I was reading the Sunday papers last week and I came across the following article: “Why Davy ignored interval stat attack on Tipp is a fact that doesn’t figure”
It refers to a Hurling manager who seemed to ignore the advice of his analysis team. In a strange move the analyst has gone to the papers with the story! For those who don’t know, Hurling like Gaelic Football is an ‘amateur’ sport. All of the players and many of the back-room teams devote huge amounts of time and energy for little more than the honor of representing their County of birth.
Here is a snippet of what the analyst said in the article; “…..against Tipperary our live statistics identified key problem areas with certain players at a very early stage of the game. However, on this occasion the normal system of relaying this information was dispensed with by Davy Fitzgerald and his selectors. Furthermore, when presented with the half-time printout, Davy put it in his back pocket and never looked at it.”
The article got me thinking about the effect analysing a game live can really have or is it just for show. Far from having all the answers myself I decided to post my question on Facebook and see what people thought.
It started a good debate and I got some great feedback. I will first paraphrase a very important point made by Patrick van der Meer; Don’t blame the idea just because the implementation is wrong. For example; the idea of analysing video or taking statistics live comes from the same thought process as watching the game – you are trying to view the game, make decisions that hopefully effect the outcome.
I also got the thoughts of an experienced AFL coach Mark Upton who suggested that in AFL the numbers were more important than the video. Looking at the KPI’s in-game they could tell if their game plan was being implemented on the pitch. However he certainly didn’t rule out using the video as a means of playback to players between quarters.
Only certian sports?
This was another point that came up on Facebook. Does live analysis, specifically in term of live video review, lend itself differently to particular sports. There is no definitive answer on this, there are so many factor to consider but in my opinion I think there are sports where the impact of live video analysis would be of more benefit than others. Primarily I think in terms of sports where set-pieces are frequent and play a large part in the outcome of the game. As was said on Facebook
Let me be clear I think collecting data on matches is vital. As has been proven over and over again coaches simply can’t remember with enough accuracy what goes on during a game. Regardless of the method of collection, computer, handheld or simple notation analysis using Pen & Paper I believe you should be collecting information. After that it is about deciding what information can effect the performance and how you will feed that back to the management team.
But I’m still unsure of the power of live video especially in open free flowing games like Football and AFL. Is there really enough time between halves or quarters to show video that will impact performance? Sports such as Rugby & Hockey lend themselves to live video analysis because of the importance and frequency of Set-Plays. In both these sports, set-plays occur with enough frequency to see a pattern emerge.
Above all I think there are so many different circumstances that you can’t give a blanket answer. Ultimately it will come down the coaching and players to dictate it’s usefullness. The important thing from an Analysts perspective is to build a system of collecting data or video that is robust, accurate and meaningful to the coaches.
All thoughts welcome on this.