Investing in video analysis software can be a big decision and there are a couple of things you need to consider carefully before making that leap.
It is important to understand the reason for getting video analysis software. I am not talking about whether it has any benefit or not (I am hoping, if you have read through this site you have decided it is), more so what information do you want to get out of a system. These can roughly be broken into 3 main areas;
- Team Analysis
- Biomechanical/Skill Analysis
- Fitness Data
It might well be the case that you are looking to cover only one of these or perhaps all 3. If you are clear about the reason for buying a system you will be much more direct and focused in your research. In my experience you will find a lot of manufacturers who will cover 1 & 2 in the same software but very few who can do all 3 very well.
Who will do the analysis for your team. A common question I often get asked is how difficult is software to operate and surely you need a degree to do it. In reality that is far from the case. Most softwares (not all) are fairly intuitive, as long as you are willing to give it a bit of time you will pick up most of the key aspects to it. That said however, I can not recommend highly enough getting some professional training done at the start, this will save you countless hours in the long run.
One important thing to consider, especially if you are the head coach, is that although you might be well able to do it – do you really have the time? Some coaches want to do everything for themselves, but as all you analysts out there know, video analysis can take hours and as a head coach you have to consider if that is the best use of your time or if you would be better employing somebody to do the bulk of the work and the you apply your expertise at the end.
Which software to choose? I am not going to recommend any particular brand here, there are many many manufacturers around the world and a simple Google search will find most of them. What I will do is point out some key things you need to look out for when speaking to any of these companies.
Different Versions under the same name;
All of the major manufacturers have many different models under the same company name. This can catch some people out. When you see mentioned on a website that ‘Super Duper FC use our software’ make sure the company are crystal clear that you are buying the same one, or if not that at least you are aware of it and what the differences are. Although these cars above are made by the same people and have the same technology behind them – they are clearly different cars.
There is a saying that ‘if you buy cheap – you will buy twice’. Nobody wants to spend more than they should but it is important to keep this statement in mind when looking at different models. Don’t just look at meeting your needs for today, think a little into the future about what you might require in 6 months or a year down the road.
To use the car analogy again; when you buy your first car, anything will do, as long as it has four wheels and engine you can put up with anything. But as you begin to drive you realize that power steering, central locking, electric windows and a stereo are all integral. Be sure to ask questions of the companies like ‘In a years time, if I wanted to progress what I do, how will the software help?’
As a rough guide you can spend anything from a few hundred up to a few thousand £/$ on a system.
This is really a question of MAC v PC. This debate has and will be raged for along time, and I think its best to leave it to the fanatics on both sides to have very strong opinions on this subject. What I will say is that there should be a compelling reason for you to change what you currently use. Most companies will develop for single platform, unless you can find a good enough reason I think you should be buying software to use on what you are used to. These can be a lot to learn without having to learn a new operating system.
One word of caution here; check the manufacturers history of updating their software when new versions of an operating system come out. For example when windows Vista came out did the companies immediately release an updated version. You don’t want to have to use an old operating system forever.
- Know why you are buying software – this will focus your mind and ask the right questions.
- Think about who is going to do the analysis – maybe they should be involved in researching the system.
- Be careful of the different models, make sure you know exactly what you are getting.
- Price – the cheapest isn’t necessarily the best. Think a little further ahead.
- The software should integrate into your current analysis/technical know-how, not the other way around.
- Support, support, support; when you have a deadline to reach you will be grateful of any support you can get.