Getting started with Performance Analysis
It's clear that many clubs are beginning to embrace aspects of performance analysis (PA). Match video and statistics are now becoming a standard part of coaching programs at club level.
Players now have an expectation that there will be match video available so that they can see for themselves what's happening during matches. Clubs too are starting to understand the importance of collecting match video for historical and promotional purposes.
While PA is getting easier to do, it can still be tricky to get started - especially if you haven't been exposed to those concepts through high-performance programs.
Having said that, here are some simple things you can do to get on your way.
Don’t bite off more than you can chew!
There are 2 major parts to doing PA - video and data. They both require different skills and need effort.
Providing insights from data is a good objective measure and can be very useful to back up hunches that you might have about your performance. E.g. are you really struggling to get into your attacking circle? Capturing data is referred to as 'coding' and there is a range of ways to do that. Check out this article to learn more about coding.
Video is ver effective because it allows players and coaches to see exactly how things played out with their own eyes. However, video requires effort to capture and can be tricky share. We'll drill into those points shortly.
Ideally, you will have both data and video, but you don’t need both. For example, when you are getting started with PA at your club, maybe your year 1 goal is simply to make the match video available for players to watch on a weekly basis. This is often a sensible way to start as you can then look expand into using both video and data in the second year.
When you have both video and data, you can put together insightful analysis sessions such as those that we see in televised, professional sporting matches such as cricket:
I can’t emphasize this point enough... find people who can help! Coaching is a people business and you want your time and energy focussed on supporting your players, not wrestling with technology. Here are the 3 roles you need to find support for:
- Camera operator
- We've paid juniors to video games. You will need to provide guidance so that your camera operator knows how to do things such as - working with the camera, knowing when the battery needs replacing or charging, packing and unpacking the tripod. See if your team manager can take care of organizing the rostering of this person and the management of your PA equipment.
- Coding match data
- Is there a parent or other regular who can capture the match data for you?
- Working with digital media
- And then there are the necessary technology skills? Getting video off of the camera, compressing and uploading it can take hours. Identify an enthusiastic, technology savvy person to help out here if you are planning to have video as part of your program.
Understand how to work with video
Digital media is a complex area. It comes in a range of formats and settings that impact size and quality.
Most cameras these days will capture high-definition video that produces very large files. Capturing a 70-minute match at 4K quality might produce a total file size around 4GB. Often the camera will limit individual file size to around 2GB - this means filming a single match may result in multiple files.
Most consumption of video is done at a much lower resolution than 4K, so if you are capturing at 4K, you need a way to compress and consolidate the captured files into a single, smaller sized file. This makes it much easier and quicker to upload it to the internet and saves space and time when copying files around locally.
You also need to store your match video. I store video on portable hard-drives and I also upload a copy to my Dropbox storage account in the cloud.
Storing video in the cloud costs a bit more and takes a bit more time initially, but it means you can share it with your team by simply sending a link to your team's communication group.
In my experience, having video only stored locally makes it very difficult to find time and ways to share it effectively with your team.
Selecting PA software
There is a wide range of options and costs associated with PA software. Here are the major points to evaluate when purchasing a PA software subscription:
- What is the total cost per year?
- Most PA software is sold on an annual, per-user subscription. Some software vendors require you to purchase multiple products - for example, they may sell the mobile, desktop, and web versions of their software separately.
- How many people can access the software?
- This is another point on subscriptions. Some vendors sell their desktop and mobile software as per-user, per-year licenses. If this is the case, you will need to have access to the physical computer that is licensed to watch coded match footage.
- Does it allow you to share coded footage over the internet?
- If not, how will you share coded match footage with the rest of your team?
- Can you present coded footage without needing an internet connection?
- Recommended when presenting to teams in changerooms where internet connections are flakey at best!
- What operating systems does it run on?
- Some PA software only runs on Mac OS. Also think about mobile systems your PA software can run on.
Know the costs
This will be somewhat dependent how you plan to capture match video and data, but the table below shows example costs when using Matchlib.com with a minimal equipment configuration.
|Good quality tripod and a 1080p video camera. You can get a cheap tripod for under $50 but they are too flimsy and unstable for filming sport. A good, solid tripod is a sound investment.||$600|
|Storage (1TB portable hard drive + monthly Dropbox storage account)||$250 per annum|
|iPad for coding (or you could use a mobile phone)||$450 or free if using a mobile phone|
|Filmora video editor - video editing software||$40 per annum|
|Matchlib subscription||$8 per month|
Knowing that the process takes time
An end-to-end PA process starts at the beginning of the game and finishes when you are ready to do analysis and share with your team.
Expect to spend the duration of the game capturing video and coding match events (see: Get Support). Then there is the time it takes to move the video around, compress it, and upload it to the web.
Here is a brief overview of the times for a typical match turnaround.
|Capture video and code match events in Matchlib||90 minutes||Record using the video camera and Matchlib coding tool during the match|
|Copy video to PC||10 minutes||Copy the 2 x 2.4GB match files from the camera to your computer|
|Combine files / compress||90 minutes||Use Filmora video editor with appropriate compression settings - e.g. MPEG-4 encoder, Good Quality pre-sets - to combine and compress the video files.|
|Upload video file to Dropbox||30 minutes||Upload the compressed 1GB file to your Dropbox storage account over NBN quality broadband|
|Update Matchlib game with video||10 minutes||Attach a link for the match in Matchlib to the Dropbox video you uploaded.|
This article has covered the main areas you need to consider when adopting performance analysis as part of your club's coaching program.
Future articles will provide a more technical dive into each of these areas to provide a deeper understanding that will allow you to fully embrace and optimize your club's PA experience.