your camera needs to be able to handle the movement of the players, ball and you panning the camera as the action flies by from one side of the field to the other.
Do not buy any camera that does not record at 60 fps.
Issue #3: Size
Bigger is better. This is a generalization but almost always true.
A bigger lens will be able to pull in more light and a larger image processor is better at taking that light and processing it into better quality video.
Under sunny skies, none of this matters much but for night games, games played under overcast skies or in the rain and indoor games it matters a lot.
You will definitely notice a quality drop from bright sunlight versus these other “less bright” conditions and this quality drop will be far more significant with a smaller, generally cheaper, camera.
Issue #4: Storage
Internal flash hard drive or SD cards both work fine.
I personally prefer a camera with SD cards for storage because it means I have no limits and I like the convenience of removing the SD card from the camera and inserting it directly into my computer.
What you store your recording on is insignificant unless you buy cheap SD cards – get only video quality 90 MB/Sec SD cards.
Issue #5: Price
In general, you do get what you pay for with camera gear.
So you can get a $279 camera that appears to have similar specs of the more expensive cameras but they will never be the same… or even close to the same.
Try to stretch your budget into a “prosumer” (cross between a “professional” and “consumer” level product) model to get many of the high end benefits without the dramatic price jump to a full professional model. You will get years of use from this camera so consider this when buying.
My Recommendation: Canon – VIXIA HF G40
Buy it at Best Buy and use their credit card to pay for it over 12-months using their 0% financing offers. They usually will not stock this model but can have it for you in 1 or 2 days.
You can buy it from other sources like Amazon… I just prefer buying from a local retailer and Best Buy will cut you a deal on the memory and other accessories if you buy them at the same time.
Here’s a link to the camera – Camera Link
I’ve owned the G30 for several years and the video quality is excellent. The G40 is an updated version of the G30.
I use (2) 64GB SD cards and have never run out of storage but I did buy a high capacity battery because the standard battery can cut things close at times, especially when 2 games are played back to back without enough time to recharge the battery.
The final step in creating your Player’s Page and your playlist. SocrPro makes it easy for college soccer coaches to watch your skills or maybe you simply want to show your friends and family. Either way, it’s fun and free so enjoy the game.
Remember that Socrpro has an amazing Mobile App that’ll keep all your updates at your fingertips.
Discover how easily you can create your teams in the worlds best free soccer coaching software. Add tags to individual players along with all the scheduling and player performance features already built in.
Remember that Socrpro has an amazing Mobile App that’ll keep all your updates at your fingertips.
When the Chicago Bulls were the championship dynasty of the NBA the General Manager, Jerry Krause, made a statement that championships were won by “great systems”.
Naturally, everyone laughed at this because everyone knew Michael Jordan was the reason the Bulls won 6 championships.
Even with Jerry Krause’s “great system”, the Bulls have not won a championship since Michael Jordan left.
But on the other hand, Jordan played in the NBA 7 years before winning his 1st championship and after his successful career with the Bulls, he played for the Washington Wizards with little positive effect.
So it appears that one is not mutually exclusive from the other.
It’s true that you need great players but it’s also true that great players in a weak system will plateau much sooner than their individual abilities would indicate.
Conversely, players in strong system will achieve results beyond that of their individual skills… the old saying of “the whole being greater than the sum of its’ parts”.
Because soccer is such a low scoring game, the “system” can take on a greater role since every scoring opportunity requires almost perfect execution to put the ball into the back of the net.
Teams that play consistently, that get into position every single time, that follow the shot every time, are the teams that win tough games and beat opponents with equal and often stronger talent.
They always seem to get the “lucky bounce”.
In this video, you’ll see the center striker following the ball even though it was obvious the goalie had this shot all lined up and the stop was all but guaranteed. But pay attention to the right striker and you’ll see her following the shot as well.
This score, and 1-0 victory, occurred in the 80th minute and after this goalie had stopped everything that came remotely close to the net. The teams were evenly matched and this was a hard fought physical game with both sides showing exhaustion from the long effort.
But the “system”, the quality coaching, the learned consistency and the individual drive of the players put this game into the W column because they followed EVERY shot to the goal from the opening whistle to the final second of the game.
This wasn’t a “fluke” or crazy “luck”, it was the product of a “great system” with disciplined players.
Had these players tried to win on talent alone, I guarantee this game wouldn’t have ended with the same result.
This is where talented players separate their team from their competition… by playing with a “great system”.
The challenge becomes educating your players to play within the “great system” through education and effective coaching.
And one of the best tools for “great system” education is SocrPro.com. Built from the ground up for soccer and only soccer.
Best of all SocrPro.com is FREE… so get your copy today and start winning more games immediately.
PS Your players will believe it when they see it… so make it easy for them to believe you and follow your instructions.
