By Duncan Ritchie
19-November-2020 on Tips9 minute read
It goes without saying that we know a lot of video analysts. Throughout the years we’ve been in the business of supplying the software needed by analysis departments across the globe, we’ve built up solid relationships with many people in the field. Although each person is an individual, we’ve identified three main types of analyst which we’d like to share with you in this article.
With which group do you identify?
Obviously we’re painting with broad strokes here. We’re generalising. Everyone is unique and apologies in advance if we haven’t been as precise as we could have been. But with thousands of users in more than 70 countries and of all different levels, we’ve done our research and we’re sure you’ll find a bit of yourself in one of these profiles.
Read on to find out...
Before continuing, these three profiles are not exclusive. We’re talking about the predominant factors or training which brought the analyst to the position they occupy but, in reality, there may be bits from each profile which exist within one analyst.
It’s clear that, whatever group you belong to, video analysis is an all-terrain profession, one which welcomes all comers. It is also a discipline which requires constant training and development, whether that be in sporting regulations, tactics, computer science, new technology, data analysis, etc.
In fact, we’d like to take advantage of this article and acknowledge our admiration to all you analysts out there. We know how hard you work and how dedicated you are to your job. This is something that makes us strive to be better too. We want to give you the best tools for the job.
Greg Mathieson, Head of Opposition Analysis at Liverpool FC, is the perfect example of the Tracksuit Analyst, read about his route into analysis in this recent Nacsport Article. Conversely, his colleague, James French, fits more with the Brainiac profile
This is probably the most widespread profile throughout the world, except perhaps in Anglo-Saxon countries, where it shares the top spot with the Academic Profile.
Video analysts in this profile are those whose training or main skills are related to the sport they are involved with. Coaches, assistants, former athletes and professionals with an overarching knowledge of the sport in which they are immersed, either as a result of life experience or a career orientated to the study of that particular sport.
From here we can extrapolate that these individuals are restless, curious souls who are constantly seeking personal and professional development which has brought them to the doors of video analysis. They may have found their way here purely by chance or, more often, they’ve found video analysis as a way to get involved in the sport they’re passionate about and as a way to make a meaningful contribution to their clubs.
Darren Lewis of Gloucester Rugby is a good example of a Brainiac Analyst and has even used his academic knowledge to help Nacsport develop tools. As we said, not everyone fits nicely into these little boxes we're constructing and Darren also has a foot in the Tracksuit profile
In the Anglo-Saxon world, especially in the UK and Ireland, this is the most common analyst profile. In fact, video analysis is just a tiny part of something much bigger - sports performance analysis.
To put it simply, in the analysis of sports performance as a profession, video is a tool that allows for obtaining audiovisual data which is complemented by other approaches and perspectives such as statistical, mathematical and physiological factors.
This analyst comes from a scientific background and is well educated in the field. They have probably done a college or university course related to physical activity, sports science or, much more specifically, an actual sports performance analysis degree.
In the UK and Ireland, it’s common to find universities offering specialised training of this type. The title of the course may differ, but they all offer an academic, analytical approach towards sport.
At Nacsport, we’re proud to say that we are the software of choice for many education centres in both countries. We provide the software that allows students to practice at a professional level before being released into the world of full-time employment. Educational centres using Nacsport include Cardiff Met, the Universities of Edinburgh, Essex and Gloucestershire and IT Carlow, to name but a few.
This profile can also frequently be found in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, but a smaller number of Nacsport users in these countries means that we can’t say with certainty that this is the most common type of analyst. In the USA, where we are still developing the market, we have also witnessed both of the above profiles existing in harmony.
Beyond the English speaking world, we increasingly find more universities and educational establishments integrating this skill into their curriculums, but they are still fairly few and far between.
As we’ve said, video analysts from this profile primarily come from higher education and, therefore, handle more academic concepts in their day-to-day life. This doesn’t mean that they have no knowledge of sport, however. On the contrary, every type of analyst on this list is passionate about their game.
Whilst he probably fits more into the Tracksuit profile, this picture from Facundo Juarez, analyst at Argentinian football club Gimnasia y Esgrima, perfectly encapsulates the technological innovation of the Nerdy Analyst
This is probably the least common profile, but we still see this type of analyst regularly.
The technological profile is distinguished by an affinity for computing and modern tech. They are comfortable with audiovisual and IT hardware such as computers, cameras and networks and are always looking to innovate with new technology at the forefront of their minds.
It’s almost impossible to specify an archetype for this profile as it includes engineers, computer scientists and data experts. They often come at their work in a less sport-orientated way, instead being facilitators of data and information which can be worked on in a more analytical manner.
There is a huge mixture of people which can be included in this profile. They might be video analysts whose main training is in technology but, either through passion, diversification or obligation, have landed in the sporting sphere. They might also be scientifically trained, bringing their knowledge to sport. For example, big data experts applying their knowledge to the field.
In other cases, they have practiced this sport for years in a more or professional manner and have decided to diversify away from sport by studying in a different field which they then bring back to the sporting world.
As we said at the beginning of this article, the above profiles above are very general. Maybe you identify fully with one of them, maybe you see pieces of yourself in each one or maybe you think your profile is completely different from all of the above.
In any case, we’d love to hear from you so that we can further identify and refine these profiles. Contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and let us learn from you.
At the end of the day, our differences as video analysts are trivial when compared to the things that unite us: a love of sport and a wish to improve our clubs, a willingness to work hard and improve and a passion for analysis work. And this is true no matter the sport, country or level.
And that’s it. So...do you identify with any of these profiles? Reach out, let us know. We always love hearing from our users.
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