Sports Video Analysis: How To Get Your Team Started
With the advent of modern technology and an increasing thirst for sports coaches to consume ‘data’, the desire for sports team analysis continues to grow.
With so many products, apps, software, platforms and price points available, making the right choices for your team’s specific context can be somewhat challenging.
A widespread observation of ours is that still many coaches are not exactly sure what sports analysis actually entails, with so much industry jargon that seemingly overcomplicates and confuses.
If you have made a decision to provide a structured process of reviewing training and performance for your team, coupled with the desire for providing effective feedback, then sports analysis is for you!
I think the notoriety the modern ‘performance analyst’ is receiving has created a perception that recording & sharing objective information is only for pro teams or large budgets.
This, however, could not be further from the truth.
Let us, at this point, separate what many refer to when discussing analysis apps – Coaches Eye, Hudl Technique etc, as these are predominantly used for motion capture, referencing movement and coaching specific technique.
Whilst these (smartphone & device) apps can definitely be incorporated into an overall workflow, we will put these to one side for the purpose of this particular article.
This piece is referring to programs and platforms designed for you to upload full match video, tag (code), comment, share and communicate clips with your team.
So, what do you need to consider?
Online or Offline, or Both?
The analysis package you choose will ultimately be a software download to your computer OR a secure login to a web based portal or platform. And there are options with some to integrate ‘offline’ data capture with players and other coaches online.
Offline – These are software based applications that are physically downloaded to your laptop as a license purchase.
Thumbs Up – Very powerful. Ability to create many tag/filter events including layers. Superior collection of data sets, with ability to plot patterns and trends across selected periods.
Thumbs Down – Very expensive, with many products costing several thousands of dollars for a license. All data is essentially kept offline (on laptop) unless a sharing workflow exists or is payed for as an extension.
On their own are rather ‘coach-centric’. More data capture capability than most amateur teams, coaches and players actually require to be effective.
Some examples are – Sportscode (Gamebreaker), NacSport, My TPA, Performa Sports, and LongoMatch (good free version btw)…
Online – These are secure web based platforms where no software downloads or licenses are required to conduct analysis for your team.
Thumbs Up – Affordable. Not requiring the purchase of licenses, but rather subscription based (annually) generally.
Are set up to be accessed from any device, from anywhere, anytime.
Some can integrate with offline analysis software to provide powerful frameworks for sharing information. Geared more towards ‘player-centric’ with online communication channels in real time.
Thumbs Down – Reliant on internet servers & quality of data plan. Generally less flexibility for creating event filters and level of data collection.
There is no need to have to commit purely based on conducting homework to decide on a particular platform or software.
Consider requesting a demonstration (can be done online) or a free trial period for you to personally try before you buy. This is a big decision, so don’t be shy in asking for this type of opportunity to test drive for yourself.
The good companies will also provide your people with ‘Onboarding’ & Technical support to ensure you are comfortable and in control, as well as supported in the event of difficulties that may arise.
But How Easy Is It Really, To Get Started?
1. Conduct your ‘due diligence’ including assessment of budget, then decide which company and platform is the best fit for your organisational needs. View it like a potential partnership and don’t forget quality of ‘onboarding ‘ and ongoing technical support.
2. Ensure you have someone that is able to film each game with a digital video camera. If you don’t have a dedicated person each week, consider a rotating roster or use injured players to contribute.
3. A desktop computer or laptop for tagging, coding and commenting. (A tablet or smart phone is enough for some technical type skill activities at practice).
4. Internet and wifi capabilities (for uploading and/or sharing coachable moments)
5. Secure the all important ‘Buy-In’ from your players and other coaches. Ensure that before you start that you explain why you will be doing this and that it is for the benefit of improving overall communication, skill level and performance.
Without the support and understanding of your committee (invoice payers!) and players (those that analysis will benefit most!), then there’d be not much point moving forward.
What if I’m Not Very Good With Technology?
Another consideration for you is the level of complexity each software/platform option has. You certainly DO NOT have to be gifted with technology to be able to do a great job with analysis.
Most offline systems are a little complex for those using for the first time and will take effort to explore and exploit all the features.
The good news is that support, courses and training is generally very good, but how much spare time do you have to get up to speed?
The most difficult decision appears to be whether you value the analysis process enough to get started.
In many circles the incorporation of an ‘objective’ review process and an engaging feedback cycle is providing tremendous results in skill development, decision making and overall team performance.
In some ways, you might go as far to say that providing analysis is a duty of care required of clubs to assist coaches in achieving the results that are expected of them.
We recommend that all coaches and committees consider the value that comes from improved player learning and effective use of coaching time.
Careful consideration of the above mentioned factors would allow your team to make a great decision based on your needs, budget and general requirements.
As coaches ourselves, we would always recommend regardless of skill level, not to overcomplicate how you review and feedback with your team.
Pro Tip – effective communication of key moments should be your first priority, and I would recommend basing your assessment and choice of platform off the back of that.
If you think then, that Sports Analysis is for your team (yes, you should!), but still have more questions…
Read this recent article where we discuss “How Long It Takes To Do Sports Video Analysis”