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Why we should be extra careful with what we say online

Social media, for the most part has been a groundbreaking invention that has allowed people across the world to interact from the comfort of their own homes.

We are able to communicate with friends, family and anyone else through platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and before their declines, myspace and Messenger.

But in the eyes of some, the use of social media has allowed those to express feelings and thoughts in a negative manner. And in the world of sport, there’s usually someone or something on the receiving end of this ‘abuse’.

Quite frankly, it’s downright disgusting.

To hide behind a keyboard and post things you wouldn’t say to or someone if they were standing right in front of you is a true act of cowardice. And deservedly, it’s universally condemned.

But it’s easy to take this perspective when you’re fortunate enough to not be the subject of online abuse and vitriol.

For those who play sport at a professional level and for clubs with significant fan bases, it can be quite scary to read things that people around the world say about you.

With the stakes they play for being so high, any level of failure is met with a knee-jerk reaction by those online. And with such easy access to the aforementioned platforms, it’s hard for professional athletes to see the bright side.

Some athletes do see the bright side, knowing that what’s said online rarely translates to what’s said in real life. A great example of this is through the popular TV segment, Mean Tweets.

Hosted by late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel, high profile people are made to read derogatory tweets directed at them, with most of them expressing laughter at the stupidity of what’s said.

Here’s a couple of examples of the segment.

But then there’s the other side of the equation, those who do get affected by what people say.

Often, these comments left online can be quite upsetting and sometimes, those on the receiving end don’t take it well. And despite there being those who can cop the abuse, some have different perspectives.

These comments, whether they’re made online or from the stands, are dragging the game of soccer down and it’s a real shame.

Back in 2017, Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren played a poor game against Tottenham Hotspur in a 4-1 loss. Following the game, Lovren’s family members were threatened purely based on his performance.

You could be the most soulless person on this planet and still find that kind of comment disgraceful.

Briefly on Tottenham, left-back Danny Rose was diagnosed with depression in 2018. He seems to have put it behind him after becoming a first team regular for Tottenham this season.

Granted, Rose has admitted that injuries played a part in his depression during a BBC video that went online this year (can be found below in full), but it goes to show something.

We may see them as these worldwide superstars who can do anything. But in reality, they’re just like us.

Human.

Some may think that these comments don’t have any affect, but they do.

Mental health is one of the biggest problems surrounding soccer players and athletes around the globe because people think that they can say anything and get away with it.

They say these things for numerous reasons. Their performances on the field, as we know. It can be down to their appearance and personality (see above video for Peter Crouch). But there’s one other factor.

The fact that most of these players are millionaires.

Footballers get paid lots of money and there is a select group that think because of this, they should never be sad in their lives. Purely because they’re a bit wealthier than most folk.

To rebut these opinions, there is only one thing that needs to be said.

Money can’t buy happiness.

So before you send that tweet, Facebook post or whatever it is, put yourselves in their shoes.

How would you feel seeing someone say that about you? Because in life, you should only treat people the way you want to be treated.

And it’s time that we stamp the abuse out, whether it’s racism, sexism or general oppression. Because whatever it is, it has no place in sport or in life. Anywhere.

 

 

Caelum Ferrarese is a Senior journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on micro policy within Australasia and industry disruptions at grassroots level.

La Liga to release broadcasting innovations documentary

La Liga is set to release a documentary detailing the broadcast innovations it has introduced since the league’s return in June.

The programme is titled ‘BehindTheCameras’ and is a one-off documentary. It will be shown on La Liga’s broadcast partners around the world and focuses on how the Spanish top-flight and the broadcast team were able to create a virtual atmosphere for matches.

A virtual atmosphere became necessary after the league returned without crowds. However, they’ve committed to giving fans the best home experience possible.

The documentary shows how they used virtual stands and crowd audio to improve its television broadcast. The stands displayed to-scale images of fans as well as the home team’s colours and club slogans. The league worked with Norwegian company VIZRT to create this experience.

Crowd audio was also used thanks to EA Sports who had previously recorded audio of fans. New camera angles were also a part of the virtual experience – different cameras and angles were used such as aerial cameras.

“It will focus in particular on how La Liga has offered virtual atmosphere as part of its broadcasts across the last 11 match days. The one-off programme will be aired around the world by La Liga’s international broadcasters,” La Liga said in a statement on Friday.

“Broadcasting a live sporting event with virtual crowd noise has been a veritable challenge for La Liga, a pioneer in this kind of virtualisation, and a step unprecedented among sports leagues around the world.

“With this in mind, La Liga has decided to offer a behind the scenes view of the entire process and show fans the innovation and hard work which underpins the technology.

“The BehindTheCameras documentary will showcase everything that has gone on behind the scenes and feature interviews with those who have played a major role in making it possible, including La Liga’s Audiovisual Director Melcior Soler; Head of TV Production at LaLiga Sergio Sanchez; Match Director at Mediapro Oscar Lago; and wTVision’s Willem van Breukelen.”

This is the second documentary La Liga has produced, following TodayWePlay, which premiered last month. TodayWePlay focused on the creation of the Return to Competition Protocol during the league’s break due to the Coronavirus.

Heidelberg United: Modernising youth development with SoccerPLAY

At all levels of the game technology is having a profound impact on football. While spectators focus largely on tools like VAR and goal-line technology, coaches and administrators are increasingly turning to sports science and innovation to seek a competitive advantage.

It was searching for this competitive edge that led Chris Theodorou, Football Programs Manager at Heidelberg FC to SoccerPLAY, an online management system which is revolutionising the club’s youth development.

“SoccerPLAY does more than just support coaches, it allows clubs to create a structure and a style. It’s a methodology,” Theodorou says.

SoccerPLAY is currently being used by more than 100 clubs and football federations around the world, including AC Milan and the Dutch Football Association.

