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BLOG 6 COACHES CORNER: Should video analysis be a scary prospect or embraced by a coach?
As we get into the business end of the rugby season, things start to heat up, with every interested party striving to ensure they finish the season on a high. Some clubs are close to achieving their dreams of promotion and cup wins whilst others are concentrating on getting those vital points which may see them out of the relegation zone. Whatever end of the spectrum a club finds itself, the age old question is how do we maximise the opportunities to achieve these much needed results?
Step in the science of Performance Analysis… This is the art of quantifying data by recording game variables and over a period of time and determining trends and performance profiles of athletes and teams. This is a nice fancy way of saying “videoing games or training and playing it back to relive the errors or good performances that occurred on match days”.
Why is this important you say? Well research has found that coaches can only retain a certain amount of relevant information (around 40-60%) about the previous fixture and some of that information is based around incidents that happen in a match. If you are not too convinced do this simple test, what do you remember most about the England Vs Germany world cup game in 2010?
Did most of you think of the disallowed goal that should have been allowed? Well if that is what you still think of imagine what would you would have been like at the time? Nerves were frayed, anger was overwhelming and everyone was in disbelief. Now what happened in the 2 minutes after the incident? Was there a good display of passing? Did a player make good challenges and dispossess the opponents? Well we may not have noticed as we still are contemplating how that linesman couldn’t see the ball 2 feet over the line. This can happen in all sports and within all levels and where players are selected or deselected on their performances they want a coach to be able to give them honest and factual feedback. This is where the analyst comes in… He/she separates themselves away from the emotions of the game and documents everything that happens which can then be played back post-event.
Now I know that everyone thinks a performance analyst looks
However contrary to your beliefs, we do not all look like this but
In fact anyone can be an analyst as long as you know what
1) You are looking for and 2) you can video a sporting event.
This is not a new fad in sport, even when I was back in school around 1996-1998 we used video analysis to highlight strengths and weaknesses and frequently ate lunch in the sports hall while watching the video. The only thing that has changed now is that there is computerised software now that can collect information at the touch of a button and can “trim” out the useless information allowing you to condense a 80 minute game into 3mins depending on what you are looking for. For example, imagine you as a coach want to see the tries that were scored against you but one was in the 16th minute and the other the 78th minute. By just watching a video/DVD you would have to fast forward through the game to get to the 78th minute… however with computerised analysis software the two tries are extracted from the game so they can play one after the other.
This ease of extraction does however come at a price and the packages can be seen as quite expensive to some clubs and coaches. However, what is the price of winning a league or winning a cup to a club or coach? An analysis package may well be expensive in the short term but could reap huge benefits in the future, purely on the premise that you own the software and it aids in identifying the weaknesses and strengths of players and units (forwards or backs) and that will lead to improved performances over time. There are also businesses out there which will do the analysis for you and provide you with the full game, areas of concern or any other aspect that you as a coach may want. It is vital to remember that analysts are there to support you as a coach and not tell you how to coach.
So should a coach be wary of getting performance analysis done for his/her team? I will admit when I first came across the process I thought it would show my weaknesses as a coach but I soon discovered that using the information in the right way made my coaching sessions more focussed and relevant to the players and the team. Video analysis is now performed in any team that I am involved in now and the players who ask for individual analysis all believe it aids in their own development.
It is true that players and coaches can fear what the video may bring but if the information is conveyed through the team in the right manner, which is one of trust and positive/constructive feedback then the benefits of the analysis is enormous. However use the information to single out players and include it as a fuel for negative feedback then the players will not get any benefit out of it and may indeed drop their levels of performance even more.
So the question of the article was do we embrace the process of video analysis or should we be scared of it? It is obviously down to the specific individual but I hope this can aid you in taking your first step on the path of embracing it.