By Enrico Caballero
30-July-2019 on Interviews8 minute read
In our latest spotlight on the analyst we speak with Head Coach of the Spanish Men's Hockey team, Fred Soyez, whose first experience of Nacsport was when he left his old job with the French national team, to cross the Pyrennes and take up his new position.
How did you discover Nacsport and when did you start using it? Have you worked with other software before?
In 2014, when I started working for the Spanish Hockey Federation it was their chosen analytical software. Before that I’d been working with Sportscode for four years at the French Federation.
What sections of the national team use Nacsport?
We have 4 teams working with Nacsport - Starting with the under-16s and going up to the full adult squad.
Approximately how many games do you usually analyze per week?
It’s hard to put a weekly number on it, but between 120 and 150 games per year, including upcoming opponents.
How do you use Nacsport? What would a typical analysis include?
We analyse every game we play from our own perspective and that of the opposing team. Then we’ll present a pre-match report on our opponents before every game
How many people do you work with?
In the men’s first team there are 5 of us working with Nacsport.
Do you focus your analysis on any particular areas of a match? If so, which ones? Do you look at upcoming games?
We always report to the players on our upcoming competition, while different members of my team will also focus on particular areas of squad structure - for example defence and attack.
My assistant, Ramón Sala, always focuses on ball possession.
But at the end of the day we all work together. Nacsport is a very important tool for all of us and one that we use before every competitive game.
Do you reach your analytical goals? What would help you be more effective and what frustrates you most about your work?
As coaches we spend a lot of time using Nacsport - that’s the easy part. What is more difficult is to convert that work into meaningful feedback for the team.
We try to be as professional as possible, to regularly meet with players, introduce them to different systems and concepts and generally keep them well-informed.
But sometimes we just don’t have the time to share all the information we want to and that can be frustrating.
How do players respond when you show them your analysis? Do they buy into your plans?
I think they respond very well.
As I mentioned, time is always an issue, so we try not to hold very long meetings and I think that’s also a good because the players don’t get bored.
Our squad is very used to working with Nacsport now - it’s part of our routine. So there’s always something Nacsport-related, in every meeting we hold. We’ll always include a short section on video analysis.
Do you use other tools in your analysis or presentations?
Yes, we use KlipDraw more than anything else. Again, we’ve been using it for a while and find it perfectly compliments Nacsport - adding an extra element to our analytical work.
We have also been testing the Sharimg platform, sharing our reports with the players when we’re not together as a group. So far it looks like it could be a valuable addition for the future.
How do you see the development of analysis in hockey?
It’s already a very important part of the game. We spend a lot of time looking at both our own games and those of upcoming rivals, as well as analysing our own training sessions.
Effective analysis is equally important to our coaching work, physical training and mental preparation.
And video has been used in hockey for many years so today it’s seen as vital if you want to compete at the highest levels.
If you could add one new tool or feature to Nacsport, what would it be?
Well, considering that we already do not have enough time to use all the features Nacsport has, I’d have to say I’m very satisfied with it as is.
It’s a very complete solution for us to achieve the best performance possible from the team. What we really lack is the time and human resources to use Nacsport more effectively. Maybe that question is better answered by an analyst than a coach.
Have you had help from Nacsport support team? How was that?
Absolutely, yes. Whenever we’ve had a need to speak with them, the support team have been fantastic. They do a great job.
And every year we try to meet with their sales team to discuss new updates and get tips on making the most of them.
I think that in other sports coaches tend to stay away from the analytical department, but we’re much more involved in the process, so I like to stay informed of any changes myself.
Do you think that collaboration is something that will continue? Or do you think coaches will increasingly expect analysts to work alone and simply deliver their finished reports?
Like everything, it will evolve.
We give our analysts enough freedom to work as they see fit. But we would like at least one more member of staff - to focus on specific areas of our play or on individual players.
We work with 27-28 players every year. If we could add just one more member to our analytical staff I think we could serve all of them better.
In the future the role of analysts will surely become more complex - so it’s important that everybody knows what their responsibilities are. With the next Olympic cycle, we will have one analyst totally devoted to creating preparatory reports on all the teams, analysing their playing style.
This data will be used in our pre-tournament meetups and will hopefully save us time later on.
Is it difficult to convince teams at club level, of the importance of investing in technological and analytical resources?
I think everyone in the game knows the importance of good video analysis software.
All we can do is talk about the support and help Nacsport gives us. Every year we invest in more licenses and equipment, so that our own coaches can work more effectively.
Where do you think performance analysis is going?
I really like the idea of working personally with individual athletes. But I’m also a fan of working collectively to improve at a group or team level.
I think future advances really depend on the sport in question, but the methods we’re developing here are good. My ultimate goal is first to get more data from the software and then to use that in our bid to win an Olympic medal.
What are the differences between the methodology of an analyst compared to someone like yourself, who’s more involved with the coaching side of sport.
That depends on the profile of the analyst as much as anything. At the federation, we try to recruit technical analysts who will fit into the team, because we’re very much a group.
That means our analysts have to think like us, be happy to work collectively and not just send me their reports. It’s understood by everyone at the federation that we have a lot of work to do.But also that we have the perfect tool to do it with.
So for us, we need technically-minded analysts who can work as part of a group and buy in to our training and performance methods.