The Importance of Nacsport Descriptors

By Duncan Ritchie

26-October-2021 on Tips

8 minute read

Although not always given the importance they perhaps deserve, the truth is that descriptors are an essential element when analysing sports with Nacsport. They provide a launchpad for spectacular analysis work which is more organise and much easier to filter.


In this article, we’ll delve into this Nacsport feature and attempt to explain why descriptors are essential for a good analysis.


But first, let’s get down to brass tacks…

What Are Descriptors?


If you’re a long-time Nacsport user, you may already have a fair idea what the answer is. However, even if it seems redundant, there’s always something new to discover and you can never know enough about descriptors.


With that being said, let’s kick off by saying that a descriptor is one of the two types of button that can be created in a Nacsport template, the other being categories.


As perhaps the name suggests, a descriptor describes a category. In other words, it provides the category with context, making it much more specific. In terms of language, a category would be a noun and the descriptor would be an adjective. As such, a descriptor cannot exist in isolation and must always be associated with a category.


Note: Descriptors are not available in Nacsport Basic. They become available from Nacsport Basic+ onwards.



This is only a brief introduction to descriptors. If you want to know more, we suggest that you read this article about categories and descriptors. In addition, if you want to get really in-depth on how to use them, consider doing one of our Official Courses, which will take you through the process of creating and using them step by step.


For the rest of this article, just remember that categories are the main actions which happen in a game or match, while descriptors play a secondary role and describe the main action.


Why Are Descriptors So Important?


Descriptors are so important because they help you filter actions in your analysis. Because they define categories, they allow you to structure and organise your work, and locate certain video clips easily.


In other words: without descriptors, your analysis would be much shallower. Some tools, such as the data matrix, would not exist, and others, such as the dashboard and search tool, would provide you with extremely limited information.


So, being able to filter the information is essential, right?


If you're still struggling to understand this concept, let me give you a little metaphorical example using running shoes. Maybe this will aid your understanding:


/nacsport descriptors- filtering


Imagine you want to buy a new pair of running shoes online. You have some specific requirements. Primarily, you want shoes for road running. You’d like to get a green or blue pair to match the rest of your gear. You’re not too fussy about the brand, although there are a few you would stay away from. You also have a specific budget for your new shoes.


So, how do you search for your perfect shoes? You apply filters, right? Search parameters? You click little boxes until you narrow down the search to find those that you are really interested in. Without doing this, you could be sitting in front of the computer for hours, going through the website page-by-page.


Applying the filters narrows your choice down to a much more manageable number of shoes. If you don’t find something you like, you can change the search parameters until you find the perfect shoes for you.


And this is exactly the same process when filtering with descriptors. Searching for “passes” in a football match will return a huge list of clips. But search for “successful passes” will narrow the search down. Or what about “successful passes in the second half”, or further still “successful passes in the second half by player 7”. Now you get right down to the specific information you need. “Pass” is the category in this case while “successful”, “second half” and “player 7” are descriptors.


So, yes, descriptors are important. They save you time and give you a much deeper analysis.


Graphic Descriptors: Dive Even Deeper


Ok, let’s go deeper down the descriptor rabbit hole. If you want to get yet more from your analysis, Nacsport’s graphic descriptor tool is what you need.


Graphic descriptors allow you to mark the exact position on the field where an action takes place.


Basically, this is a button which is a scaled down representation of a football, rugby or hockey field, a basketball, futsal or tennis court...or a skating rink?


nacsport graphic descriptors


By clicking the exact point on the map where a play happens, XY data will be added to your analysis, thus adding an extra layer of data to your analysis.


In addition, this gives you even more options for filtering your analysis.


Of course, this is a tool designed for analysts of a certain level. In fact, this tool is only available from Nacsport Scout onwards. In Pro and Elite, graphic descriptors even allow you to produce advanced analytical data such as heatmaps and movement maps.


If you want to learn more about graphic descriptors, we recommend reading this article which will give you all the info you need, or check out the video below.



What Descriptors Should You Include?


A few months ago, we published an article containing 22 ideas for button templates. Here we included information about the most common practices that we have observed over the years. Take a look and maybe it will inspire your own analysis template.


We also recommend taking a look at the samples section on our website where we’ve provided some free downloadable button templates and dashboards. Download them and study them. Again, this may provide inspiration for your own work. 


Nacsport templates


In conclusion, we want to reiterate that a button template is a blank canvas where you can be as deep or superficial as you want or need...but always within the restrictions of the software version you are using. If you’re feeling restricted by the options available to you, why not consider an upgrade to a higher version?


Anyway, we hope this article has given you a better idea of what Nacsport descriptors are and how they can help your analysis. Of course, as always, if you have any questions about this subject, don’t hesitate to get in contact with us and we’ll be happy to point you in the right direction.


Thanks for reading!

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