Pros and Future Pros: How One Ice-Hockey Academy Uses Video Analysis to Aid Development

By Duncan Ritchie

12-February-2020 on Users

9 minute read

Jamie Elson(front row, 2nd from right) is an assistant coach at the Okanagan Hockey Academy (OHA). Based in Swindon and established in 2012, OHA is the only full-time ice hockey academy currently based in the UK.


Here, Jamie tells us more about the academy, their routines and how they use Nacsport to help them prepare their athletes for success.


Future Professionals


Our athletes are aged 14-18 and come to the Academy here in Swindon for a full time ice hockey and education program. The Academy is fully residential and players are based with us full-time for 39 weeks a year. We have a set-up that is similar to a fully professional team, with on ice training every morning, Monday to Friday. When training is finished, they go to school to get on with their full educational studies.


It’s a great set up and having the players at the rink every day means we can really develop an all-round development model.  The players are treated as young future pro’s and are learning how to train on and off the ice like they would if they joined a professional team. And for us, video plays an ever-increasing part of that development.




Read more about Nacsport's relationship with ice-hockey here!


A History with Video Analysis


I joined the Academy in the summer of 2018, after having been Assistant Coach at the Cardiff Devils in the Elite league for a number of years. During my time there, a large part of my role was based on video analysis and, over several years, I have grown a skill set in this field and enjoy it.


When meeting Ryan Aldridge (Head Coach) and Steve Nell (General Manager) from the Academy prior to joining the staff, they expressed a desire to continue to increase the amount of video review and video based player development the Academy offers it’s athletes, which fitted in well with my experience at the time.


Choosing the Correct Video Analysis Program


At the start of the 2018-19 season we were then looking at options for analysis programs that could help us with our athlete development. Gareth Hubback (who I worked closely with during my time at the Cardiff Devils) showed us the Nacsport set up they had developed along with how they had set up their workflows to specifically suit ice hockey.


Gareth put us in touch with Josh Bryan at Analysis Pro, who were already working in the UK Elite Ice Hockey League in the UK with the Cardiff Devils and Sheffield Steelers. Josh went through the options for us as we were looking for a package that not only suited us but also the pro team here in Swindon which we are linked to. He set us up with a demo version, which we then trialed for 2 weeks during a team tour through Western Canada in late 2018.


This period gave us the chance to really get to grips with the package and really see how it could benefit us and our athlete development. The flexibility to really develop our own workflows and templates, as well as personalise the interface, was really appealing and very different to the more rigid software that I had previously used for analysis. It meant we could really tailor it to our player development needs and at other times focus more on in-game play. 


Following on from the trial and after getting further feedback from other users, we purchased our Nacsport Scout Plus package in 2019.



Click here to see what's included in Nacsport's Scout Plus Package


How We Use Nacsport


The addition of Nacsport to the Academy has really allowed us to breakdown and review video far quicker and more professionally. It makes our presentations to the athletes much more detailed and efficient, helping us to get key points across.


Nacsport enables us to really dial in on individual’s performance and development and review where they are having success or which skills need further development, while also seeing where their game knowledge is and if they are executing team tactics and systems.  From there it provides us with a better understanding and enables us to plan our training sessions with much more detail based upon identified development areas.  


Typically, we film games at the weekend, ready to breakdown in full at the start of the week.   We run several video sessions to feedback development areas to the team. We can really talk through and debate different situations and get some understanding of game play and in-game decision making. 


Through the week, our players have a chance to review the games themselves and to sit down with coaches to look at specific parts of their game


We can drill down in real detail and show them developmental areas in their skill sets, in-game decision making, team systems and tactics and they all enjoy the opportunity to watch a game and review their individual performance.


Nacsport Is Great for Hockey


The interface and workflows are great for a sport like Ice Hockey. The game has so many different aspects that happen very quickly, so the flexibility to edit and play around with the tags depending on what we are trying to focus on and what is being filmed (games or training sessions) really gives us the detail we require and cuts out a lot of legwork.


Excellent Support  


The support we have received so far from Josh and the team at AnalysisPro has been excellent.  During the set-up period, Josh answered many questions which allowed us to make the best decision when picking a package which best suited the needs of the Academy. He then advised us about which laptops to purchase for optimum efficiency.  Josh has also been able to provide advice on workflows and set-up to get the maximum benefit from the package we have.




Got Questions? See if you find the answer here!


More Player Involvement


The presentation side is now more professional, and the players really respond well to video sessions. They can see the depth of video content we have now and are able to get more feedback and can also self-review. They are often keen to find time to sit down and review video with coaches and they ask more questions. They also think about and see the game in a different way, which helps their decision-making skills. 


Video is such a huge learning tool, especially in modern sport, and especially with young athletes. With the Nacsport set up we really feel that we are positioned to support our athletes to reach a high level and give them the feedback they need to continue to improve. We are looking forward to improving our knowledge of the software and finding new ways to support our players through video review and Nacsport.


Overall, through using Nacsport to date we really have been able to enhance the quality and quantity of our video analysis content. With Nacsport’s flexibility, we are now able to review footage quicker and, in more depth compared to more basic or rigid editing tools.


So, there you have it. We would like to thank Jamie for putting his trust in Nacsport and wish all the young athletes at Okanagan Hockey Academy well for the future.


Nacsport is a tool which benefits teams, coaches and individual athletes. If you would like to see how Nacsport could work for you, CONTACT US now or get a FREE 30-DAY TRIAL of the software.

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