A football coach who pioneered the use of drones in training professional football teams believes that a combination of managers being willing to introduce new technologies into the game and increasingly wealthy clubs mean drones could become widely used in topflight football.
In a report by a national newspaper, David Powderly, who is Charlton Athletic’s youth coach and now a qualified drone pilot, said that managers are looking at different ways to improve their own coaching and that drones are affordable for large clubs.
“Big clubs have the money and drones aren’t expensive to own,” he told SunSport. “It’s about looking at how it can be introduced. Football coaches want to know what the next big thing is that can improve their players and tactics.”
Powderly introduced drones as a training tool at Charlton in 2016 and has since inspired top clubs including Tottenham, Barcelona, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid to use drone technology to get ahead of rival clubs.
Coaches using drones must invest in a drone license and most are using consumer-level equipment, but larger clubs appear to be open to new technologies and there is the potential of upscaling their use.
Powderly invested in a DJI Phantom 3 drone for £1,300 in 2015 and quickly saw the benefits of using the UAVs to take footage of training sessions.
He told SunSport: “I filmed Thursday training sessions, recording tactical training, practice games, trying to record as many games as possible,” he said.
“Afterwards, I’d watch the recordings with the players and we were able to go through the video and analyse it.”
Powderly has since spoken at the International Coaching Conference in Geneva where he outlined the advantages of using drones to coaches of topflight clubs.