Try your FREE account of SocrPro today!
This isn’t a heroic story about a single player overcoming enormous odds to make it into the Premier League.
Nor is this a story of the underdog that persevered for years, toiling in the shadows of bigger, faster, stronger players before finally getting his chance to show the world he exists.
It’s really a story of the vast majority of youth soccer players and how they learn to play the game.
But before I get to soccer, let’s talk about a good old fashioned street fight.
At some point in time, you’ve either been in a fight or witnessed a schoolyard fight and there’s one thing that happens in almost every street fight; both participants use only their right hand to strike the other person.
Whether they’re fighting standing up or wrestling on the ground, they still use their right hand to hit the other person.
When kids are taught to box, the 1st thing they’re taught is to use both hands.
To throw punches in combinations of left, right, left or right, left, right. To throw a high jab to set up a lower body shot using their opposite hand.
Nobody ever questions the need of the boxer to be able to throw punches ambidextrously with equal veracity and everybody understands the importance of this skill.
Sometimes I think more soccer players should go take boxing lessons.
Some need it just to learn that not listening to the coach’s instructions leads to bad things while others would better understand the importance of using both limbs… but I digress.
When you study youth soccer (preferably via video with your free account at SocrPro.com), you’ll quickly see that the vast majority of players use only 1-foot for 90%, or more, of their touches.
They receive, dribble, turn, pass, shoot… all with their right foot.
It’s the equivalent of a boxer entering the ring with one hand tied behind his back.
The root of the problem, and the reason coaches struggle to fix this universal problem, is the immense space of the soccer field and the randomness of play.
Kids simply learn how to do things faster and more efficiently using only 1-foot instead of making a conscious effort to use both feet to double their speed and options on the field.
They have more initial success using their strong foot than struggling to improve their weak foot so they just do what works better for them without thinking of the future when the game speeds up and the skill levels required for success are increased.
This is where SocrLabs is different… and in this case far better.
Taking advantage of a controlled environment and hi-tech development tools, we’re able to quickly break those old, bad habits and force the kids to use their weak foot repetitively. This repetition builds the good habits and muscle memory that is then carried onto the practice / game field.
The next time you’re watching your kids play in a game, count the number of times they use their strong foot versus their weak foot. I guarantee you’ll only need 1-hand for the weak side count.
If you want your favorite players to step onto the field with 2-legs instead of 1, bring them to SocrLabs today and we’ll untie that 2nd limb so they can use both their right foot and left foot to play better soccer and win more games.
PS Yes… they all cheat the same way with their right foot to avoid using their left foot. The better players are simply better at cheating. You’ll be amazed at how much better they become when they double their options.
PPS No kids were harmed in the writing of this article and yes, we know that girls punch too… just ask their brothers.
With the performance of the USMNT converting the players into World Cup spectators, it’s been a common mantra that US Soccer needs to “come together” to solve the lagging performance problem and create a powerful development system.
But is this really what we need?
If we’re going to “come together” as a group, who should we “come together” around?
Will we look to the mothership of US Soccer to provide the guiding light or should we circle the wagons around a German, Spanish or Brazilian program? Or maybe put the women’s team in charge since they’ve proven they can win on the world stage… so many options to choose from.
But I think any “single” program we choose will ultimately fail.
It reminds me of the old story of the semi-truck that drove under the bridge too low for the trailer to clear and got stuck. While everyone was “coming together” pulling the truck from the front and pushing the truck from the rear with no success, 1 young boy watching from the curb suggested they let some air out of the tires to lower the height of the trailer.
This boy could have “banded together” and provided an additional shoulder and legs to push with the rest of the crowd but that truck would still be stuck under the bridge; not moving an inch forward.
What US Soccer really needs are more people “doing their own thing”.
Experimenting, modifying, adapting and learning from every mistake and every success to “evolve” the performance of soccer into a world beating dynasty.
Trusting coaches and clubs to drive performance because they want to win games, build their clubs and ultimately devour the less successful, lagging clubs. To allow a free market approach without artificial hindrances of a controlling authority that decides who’s awarded “academy” status or who receives the centralized funding dollars.
To truly accelerate the performance of soccer, it’s necessary to allow as many “experiments” to take place concurrently so the best ideas can matriculate to the top while the weaker ideas fall off and make space for the next opportunity for success.
We don’t need to “come together” around some mythical genius soccer organization and hope they’ll solve the problem of US soccer, we just need to go out and win the next game, win our tournaments and take home the trophy for whatever league your team plays.
Set the example of how a good club creates success and you’ll set the example for the nation.
PS There are simple things every coach can do to improve the performance of their players and team. Improving their “soccer IQ” is the quickest and easiest way to win more games and SocrPro.com is the easiest and only coaching platform built from the ground up specifically for you.