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Best Drones for Football Practice and Sports Analysis

Drones are becoming more appealing for football as they allow pilots to capture angles pitch-side cameras can’t.

They also provide a bird-eye view from a suitable altitude that covers all the action, getting data about formations and players.

Which drones are the best for football practice and sports analysis?

The best drones for football practice and sports analysis include the DJI Mavic 3, DJI Air 2S, and Drone-Clone Xperts LIMITLESS 4. They are reliable and provide crisp footage. The Mini 3 Pro, Mini 3, and Autel Evo Nano Plus will fulfill the requirements if you want pocket-size alternatives.

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The drones used for this application need decent flying time, impressive video and photo quality, and good stability in the air while hovering.

They must be easy to carry and set up too. Keep reading for more information on our recommendations.

1. DJI Mavic 3 – Our Choice

Droneblog's Choice
DJI Mavic 3 (Fly More Combo)
$2,945.00

Drone with 4/3 CMOS Hasselblad Camera, 5.1K Video, Omnidirectional Obstacle Sensing, 46 Mins Flight, Advanced Auto Return, with DJI RC-N1, Two Extra Batteries, Gray.

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03/07/2024 11:56 am GMT

Dimensions: 13.70 x 11.14 x 4.24 in
Weight: 895 g
Max Range:  30,000 m
Max Speed: 47 mph
Max Wind Speed Resistance: 12 m/s (Level 6)
Max Flying Time: 46 min
Camera Sensor: 4/3’’ CMOS
Camera Shutter: Electronic
Camera Still Resolution: 20 MP
Live View Quality: Up to 1080p 60 fps
Video Resolution: Up to 5.1K@50
Video bitrate: 200 Mbps
Internal Storage: 8 GB
External Max Storage: U3 512GB microSD card
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Compatible with DJI RC Pro, which has HDMI for video output
  • You can film a half-match or half-training session of 45 minutes with one battery
  • Incredible 28X zoom without losing image quality
  • It has among the highest wind resistance level on the list
  • It has omnidirectional obstacle-sensing and avoidance

❌ Cons

  • It’s the most expensive drone on the list

A top-notch camera is essential for a drone to record a crisp football video and for that recording to be valuable for analysis. That’s what the Mavic 3 achieves.

Its Hasselblad camera lets you capture vivid colors with a natural look. All you record with this drone camera has contrast and detail to distinguish each player.

Even if the training session goes until sunset, the Mavic 3 camera keeps the footage clear thanks to its 4/3” camera sensor.

If you want to focus on a single player, this drone’s second camera lets you zoom with outstanding precision. Activate the Explore mode and focus on the target player without distorting the recording.

As a flagship drone, it comes with an omnidirectional sensing system.

That not only senses but bypasses obstacles in all directions, so you can focus more on getting the perfect shot than hitting a target while flying it.

A great feature to film in training is the waypoints system.

Program the path for the Mavic 3 to follow and get the desired training recording. This drone can precisely repeat it if you want it to perform the same route.

Don’t worry about the battery. When charged 100 percent, your drone gets an incredible flying time of 46 minutes. That’s enough for a full half-time match or training session.

2. DJI Air 2S – Best value drone for football practice and sports analysis

DJI Air 2S Fly More Combo
$1,249.00

Drone with 3-Axis Gimbal Camera, 5.4K Video, 1-Inch CMOS Sensor, 4 Directions of Obstacle Sensing, 31-Min Flight Time, Max 7.5-Mile Video Transmission, MasterShots, Gray

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03/07/2024 05:16 pm GMT

Dimensions: 7.20 x 9.96 x 3.03 in
Weight: 595 g
Max Range:  18,500 m
Max Speed: 42.5 mph
Max Flying Time: 31 min
Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
Camera Sensor: 1’’ CMOS
Camera Shutter: Electronic
Camera Still Resolution: 20 MP
Live View Quality: Up to 1080p 30 fps
Video Resolution: Up to 5.4K@30
Video bitrate: 150 Mbps
Internal Storage: 8 GB
External Max Storage: U3 512GB microSD card
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • Works with DJI RC Pro
  • It has the best video capture resolution on the list
  • It has enough external storage capacity for various recordings at the highest video quality
  • It comes with four-directional obstacle sensing and avoidance
  • Although it has a 1’’ camera sensor, it’s a small drone

❌ Cons

  • With one battery, it lacks flying time to complete a 45-minute half-time or training session

If you aren’t ready to invest in a Mavic 3 and still want an impressive drone for the job, the DJI Air 2S should be your choice.

