How to Generate Your Own Data

By Duncan Ritchie

12-July-2021 on Tips

11 minute read

In the era of Big Data, more and more companies are emerging that make huge volumes of data available to analysts in order to make their work easier. However, their scope is not unlimited and, on occasion, pro analysts need to generate their own data. But how is this done?


We found the perfect example of this in one of our users, Ernesto Cropanise, who has helped us prepare this article with the aim of inspiring other analysts around the world who don’t have access to providers and must create their own data.

When There Is No Data Provider


Ernesto works as a freelance analyst for Panama City FC, a lower league team that is not covered by the majority of data providers.


The lack of available data was a huge problem for Ernesto’s long-term work with the club but, at the same time, it was a huge opportunity to create and provide data for the club that nobody else had


Nacsport for Generating Data


In addition to working with Panama City FC, Ernesto Cropanise works with Argetninos Juniors, a team in the upper echelons of Argentine football. They are also a team that works with Nacsport’s video analysis software.


At this point, explaining how Nacsport functions would be overkill. In this blog, you can find dozens of articles and tutorials on how to use the program. You could even do the Official Course!


However, we’ll give you some broad brushstrokes on the steps that Ernesto has followed for designing his own performance analysis graphs and charts which he shares with the Panamanian club.


Step 1: Design the Data Collection System


Obviously, without a 3rd-party data provider, you must collect your own data. In the Nacsport universe, this is usually done through the Button Template, where you create a button for each aspect of the game that you want to collect data for.


We’ve talked a lot about this key Nacsport environment in other articles, so we invite you to read The Definitive Guide to Button Templates and 22 Ideas for your Nacsport Template and move on.


Below, you can see a screenshot of the template Ernesto has made for collecting match data. Although in Spanish, you can see at a glance how exhaustive it is, including buttons for collecting info about goals (gol), attacks (ataque), recoveries (recuperacíon), losses (perdida) and many other things besides.


button template


In order to effectively convert the collected data into useful information for analysis, Ernesto has also designed several Dashboards that allow him to transform his button clicks into simple graphs and charts. Below, you can see a basic dashboard that he has designed to track the ball possession of his own team and the opposition.




In order to create this Dashboard, the analyst only needs three buttons in the template, own possession, opposition possession and no possession. These three buttons, set with the manual behaviour and excluding the other, offer graphs which display both the time and percentage of possession of the ball throughout the game.


In this video from our YouTube channel, we explain in simple terms how to design the template and corresponding dashboard in order to obtain this vital information.



Step 2: Collecting the Data


Once the button template has been designed (remember that you can create as many as you need and refine them as many times as you want) and the Dashboard has been created (the number allowed will depend on which version of the program you use), the data collection phase can begin.


In Ernesto’s case, this task is done remotely from Argentina with videos sent to him via the internet after the match. This task could also be done via a live stream through YouTube or any of the other options for analysing in real-time with Nacsport.


Step 3: Analyze, Filter and Export the Data


Nacsport has a whole range of tools available for analysts to work with video clips and data that has been collected.


This means that qualitative game data is obtained. We’re not just talking about numbers and isolated data, but data that is associated with video images, providing much needed context.


It is, however possible to obtain purely quantitative data with Nacsport. This is extremely useful for those who want to use 3rd-party data visualisation tools and there are several ways to export numerical data, mainly to Excel or PDF formats.


With PDFs, you can organise categories chronologically or group them by percentages. With Excel, there are six different export options.



In addition, there is a third export option, which is what Ernesto Cropanise does, and is a little bit more...traditional. Ernesto manually translates his Dashboard data to a spreadsheet and uses this to create graphs such as one you’ll see below which shows ball possession.



How was this chart created?


Ernesto uses the ball possession Dashboard as a reference, manually inputting the data into a spreadsheet. This Excel data is then used in the next step, which we’ll look at below.


In addition, possession can be limited to specific periods in the game by using dynamic Dashboards. Ernesto usually splits the game into six 15-minute periods.


Step 4: Data Visualisation


The last step in the process is to transform the data in the spreadsheet into charts and graphs. Two aspects must be taken into account here...the arrangement of data and the 3rd-party data visualisation tool that will be used.


The Arrangement of Data


This part is extremely important for ensuring that the tool with which we are going to use to transform our spreadsheet into data does so in the best possible way.


Here’s another example from Ernesto. Again in Spanish, the spreadsheet includes columns for player, opposition, data, passes, good, bad, forward, backward, wide, diagonal, short and long.




If the data is not inputted correctly into the cells or incorrect formulas are used, the optimum result will not be achieved. Although we’ll discuss Power BI in the next section, this article will give you a good understanding of what we mean here, particularly points 2 and 3. The data has to be collected in an organised way in order to achieve the desired results.


There are several ways to export Nacsport data to Excel and you have to find out which is the best for you in each case. Even if you take the manual data collection route, the info has to be placed on the spreadsheet in an organised way so you can continue working with it later.


Data Visualisation Tools


This is closely related to the previous section since the collected data must be arranged in a specific manner depending on the visualisation tool you’ll be using.


There are many programs on the market for viewing your data, but in this article we’re going to talk about the three that we’ve seen tested with Nacsport.


•    Excel
•    Power BI
•    Tableau


Ernesto Cropanise’s work combines both Excel and Power BI. In addition to their ease of use, the fact that both of these are available free make them the perfect complement to Nacsport.


These two tools are part of the same suite and, as a result, integrate seamlessly with PowerPoint, another tool that can be used with Nacsport.


Here’s an example of the kind of visualisations Ernesto produces. This shows the network of passes against various teams in the Panamanian league.


network of passes


So, that’s it for Ernesto Cropanise and his work in Panama. We greatly appreciate him taking time out to share some of the secrets of his work with the Nacsport community and would like to say a big thank you to him.


And what about you? We’d love to hear about your work. Get in contact with us today and let’s talk!

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