Performance Analysis - Now more important than ever

Thu, Oct 05 2017

The Irish analysis team in full swing Credit: Pete Kelly (ETPhotos)

There is an old saying, the more things change the more they stay the same! Some years ago I had the privilege to pen a series of articles for www.extratime.ie on Performance Analysis at all level of the game.


Looking at the Elite game I opened with “Almost all of the world’s leading clubs and International teams use video analysis as an integral part of the match day preparation. It has become one of those ‘under the radar’ activities that underpin everything the spectators see on the field of play”.


Essentially that has not changed today, but, as with all high tech solutions; the devices are smaller, the response times are faster and the ability to abstract concise useable information from myriad data is paramount.


Looking at Ireland’s international squad as they enter a defining week; the Martin O’Neill era is with us, some emerging talent is populating the Irish squad and Gerard Dunne is now the chief performance analyst with the FAI.


This week, typically, Ger Dunne and his team will have extensive research carried out on Moldova & Wales to include all aspects of their play. Additionally all aspect of Ireland’s recent performance will have been analysed and the relevant information made available to Martin, Roy and the coaches. The salient point here is that the role of the analyst is providing factual information so that objective decisions can be made.


In addition to the pre-game and post game analysis the technology has advance to the stage where the analysis team will have at least two people ‘coding live’ during the game on iPads which can provide the management team with a clear concise synopsis at the half time break allowing informed tactical decisions to me made.


Typical live coding screen – allows key statistical and tactical input at half times.


Aspiring to World Cup qualification, aspiring to ‘best in class’ practices and aspiring to continuous improvement requires high quality partnerships. The boys at Avenir Sports have long been The Football Association of Ireland’s performance solutions partners. They lend their expertise to the Coach Education community – a more extensive piece on the use of performance analysis in player development at Grassroots level is coming soon!


Additionally the practice pitches at Abbotstown have now equipped with cameras, under Avenir’s guidance, linked to a central system to enable game preparation sessions to be recorded, archive and disseminated as required. 


They support Ger Dunne’s analysis team with the national squad with the technology training and back up – they are the experts on Sportscode and Hudl which are the pre-eminent products used worldwide in performance analysis, using video footage.


Ten years ago the role of performance analysis was virtually unheard of, even at elite level and at grass roots level a thing of science fiction. However now it is an accepted practice and seen as a vital cog in the coaching and management wheel – not just in soccer but in all major field sports also. Its development is being nurtured and speeded on its way by professionals like Avenir Sports, analysts like Ger Dunne and coach education professionals are embedding the discipline at all levels.


All these elements combined can provide the players with every help they need to realise ‘all our dreams’ this week.