As a complete bundle, it is still cheaper than the Mavic 3. You get two spare batteries, a charging hub for three batteries, an ND filter set, and the DJI RC Pro.

Forget about not having enough flying time for a complete training session of 90 minutes.

With the ND filters, you can improve the quality of the recordings on sunny days. Connecting the DJI RC Pro to a monitor or TV via HDMI guarantees a live view with high resolution.

This drone isn’t all about its bundle but also its camera.

It has the second-largest camera sensor on the list, more than enough to film detailed videos. Its camera delivers recordings with such clarity, even on dark days.

On top of that, it has the best recording resolution on the list, delivering accurate and rich colors true to reality. No matter if all players wear the same color, you can differentiate each one.

And for having such a camera, this drone is tiny. You can carry it in any daypack, finding enough room for all your commuting needs.

3. Drone-Clone Xperts LIMITLESS 4S – Best beginner drone for football practice and sports analysis

Drone X Pro LIMITLESS 4
$749.99 $549.99

GPS 4K UHD Camera Drone for Adults with EVO Obstacle Avoidance, 3-Axis Gimbal, Auto Return Home, Follow Me, Long Flight Time, Long Control Range, 5G WiFi FPV Live Video, EIS, Superior Stabilization (With Travel Case).

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03/06/2024 09:51 pm GMT

Dimensions: 11 x 10 x 3 in
Weight: 544 g
Max Range: 4,800 m
Max Speed: 36 mph
Max Flying Time: 30 min
Max Wind Speed Resistance: 14.3 m/s (Level 7)
Camera Sensor: 1/3.2’’ CMOS
Camera Shutter: Electronic
Camera Still Resolution: 48 MP
Live View Quality: Up to 1080p 30 fps
Video Resolution: Up to 4K@25
Video bitrate: 100 Mbps
Internal Storage: No
External Max Storage: U3 256GB microSD card
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • It has a three-axis gimbal and EIS anti-shake technology for smooth videos
  • It has the best wind resistance level on the list
  • It comes with 360° obstacle sensing and avoidance
  • It’s a light drone considering its size
  • With the LED spotlight, you can easily spot the drone at night
  • The downward camera can be useful for filming from the center of the field

❌ Cons

  • Lacks battery life to complete a 45-minute training session

If you’re a beginner trying to film crisp footage while flying a drone, you surely want a durable one. The Drone-Clone Xperts LIMITLESS 4S offers that.

Drone-Clone Xperts is a US retailer which designed this drone based on the best features of the most successful brands.

So this drone has nothing to envy dominant brands like DJI or Autel. It’s made with top-quality standards, making it a long-term tool.

It’s almost the size of the Mavic 3 but weighs less than the DJI Air 2S. Nevertheless, it’s a sturdy drone for being a light foldable quadcopter.

It comes with a 360-degree obstacle avoidance device that points in the direction the drone flies. If your drone flies backward, this device turns 180 degrees to maintain your drone’s safety.

It’s an anti-crash drone that bypasses obstacles in any direction, less downward.

To solve this issue, it’s packed with a camera that allows you to see what’s below the drone.

You can film with this camera too, but only at 720p. The camera helps you to find a place to land without putting players or the drone at risk during training.

Finally, it facilitates recording activity, as it comes with a three-axis gimbal with EIS.

These features, paired with the wind resistance level of an enterprise drone, let you film on windy days without losing quality.

4. DJI Mini 3 Pro – Best mini drone for football practice and sports analysis

DJI Mini 3 Pro (DJI RC)

It’s incredible how a small drone can have powerful features, especially for aerial photography. The compact and lightweight qualities of the DJI Mini 3 Pro make it sturdy enough to withstand strong winds.

