16-April-2019 on Users3 minute read
Ever wanted to know how sport’s top analysts use tools like Nacsport to improve team performance and get more from their players? In the first of what we hope will be an ongoing series of revealing interviews, we speak with Alex Sosa, First Team Analyst at Real Zaragoza, about how his skills have shaped his career and what he sees as the future of the analytics in soccer...
How long have you been an analyst and when did you begin using Nacsport?
I’ve been involved with analytics for more than 4 years and a user of Nacsport the entire time.
How did you discover Nacsport?
I was responsible for producing videos on our upcoming opponents, identifying a team’s strengths and weaknesses. I was using iMovie but found it too slow for what I needed and obviously it has very limited analytical facility, so I was having to do a lot of work manually.
When I moved up to the first team permanently I decided to invest in a tool that would improve the quality of the reports I could create. Several friends recommended Nacsport to me and I invested in a basic license.
A year later, when I wanted to renew I realised the team already had a Nacsport Elite package. So I began using that, exploring the expanded features and developing my own analytical skills to produce a variety of reports for the team.
How would you typically incorporate analytics into your work?
I usually analyse 3 or 4 games a week, but the depth of my work varies. For first team games we synchronise TV footage with ‘tactical’ camera views to record specific areas of a game, and create a single report.
After that, working closely with coaching assistants, we filter out anything not considered important, before sharing with the team.
In training we get real value from Nacsport in helping us prepare for opposition strengths and weaknesses. Once we identify an opportunity to improve or prepare for - whether it’s in defence or attack - the players will simulate that situation on the pitch.
How do you see your analytical work developing?
I would really like our entire coaching staff to be familiar with Nacsport - and KlipDraw - so we can get more data from the platform, communicate ideas more effectively and share our analysis. I also plan to continue developing my own ability to create meaningful data from the platform.
Are you working in real time and if so, how are you sharing data with other members of the team?
Yes, we’ve done a lot of work using data generated within a game and I’ll often share observations or parts of my analysis with the bench during a match. I’ll share it using WhatsApp, email or the Nacsport Tag&view app.
But, we made an active decision not to overload players or coaches with complicated analytical data during the halftime break.
How many people at the club are working with you on analytics?
I am the only person whose job is purely analytical.
However, I work closely with coaches at various levels within the club, sharing relevant data and helping them use it in their own work. Having overall responsibility for analytical reporting has allowed me to develop my own competency, test new ideas and ultimately create an analytical process that benefits the club.
Are you achieving your analytical goals and how do you plan to improve?
Yes, I think we are. And we’re continuing to expand our use of analytics to improve team performance. Nacsport has given us the tools we need to extract information and I see my job as finding new ways to use that information to move the team forward.
How do you see the future of football performance analytics?
Analytics will only grow in importance for all teams, as will the role of the analyst. As the discipline matures I think we will develop new ways to coach smarter, streamlining day to day practices and placing a greater focus on tactics and strategy.