The system gives users access to more than 800 exercises and training drills which can use to create training programs, improve specific skills, and track player development.

“The structure is phenomenal. It allows a football department to put together a program that can be accessed on a phone, tablet or computer,” he adds.

“It helps to keep training fresh and there are different formats for each exercise, so it provides coaches with all the tools they need to feel supported,” he adds.

Coaches can also create their own exercises which they can upload onto the system and form training schedules in weekly, fortnightly, or monthly blocks.

“If you fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Sporting organisations love to see their coaches turning up well prepared and with this system they will never run out of ideas,” Theodorou says.

“There are different objectives listed, so a coach or technical director can search specifically to find relevant exercises. From basics like first touch, passing, and movement to more advanced things such as building from the back and possession play, there are different formats of drills for everything.”

Each of SoccerPLAY’s  training exercises comes with a detailed guide on how to execute the drill correctly. This includes information on what equipment is needed, an animation providing an overview of the movements, and a real-life instructional video designed to demonstrate correct technique.

Theodorou highlights the video depicting technique as a particularly valuable tool for Australian coaches.

“The instructional videos are technique-focused because in Europe if you can’t pass, you can’t play. Whereas here in Australia we emphasise going hard and fast,” he says.

As SoccerPLAY is designed to incorporate youth development for all ages, there are exercises that are suitable for players in the under-6 age bracket through to under-19’s.

Many of the drills have variations which provide coaches the option to simplify them or make them more challenging, depending on the age group and skill level of the players.

“You don’t want to give five or six-year-old players too much information, so the drills are simple in order not to overcomplicate things. It’s also recommended that you don’t change what they are doing too often, whereas with older groups you can be more creative,” Theodorou says.

In addition to assisting coaches with an overarching training program, SoccerPLAY allows football departments an unprecedented ability to track individual player development.

“The player tracking is awesome. You can record a player’s results in agility tests, beep tests, sprint tests and so forth then track how they improve over the course of the year. At Heidelberg we aim to do these three or four times over the year to measure their developments,” Theodorou says.

“You can also track how players are performing in matches by uploading statistics and video snippets to their profile. For example, you can upload clips of a player doing something really well or if they’ve made a mistake, then you can show them the footage in order to identify learning opportunities.”

The key to SoccerPLAY’s effectiveness is the calibre of its designers, Dutch football experts Patrick Ladru, Bram Meurs and David Zonneveld. All three have all had distinguished careers within football, specifically youth development and education.

Among their many achievements, Ladru was a youth manager and then scout at AFC Ajax, Meurs played at PSV Eindhoven and now operates as a sports psychologist, and Zonneveld served as a youth coach at FC Volendam and now specialises in motorised learning for children.

“Ladru has worked with Johan Cruyff and the likes, he creates many of the exercises himself. Bram focuses more on the mental components of the system and what sort of actions players need to do off the ball and then there’s David, who specialises in teaching players behaviours and habits,” Theodorou says.

In Australia, SoccerPLAY is just beginning to gain traction with Heidelberg United being one of the first clubs to adopt the system.

As an active user of the program, Theodorou believes Australian football should be more open to stepping away from traditional practices and embracing new ideas.

“This is where FFA and FFV are missing the mark. Our national youth teams are not making World Cups so how are our seniors going to make World Cups in the future?” he says.

“The coaches that have embraced SoccerPLAY here think it’s unbelievable, its designed to be simple and effective.”

Football NSW’s NPL.TV continues to make its mark

Football NSW has announced that all National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s and National Premier Leagues 2 NSW Men’s matches will be live streamed, exclusively on NPL.TV when matches commence this weekend.

Prior to COVID-19 halting all competitions, NPL.TV was launched as an exciting new destination for fans of NPL NSW to view games. The landmark streaming service is a key partnership between Football NSW and leading sports media and data agency Sportradar.

On NPL.TV, the platform will be fully broadcast including complete commentary for all NPL NSW Women’s and NPL 2 Men’s matches throughout the 2020 season.

NPL.TV will also stream top-tier NPL NSW Men’s and NPL NSW Men’s Under 20’s when they are due to recommence later this month.

The platform is regarded as an OTT service capable of allowing content to be streamed from mobiles to televisions via Chromecast or Airplay.

NPL.TV is free for those in Australia and accessible on all web browsers, with the option to purchase a ‘premium’ Full HD package at a small monthly cost.

Football NSW has confirmed the following opening round matches can be viewed live and exclusive on NPL.TV this weekend:

Round 1 NPL NSW Women’s

Sunday 19 July

3pm – Blacktown Spartans v North West Sydney Koalas – Blacktown Football Park

3pm – Manly United v FNSW Institute – Cromer Park

3pm – Emerging Jets v Sydney Olympic – Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility

3pm – Sydney University v Macarthur Rams Womens – Sydney University Football Ground

3:30pm – Northern Tigers v Bankstown City – North Turramurra Recreation Area

7:05pm – APIA Leichhardt v Illawarra Stingrays – Lambert Park

Round 1 NPL 2 NSW Men’s

Saturday 18 July

7pm – SD Raiders v Hills United – Ernie Smith Reserve

7pm – NWS Spirit FC v Bonnyrigg White Eagles – Christie Park

7pm – Blacktown Spartans v Central Coast Mariners – Blacktown Football Park

7pm – Northern Tigers v Newcastle Jets – North Turramurra Recreation Area No 1

Sunday 19 July

3pm – Hakoah Sydney City East v St George FC – Hensley Athletic Field

Football NSW’s move from social media streaming to Sportradar’s innovative OTT platform will allow the organisation to control the content, allowing for more in-depth and data-driven insights into the area of viewer behaviour and can outline how this can tell more engaging stories to these fans.

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