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Dimensions: 3.50 x 2.40 x 5.70 in
Weight: 249 g and 290 g
Max Range:  18,000 m and 25,000 m
Max Speed: 36 mph
Max Flying Time: 34 min and 47 min
Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
Camera Sensor: 1/1.3’’ CMOS
Camera Shutter: Electronic
Camera Still Resolution: 48 MP
Live View Quality: Up to 1080p 30 fps
Video Resolution: Up to 4K@60
Video bitrate: 150 Mbps
Internal Storage: No
External Max Storage: U3 512GB microSD card
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • You can film a half-match of 45 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus
  • You can film in portrait mode if needed
  • It has three-directional obstacle sensing and avoidance
  • For its size and weight, it has incredible wind resistance
  • It’s very easy to travel with, being lightweight and pocket-sized

❌ Cons

  • It isn’t compatible with the DJI RC Pro for HDMI video output

For some of you, form factor is crucial, and you still need a pocket-size drone.

So the DJI Mini 3 Pro is perfect for filming constant motion, providing 4K recording at 60 fps. If you need more frame rates due to speed training, this drone can film at 120 fps at a max resolution of 1080p.

These video qualities guarantee that players look detailed and that their movements are natural.

With this drone, you can film on a sunny day without losing clarity, thanks to the dual native ISO. No matter if your practice gets to a bright midday, you can still differentiate the players.

Another feature to stand out is that its gimbal has incredible rotation angles. Then the camera can shoot from low angles covering the training ground completely.

If you want to post part of the training session on social media, the gimbal rotates until it’s vertical, allowing the camera to record in portrait mode.

With the DJI Fly app, you can share the video on Instagram in mere seconds without post-editing.

You’ll never get short on time with this drone if you use the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus. This enhanced battery provides up to 47 minutes of flying time to easily cover half a training session.

5. Autel Robotics EVO Nano Plus – Best mini drone for football practice and sports analysis with FHD live feed

Autel EVO Nano Plus (Premium Bundle)
$2,099.00

249g Mini Professional Drone with 4K RYYB HDR Camera, 50 MP Photos, 1/1.28" CMOS, 3-Way Obstacle Avoidance and more.

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03/06/2024 09:57 pm GMT

Dimensions: 4.30 x 9.10 x 5.10 in
Weight: 249 g
Max Range:  10,000 m
Max Speed: 34 mph
Max Flying Time: 30 min
Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10 m/s (Level 5)
Camera Sensor: 1/1.28″ CMOS
Camera Shutter: Electronic
Camera Still Resolution: 50 MP
Live View Quality: Up to 2.7K@30
Video Resolution: 4K 30 fps
Video bitrate: 100 Mbps
Internal Storage: No
External Max Storage: U3 256GB microSD card
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • It has the best live view feed resolution on the list
  • It has three-directional obstacle sensing and avoidance
  • For its size and weight, it has incredible wind resistance
  • It’s very easy to travel with

❌ Cons

  • Lacks battery life to complete a 45-minute session

If you value the live view quality in the tiniest device, get the Autel Robotics EVO Nano Plus.

This drone transmits to your connected mobile device with a max quality of 2.7K at 30FPS.

Thanks to that resolution and frame rates, you’ll see smooth and realistic movements without jittering. All player movements will look accurate, making it perfect for analysis in real-time. 

Then you can access the recording of that live view at the same frame rates but in 4K!

You can focus on viewing the live view without worrying too much about obstacles.

The Nano+ comes with a three-directional obstacle sensing and avoidance that bypasses obstacles in the front, back, and below the drone.

So with the downward obstacle avoidance sensor, you can fly above players with the drone always keeping its distance.

Its only downside is its flying time. With only one battery, you can hope to film for about 45 minutes.

However, Autel sells this drone in a spectacular bundle with two other batteries. Even in a bundle, this drone is cheaper than the Mini 3 Pro.

6. DJI Mini 3 – Best mini drone for football practice and sports analysis with the longest flying time

DJI Mini 3 (Standard)
$559.00 $469.00

Lightweight and Foldable Mini Camera Drone with 4K HDR Video, 38-min Flight Time, True Vertical Shooting, and Intelligent Features.

