Analyst Spotlight - Javier Vilaplana

By Enrico Caballero

04-October-2019 on Users

5 minute read

With a national league and basketball SuperCopa already under their belts, last year’s EuroCup champions - Valencia Basket - have to be one of 2019’s hot tips for the EuroLeague.


On the eve of their opening match in one of basketball’s most competitive tournaments, where they’ll meet the best clubs on the continent, we managed to grab a few minutes with Valencia Basket’s assistant coach - and avid Nacsport user - Javier Vilaplana...

How did you discover Nacsport? And when did you begin using it? 

I discovered NacSport when I started as an assistant with the junior teams at Valencia. But it wasn't until I joined the 1st team that I actually began using it.


What parts of the club structure currently use Nacsport?

Just the first team at this time.


Approximately how many games do you usually analyze per week?

During the season I’ll tag as many as 10 games a week.



How do you use Nacsport? What does a ’typical’ analysis involve for you?

For our opponents, we’ll do our best to dissect their entire approach - identifying their strengths and weaknesses. We export all the data we have into Excel, process the data and create a statistical report on the team.


We basically run 2 levels of report on each game. The first contains clips from our original analysis, which we share with the head coach and a second report that’s a little more advanced, featuring metrics we believe are important, that we can refer to in the run-up to a match.


Do you work in real-time during matches? 

Not at the moment, but we’re seriously considering it and I see it as a natural next step in our work.


How many people do you work with - as part of your analytical team and who do you report to?

We’re a team of 3 assistant coaches. It’s my job to generate the analysis on a day to day basis. I then discuss this with my colleagues and we decide what information needs to be passed on to the players.


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

A lot of our preparation for upcoming games is based on reports generated with Nacsport. Everyone has access to my work and much of our preparation comes from that.



Do you focus on any particular areas of a game to analyse? And if so, which ones? Do you also look at opposing teams?

I tag every moment of each game we play. For me, everything that happens has some significance. 


This is really important for our post-match debriefing - although obviously, not every detail is passed on to the team.


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

With the analysis we perform, we try to be as scientific and objective as possible. We only pass on data we can evidence with video proof.


Do you reach your analytical goals? What would help you be more effective or what frustrates you most about your work?

I think that in our way of working we have become very effective. But we are always looking for new ways to analyse a game and to become more efficient.



How do players and coaches value your analytical work?

Video does not lie. What you see is what has actually happened.

That makes it the best possible medium to help a player - or a team - grow and improve.

Video helps us clarify our observations, develop new concepts and correct our faults. Ultimately it’s the best way to plan for an upcoming match. 


Both the coach and the players fully understand that.


Do you use any other tools in your analysis or presentations? 

Yes. Sharimg, KlipDraw, InStat and Scouting4U


How do you see the role of analyst developing in basketball?

It’s absolutely fundamental to growing as a team. Take the NBA for example - there you will see teams of analysts supporting every club and that is how it will become everywhere before long.


Analysts are a vital bridge between data and live play. I often refer to my team as ‘laboratory coaches’ and before long I think every club will copy the American model - and employ several specialist analysts.


It’s a matter of changing the culture...

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