Buying Sports Performance Analysis Software

featured, Performance Analysis — By on

Which software should I buy?

Not that I actually add these up but this is one of the most popular questions I get asked via the site. While there is no doubt this question needs to be answered, at some stage, it’s never where I would start. If you are new to a job or building an analysis department from scratch you have to consider the whole picture not just 1 piece.

I came across a recent example of a club who spent close to €7,000 on software and computers and in order to video a game properly someone has to climb a tree!!

I have now lost count of the number of times I have seen teams blow almost there entire budget on the software they will use leaving them almost no room for basics such as staff & cameras. Frustrating isn’t the word!!

Factor in Everything

performance-analysis-model

You need to have a plan for how you are going to handle every stage of this process not just ‘what software should I buy’. Performance Analysis is (should be) about managing every stage of this process and I hate to break it to you, but if you are only concentrating on the software you are going to over-spend in one area and vastly underspend in others.

My Tips

prioritizePlan A – Set out a realistic plan of all the equipment you need & can afford to perform the job. This can be a 2 or 3 year project but what does ideal look like?

Budget – What is your budget today? In your 2-3 year plan how much do you think you will have to spend on equipment in total? Now you need to PRIORITIZE. If your training ground is in a public park you need to make some choices. Do I buy a step ladder and some great software? You will get mediocre footage at best but you will be able to analyse it like the pro’s (never mind that the footage barely gets above head height) or do you invest in getting some height (Video Tower, Scaffolding etc…) and a decent camera so you at least have better footage while you put up with cheap/freeware software for a year.

I can’t make that decision for you but I do to think you need to consider the options before you start.

money_tree

From Grass-roots to Elite

This process is exactly the same whether your starting off or at the top end of your sport. The only thing that changes is the size of your budget and the gravity of your decisions but make no mistake these all have to be accounted for once you decide to be an analyst.

Training

At grass-roots level it is likely that a mixture of some cheap apps, decent software and some free tools will allow you do almost everything in this process but don’t leave out the cost of training. It is all well and good if you have the time to spend hour after hour learning these tools yourself but a few hundred euro spent in the right place can save you endless hours scratching your head. It is the most neglected area in the process. I’m not just talking about software training either – vendor specific training is great and justified but what about everything else – how are you going to learn them?

Tags: , ,
  • Carl Cunningham

    Good article, plain and exactly what people need to assess.

    Unfortunately at club level some people and clubs will still be more willing to pay for a product, an opta/prozone etc (with no disrespect to either), than actually consider the staff needed to utilise these programs and fulfill their potential.

    People just need to think logically, we all want the best we can get, but is it feasible and sustainable.

    • Rob Carroll

      Thanks Carl.

  • Aideen Howlin

    The circular diagram is a great graphical plan of action for Performance Analysis. I believe many people, from grass roots to elite, can get side tracked by the prospects of what software can do in a general context and not in specific regard to their own club, team, coaching needs etc. I agree that training is a huge part of the investment that needs to be considered both in time and financial terms.

    • Rob Carroll

      Thanks Aideen,

      Highlights most of the things people should think about before buying any analysis equipment.

  • Derek Hufton

    One thing I would add to your excellent summary is to consider your data! As a provider of Analytical Software (Chelsea FC, England Rugby League), I frequently come across this issue when talking to Performance and Sports Science professional. “We love the software but don’t have the right data/the data’s in the wrong place/data quality is poor, etc….” It is a classic chicken-egg situation. Which should you address first – sort your data or bring the software on-board so you can at least get some value NOW from the data you do have. I would argue the latter. Also, the ability to connect and analyse data across different data silos is paramount. The ability to connect performance data with training data with medical data …. etc ….. can reveal crucial hidden insights. I could go on, but the message is – make sure Data is part of the overall plan.

    • Rob Carroll

      Hi Derek,

      Agree with all your points – probably a different blog topic covering the data processing side of things but it is a big problem for a lot of clubs.