As this industry was beginning to look like my career, I decided to go about getting a qualification in the area. The only course I could find that offers any qualification (in academia or outside of it) is the MSc in UWIC University in Cardiff.
I am based in Ireland but at the time (I don’t think you can do it anymore) they offered a blended learning option, where every semester I would have to go to Cardiff but the bulk of my work could be done from Ireland. This suited me fine and I enrolled. I am coming towards the end of that study and though it is tough to study away from lecturers and peers it has been worth it and I will be delighted to have the qualification.
My real concern is that UWIC only accepts a limited number of students per year. Yes there are uni’s that offer performance analysis modules as part of courses etc… But, there is no qualification available to those outside the academic world.
I think there is a real need for a Performance Analysis qualification to exist outside of academia. Other disciplines have done it. For example if I am a strength and conditioning coach there are various associations like the NSCA who offer coaches the chance to become experts in their field and get accredited without having to study on a degree or Masters course.
There are many advantages to having a body outside of academia run and organise formal qualifications. One of the big things I have found is that while the MSc is of great use and has thought me loads, it is quite far removed from the day-to-day activities of a Performance Analyst. I think a governing body of performance analysis would allow for more of the practical aspects of the discipline to be thought and in the long run raise the standards of the practitioners who consider themselves experts.
There is an organisation who has attempted to bridge that gap. ISPAS offer an accreditation pathway; unfortunately I don’t think they have strayed far enough away from the academic world. There are 7 levels to their qualification but level 3 expects you to have a degree and level 4 you need a masters. I certainly think the idea of having a qualification pathway is a good one but why have it so tightly aligned to the academic world?
I often get told horror stories about what coaches and analysts put some players through in order to get their point across, ultimately this damages everyone involved in the discipline. If analysts and managers are untrained in this area players will regard video sessions as nothing more than a chance for the manager to have a go or for the players to switch off for a half hour. Trained correctly the industry can surely raise its standards – become better at the work they do and ultimately make themselves more valuable to an organisation.
Over the last number of months I have noticed an increasing trend in national governing bodies including some element of video/match analysis on their coach education courses. This is a step in the right direction but I think it is important for the discipline to take charge of itself and not rely on an ad-hoc method of education.
The main objectives this body should have are;
- Develop a clear training pathway from beginner to advanced.
- Get the qualification internationally recognised (or at least accepted).
- Have a clear development pathway for both team sports and individual sports.
- Continually aim to up skill and inform analyst in how they can perform their job better.
Those are my two cents on the idea.
Would love to hear your thoughts, suggestions and criticisms.