How to Prepare Football Scouting Reports with InStat and Nacsport

By Duncan Ritchie

27-July-2020 on Tips

15 minute read

This article was written in collaboration with Albert Fenoll, a professional scout and analyst who currently works with various teams and footballing agencies. He has previously worked with the Performance Analysis Team at Seville FC where he was in charge of scouting out opponents.


In this article, we’ll explain, step-by-step, how to create complete scouting reports for football players by using all the potential offered when we combine InStat data with Nacsport’s ability to filter, edit and manage said data.


We’ve split the article into two parts which correspond to the general workflow of scouting. First of all, we’ll concentrate on research and data collection, done with InStat and, secondly, the analysis, filtering and presentation of data, for which we’ll use Nacsport.


Part 1. Data Collection with InStat



Step 1. Define the Profile of Desired Footballer


Before we even enter InStat, it’s essential that we define the profile of the type of player we want to incorporate into our team. There are a few variable we must take into account when carrying this out, such as the current trainer or whether coaching staff are leaving the club or new staff are incoming.


Every coach has their own model of the game and most of the time, the player we’re searching for will depend on who is in charge in the dugout. These wants and needs can change drastically if someone new enters the position. Managing and preparing different profiles can give us a huge advantage when changes occur. It means that we may already have the knowledge we need at hand, allowing us to act in a timely manner in these types of scenario.


Step 2. Define Search Parameters


When we do finally enter the InStat platform, our first job will be to get straight to work defining the parameters established in the previous step in order to optimise our search. This point is critical when it comes to successfully finding the correct fit for our team.



InStat allows us to define various parameters, which serve to filter the data we need.



Imagine that during the next transfer window, you’re looking for a player with the following specifications:


• A player from footballing’s second tier

• An offensive midfielder

• Under 27 years old

• An effective forward passer with good ball recovery

• Right and/or left footed

• Good finisher


We can now enter all this data into the search filters and start browsing the footballers’ profiles which appear in the results.



Step 3. Review Available Information


Now, let's investigate the information obtained from those profiles.


We can select one of the players that InStat has suggested for us (in this example, we’ll follow up on Houssem Aouar, player at Olympique de Lyon).  InStat now gives us a variety of options to work with:


• Full matches played

• Trends with ball in play

• A list of plays during the match

• Technical / tactical aspects of footballer



When we have no previous knowledge of the player, we should get a good sample of how he reacts and plays during different scenarios. For example, does playing against a perceived higher level team affect him negatively? Is he better when playing at home or away? There are many aspects of the game that can affect a player and we must investigate as many as possible.


The first search we conduct is, arguably, the most important. This will show us if we have established the correct criteria or not. InStat throws a lot of statistics at us, but all this will mean nothing if we haven’t entered the correct search terms.


In football, we’re always against the clock and there is very little time to pause, but it’s essential that we ask ourselves lots of questions and evaluate whether we are receiving the correct info or not.


Step 4. Delve into the Player's Profile


It’s time to get to know the player visually and compare him against other players and scenarios (different opponents, home / away, etc.). This information is essential.


Instat offers up a player who attracts your attention. You select multiple matches while facing teams who are struggling against relegation. You note that he excels when playing at home but that there is a significant decline in his performance when playing away.



This information will allow us to draw better conclusions about the players performance in different scenarios, as well as give us a good idea of his abilities when compared to opponents and players of the same profile type we are looking for.


Step 5. Collect and Download Data


Once we’ve decided on the player we’re interested and reviewed all the information available on InStat, it’s time to collect the data and download it so it is available for working in Nacsport with it. We can download the following:


• Video footage. We recommend downloading games in full, although InStat also allows us to download by game period too.



• Data in XML format. We can download the full analysis or apply filters to get the info we are most interested in.



Once downloaded, our work with InStat is, for the time being, complete. From here on out we don’t even need an internet connection as everything can be done locally, i.e. on our own computer.


Part 2. Working with Nacsport



Step 6. Import the Data


When using Nacsport, we’ll be able to import XML from InStat, with the filters chosen applied, and synch it with our downloaded videos. Nacsport allows us to do a second filtering of information with its custom import options.



Step 7. Complete the Player Profile with Own Analysis


Platforms like InStat allow us to optimise search time and offers large volumes of data but, as stated in the first part of the article, each team and each coach is different, and we may need to add more info to our report and / or analysis.


Add Your Own Analysis


You want to augment your report with some off-the-ball tactical movements of the footballer which you believe to be of interest to the coaching staff. As a midfielder, his positioning when starting an attack or when falling back to defense are be very important.


These are simple movements that a scout may detect through experience and which you may want to include in your report. You understand that taking these actions into consideration when signing a new player is fundamental, but they don’t correspond to any parameter found in InStat.



We can design our own Nacsport template and create new buttons for these new parameters and tag them when they happen on the video. We can then incorporate this into the work we’ve already imported from InStat, increasing the amount of info we have on the footballer by adding our own analysis.


Enrich InStat Parameters


What if we want to add information to the imported InStat parameters? With Nacsport, we can add them with a single click. Let's follow the example:


You want to sign a striker with good finishing stats. InStat provides information on shots, whether they have gone wide or on target, whether they ended in a goal or not...


But you might want to add extra information such as where on the field the play started and where it ended, if the player had options to pass to a teammate, if shooting was the correct decision or if, on the other hand, he should have passed instead of shooting.


All this extra info can be added with Nacsport using “descriptor” buttons. These add extra information to a main “category” action.



Step 8. View and Work with Information


Nacsport has multiple tools for handling definitive information and prepare it to create the best report possible. Let’s look at some of these options:


• Compare actions. We can check and compare how the player reacts during up to 8 different dead ball situations.



• Overlay two similar scenarios and directly compare how he behaves in each.


• Add drawings that make it easier to understand the message. Additionally, integrate KlipDraw Animate to create professional illustrations and animations.



• Extract still frames from games.



• Add text or audio notes.


• Check the data matrix that shows all actions in a single window.



• Incorporate other videos from the same match to get new angles and perspectives.


• Export the data to Excel to work with other programs such as Power BI or Tableau.



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Step 9. Filter What’s Important and Present Your Report


There are three different ways of presenting data with Nacsport. We can present from the Dashboard, present directly from the program or compile a video and export it.


The Dashboard, the Most Visual Option



We can convert the data collected from InStat and Nacsport into statistics, labels, charts and graphs.



Dashboards are interactive, so clicking any label or chart will display a video playlist of actions that correspond to the parameters chosen to create the graphs.



Presentations, the Most Versatile Option



With Nacsport Presentations, it’s easy to select the actions we want to send to our report and organise and order them to share with coaches or other staff members.



There are multiple options when preparing presentations. We can create our own personalised playlists according to our own criteria (offensive / defensive actions, by match, etc.), add audio and text notes, drawings, comparative videos and lots of extra info so no detail is lost.



Compiling a Video, the 'Classic' Option



Prepare a video report with the most prominent actions which can be sent to the recipient of the Scouting report.


We have the same tools as in the previous option: lists, add overlying text, covers, illustrations, etc. but in this case, we lose the ability to control the playback. Actions will simply play one after the other.


Level Up Your Analysis With Nacsport and InStat


Harness the full potential of combining both tools: the power of InStat data and Nacsport's filtering and customisation capabilities.


If either tool is missing from your arsenal, you can get discount the other thanks to the trade agreement signed between Nacsport and InStat in the spring of 2020.


Nacsport + InStat: Next Level Video Analysis

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