January 14, 2016

The 'What' of Sports Performance Analysis

Written by:
James Molyneux

The 'What' of Sports Performance Analysis

What effect do you want your analysis to have?

Now you know why you want to do analysis, the ‘what’ should be rather easy. If you’re using it to improve player learning, you need to portray your analysis in a way which helps promote learning.

Video is very powerful and combined with stats can be incredibly useful to portray a performance. In my first blog I mentioned roughly analysis can be divided into data collection and data feedback. This is ultimately the data feedback side of things.

We have all been in hundreds of presentations, be them academic, business or sport related. One thing in common is you’re sure to have encountered presentations that have captivated you, and those that have sent you to sleep.

So how do you avoid the latter and plan for the former?

Paralysis by analysis is often a term over used, I understand it as, too much of the same delivery or information will kill your concentration. Think about how you deliver your statistics. A vital aspect of performance analysis is to deliver information effectively. Data visualisation is key; a picture does really tell a thousand words. I’m not going to tell how to do this, just urge you to think outside the box, the answer doesn’t always lie in bar graphs and pie charts! Often it’s easy to attach your message to something non sport related, a real sticking point for your audience to remember. One example that springs to mind is a coach I used to work with showing a picture of a model’s legs. The tag line was ‘eyes on the thighs’. The real message was around leg chopping and even now that simple phrase brings back the points of that meeting.

Context is everything, adding that extra layer of detail without other complicating things. Stories can help in this regard, our brains like narrative, but key to any good story is that it has to have a start, middle and end. Make sure your presentations incorporate this.

This is only my opinion and there is no perfect way to do this. I think It’s more about knowing the group you’re working with and what they are receptive to. As Albert Einstein once quoted, “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. It might just be time to embrace change.

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