The hockey analyst using Nacsport to teach valuable life skills to younger players

By Enrico Caballero

06-September-2019 on Users

10 minute read

Cartouche Hockey club in Holland is a professional setup, with men's and women's teams playing in the country’s regional league system, that retains a strong link with local communities, in it’s hometown of Leidschendam close to The Hague.


That connection also means team analyst Mees Soek splits hid time between the senior women’s team and the club’s various youth programs, where he uses Nacsport to empower young players and - hopefully - teach valuable life lessons through analytical thought.


We wanted to find out more and decided to ask Mees a few questions;

When and how did you discover / begin using Nacsport? Were you using any kind of

software before?

In 2014 I began doing video analysis, using programs like Apple’s iMovie and the free version of LongoMatch.


Then in 2015 Carlo Daniels from Nacsport gave a presentation to our hockey club, that was the moment I started using NacSport.


What layers of the club are using Nacsport? 

Both the women’s first team and the youth department use Nacsport. With the youth squads more experienced coaches work with the less experienced ones, showing them how to use the software. In the youth department we have 12 teams who have access to Nacsport.


Each week at least 4 of those teams will use Nacsport in a competitive situation. All the coaches and players have full access to our analysis - and often so do parents.


Our goals for what happens with these reports differ between teams. Younger teams like the U12’s use it more for technical feedback and to develop decision-making skills. We try to teach the youth team coaches to use video analysis through self-regulation. 


That may come in the form of playing them short clips and asking players what they can see, then leaving them to come up with their own ideas from that.


With the women’s teams we’re much more focused on winning games - so our analysis tends to go a lot deeper. We go much deeper into aspects like accuracy, opponent strengths and weaknesses, player efficiency and more.

On average, how many games do you analyse every week?

Personally, around two games a week.

What does a ’typical’ analysis involve for you?

Again, it depends on which team the analysis is for. 


But the essential goal never changes, generate statistics and data to show us where we need to improve and how we are progressing. 


We tend to work on different specific themes each week. So we also try to generate feedback on those areas at the same time if we can - For example, baseline plays, 1v1s or defending our own ‘D’.

Do you work in real-time during games? If so what kind of information are you sharing and have you seen any benefits?

The women’s first team uses Nacsport Coach Station to receive our analysis during games.


We share statistics about things like penalty corners, circle entries, 25-yard entries, shot accuracy etc. 


Coaches also have an open phone line to speak with us during the game - they may ask for specific information on recurring situations within the game.


Using Coach Station the players can watch and review clips - especially useful for penalty corner reviews or to identify where opportunities could come from.

How many people do you work with as part of your analytical team and who do you

report to?

For our women’s senior team we have three people working on video analysis. 


I’ll do the coding in real-time during a game, then the Head Coach will decide which clips he wants to share with the team and upload them to Sharimg. His assistant will also upload analysis of our next opponent, so the players have full access to 2 reports.


How is your work used? Do coaches and team managers use your presentations?

The head and assistant coach used to upload clips from my analysis to the Sharimg platform, but tend to use the new matrix function now. 


On Wednesday they hold a video session with the team to discuss their own subjects. On Sunday there is a quick review of what they discussed throughout the week.


For the youth department we do something different;


We send videos to the team, then discuss it on the field. And on matchday we ask a few players to give a little presentation using the videos they received - about their thoughts on the subject. We’re trying to improve decision making - and self-regulation skills in young people.

Do you focus on any particular areas of a game to analyse? Do you also look at opposing teams?

In our youth department, we made a standard template using Nacsport Tag&Go. 


We want all the coaches to speak the same language and tackle the same subjects, so for this we made a special DNA which we transferred to the Nacsport templates. 


The template focuses on four phases: possession, possession of our opponent, turnover ball losses and turnover regains. In each phase we highlight a few subjects which we think are important for that particular age group. 


Of course, we also want some statistics about goals, penalty corners and circle entries.


How do you think the team benefits from your work? Are there long-term gains for the club?

On the women’s first team we want to explore all the possibilities there are. At this level tiny details can make all the difference between winning and losing. 


If a short video, shown during the game can help to improve one aspect of our play, that can make a difference.


 For the youth department, Nacsport has been extremely helpful.


Children are very visually orientated, so video feedback is easy for them to absorb, and it is a very good way to train people in decision making and self-regulation.

Are you achieving your analytical goals? What would help you be more effective or what frustrates you about your work?

When I started with video analysis, I was struggling with storage. I run windows on a MacBook using Bootcamp. That split my hard drive in two parts. After a year I thought that buying an external hard drive would help and it did. 


One thing that did frustrate me was the number of different video formats parents used to send me. To fix that we bought a video camera which every team has access to. This way we always get the right format and size - No more 64gb GoPro files...

Do you use any other tools in your analysis or presentations? (KlipDraw, Tag&view, Sharimg)

To reinforce some concepts across all our teams we use KlipDraw to animate the videos we share on Sharimg - for the women’s first team - or WhatsApp for the youth department.

How do you see the role of analyst developing in your sport?

Sports analysis is becoming more and more commonplace. 

By beginning with younger players we help then build an idea of how to use the technology, what to look for and how to pull out the information that’s relevant to them, 


Often they seek out specific feedback to improve their own games.


The roles of analyst and coach are changing. In the past it was very one way - we told players what to do, without considering their opinion. Now it’s more of a two-way process. Players can express an opinion and experience through trial and error in games or training sessions.


For us at Cartouche at least, analysis is becoming an educational experience. With the younger ones, it really doesn’t matter whether they win or lose - either in competitive matches or training. Failure is part of learning, so is improving and doing things well. We can use our analysis to develop these concepts.

If you could add one new feature to Nacsport, what would it be?

I would love to see video analysis better combined with other forms of data such as positioning data (by either visual observation or GPS / LPM data) and heart rate. 


Including a comparative analysis of say heart rate, during a match and seeing how that corresponded to other factors would be interesting. An opportunity to make even deeper analysis to discover new and interesting patterns.

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