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03/08/2024 01:06 am GMT

Dimensions: 3.50 x 2.40 x 5.70 in
Weight: 248 g and 290 g
Max Range:  18,000 m and 25,000 m
Max Speed: 36 mph
Max Flying Time: 38 min and 51 min
Max Wind Speed Resistance: 10.7 m/s (Level 5)
Camera Sensor: 1/1.3’’ CMOS
Camera Shutter: Electronic
Camera Still Resolution: 48 MP
Live View Quality: Up to 720p 30 fps
Video Resolution: 4K@30
Video bitrate: 100 Mbps
Internal Storage: No
External Max Storage: U3 256GB microSD card
GPS: Yes

✅ Pros

  • You can film a half-match of 45 minutes with the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus
  • It’s very portable
  • It’s the most inexpensive drone on the list and still has great durability

❌ Cons

  • It isn’t compatible with the DJI RC Pro for HDMI video output
  • It doesn’t include obstacle-avoidance sensors

If you want the drone with the best flying time in the tiniest presentation, go with the Mini 3.

With its regular battery, this drone achieves 38 minutes of flight time. If you want much more time, opt for the Intelligent Flight Battery Plus for 51 minutes of flying time.

You’ll be able to record a half-match with extra time!

Although its live view quality is fairly poor, its recordings are top-notch. You’ll get superb video quality in normal light conditions with a max video filming of 4K at 30 fps.

On bright days, you need cheap ND filters for all your recordings, as its camera lacks dual native ISO.

Its only real downside is that it lacks obstacle avoidance sensors, so it’s only suitable for flying it above players at a decent altitude.

To counter this risk, the Mini 3 is very stable thanks to its phenomenal GPS and good wind resistance.

Even in windy conditions, this drone holds its altitude and constantly self-positions, which are features that make it a safe drone to fly above people.

Minimum requirements

How did we choose these drones? Some features make them perfect for football practice and sports analysis, so let’s take a look.

Quick setup

All these drones are handy.

They are light, not exceeding 1kg or 2.2 lb. They fit easily in a typical commuting 20 L backpack, making them accessible without needing extra gear.

Their batteries are also lightweight and tiny, making them accessible to carry an additional one or two, just in case.

When up to date, these batteries are plug-and-play, so your drone will be ready to fly in mere seconds.

Flying and hovering times

All these drones have flying and hovering times between 30 to 51 minutes.

These periods guarantee enough time to shoot from different angles while flying over players, so you can gather crucial data without rushing.

Stability

These drones give enough stability to remain in a fixed position.

Although they come in handy form factors, the drones have wind resistance levels between 5 and 7. They can resist windy days in wide-open areas such as football training courts.

Their GPS constantly senses the drone’s geographical point, so you don’t need to worry about the wind blowing them up without control.

If the wind manages to move them, these drones will recover their position automatically.

Video quality

Another critical feature when filming for sports analyses is the video quality.

The cameras of these drones come with impressive sensors for their sizes and outstanding resolutions.

Plus, their cameras record high bitrates between 100 and 200 Mbps. The higher the bitrate, the more information the video display. This information translates into the amount of image detail and accuracy.

This feature ensures that players’ movements look more natural. Also, the video won’t have crashes, delays, or frames jumping in.

Suitable storage

Finally, the higher the bitrate, the more storage you need. These drones have an impressive 256GB to 512GB capacity with microSD cards.

You will have enough space to save a complete training session.

Can I use a drone to film an official football match?

Most sports arenas have geofencing restrictions. If you lack the required license, you must fly elsewhere.

If you get the authorization, all people and organizations in the stadium must know about the drone flying over them or that it will hover over them at a particular time.

However, these permissions are tricky to get. The reason is that drones are a potential hazard without the proper evaluation from football authorities.

Do I need to register my drone for this activity?

If you get the authorization to operate in these events, it’s because you already have the required license and permission to fly over people.

So first, your drone must meet the FAR 107 regulations and be Remote ID compliant.

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