York University Lions: The Importance of Tailored Analysis

By Duncan Ritchie

19-March-2024 on Users

10 minute read

Today, we are turning our gaze to York University in Toronto, Canada. This is the third largest university in the country and, of course, has a well-respected and successful athletics program.


The York Lions is the official name for the athletic varsity teams that represent the university and today, we’re lucky enough to speak with the head coach of the men’s ice hockey team, Russ Herrington.


In this article, Russ talks to us about creating tailored video analysis processes with Nacsport and the advantages this has over using third-party data providers.


So, let’s get started…

Highlight and Encourage Positive Behavior


With York University Lions, Head Coach Russ Herrington has developed his video coaching philosophy which focuses on using video evidence to highlight and encourage the positive behaviors his players display during games and practice sessions.


Whether it’s within the structure of the team or individual players, the use of video helps to reinforce the types of behavior that define the team’s identity and playing style.



Russ: “We focus most of our team sessions on showing what we want our game play to look like, with the intention that positive reinforcement will provide clarity and lead to our team playing to our identity up and down the line-up.


“We are working to build urgent, purposeful, and connected behaviors within our team, and I found that Nacsport was precisely the tool that helped make that easy for us.”


york university lions



Custom Tagging and Tailored Workflows


Of course, the ability to analyze specific actions and game events that are aligned to the Lion’s philosophy is essential for Russ and his team.


In short, they need custom tagging processes and workflows, which Nacsport provides them with, as opposed to the data and videos that they could obtain from third-party providers. 



Russ: “By adding Nacsport Pro to our post-game analysis, we were able to focus on the behaviors we feel are necessary to build our team identity. In other words, it allows us to maintain a detailed level of focus on our own processes.


“While it can be helpful to get breakdowns from a central third-party, they are often based solely around generic game events which are of no assistance to us currently.”




Custom Tools and Features That Really Save Time


Maximizing time is always key in sport. There’s always a new game or video session just around the corner. Using the custom tagging features in Nacsport Pro, such as clustered buttons and autolists, speeds up this process, making it easier for Russ to focus on what really matters to him and his team.



Russ: “As the only full-time staff member in our programme, I appreciate the efficiency that the Nacsport analysis workflow provides. 


“It allows me to streamline my processes and keeps me focused on analyzing what we feel are the key elements that we are trying to build into our game.”


york university lions and nacsport



Baselines for Teaching and Development


With all of the custom video and data that Russ now collects, the goal is clear - establish a baseline of play and begin to pinpoint thresholds of effectiveness within their game. 


And the blend of video and data that he has collected serves as an important component in the teaching and development of the team.



Russ: “This is where Nacsport really helps because we can easily start to tabulate and analyze the numbers which are all underpinned by the most important teaching component, the video itself.”




A Refined Approach to the Analysis Process


Emotions are usually running high immediately after a game, and this is perhaps not the best time to begin analyzing the team’s performance.


Russ takes a more refined approach to this process.



Russ:I prefer to wait until at least the next day. Most often, I’ll watch the game as it plays out, as opposed to watching event by event, which can result in completely missing some important context for various plays. 


“When I’m working through my tagging process, I’m focused purely on our playing behaviors and looking for what I call identity shifts.


“These are the periods in games where our behavior in the game marries up with everything we have worked on in practice and off-ice in our video sessions. 


“Being able to easily create custom tags of these moments has been invaluable to my game review process, again something that cannot be provided by third-party data providers.”


york university lions video coaching



Customizable Workflows Vs Third-Party Data


Video is now pervasive within sport and the ability to utilize it to support coaching and learning has now become a necessity for coaches. 


Making sure the content of video sessions is digestible and relatable for players is important, therefore, having data and clips that are directly related to the playing philosophy hugely increases the impact that an analysis can have.


This is especially true when the video is presented in the same language that the coaching staff use and are hyper focused on the goals of the team.


And this is another strength of having video coaching solutions that are completely customizable to your needs, as opposed to data from service providers.



Russ: “With each passing year, you can see the increased reliance on video as a teaching tool for the generation of athletes who are coming through our programme. That said, you also have to be mindful that players like short clips that can capture their attention. 


“You need to build the Snapchat or Instagram story versions, as that is the way they are used to digesting information.”




Making a Noticeable Difference


York Lions are in the early stages of a development journey and the building blocks to success are being laid. But there are multiple little victories, and proof of this has already started to shine through with Russ’s team.



Russ: “While I know that we have only scratched the surface of what Nacsport can do, it has already proved to be a very valuable tool for us. We could immediately see the impact that tailored analysis had on our group, as we have seen marked improvements in our team and individuals.


“Being able to identify and share the aforementioned “identity shifts” with the team allowed us to highlight the positive aspects of our game play. In turn, this allowed us to start building a bridge between those behaviors and the positive consequences of investing in those behaviors. 


“This is something that we just couldn’t have done without developing the tailored analysis process as we have done with Nacsport.”


york university lions ice hockey



And that’s all for today. We’d like to thank Russ for taking time out of his busy schedule to explain his working processes in such detail.


If you have any questions about this article or anything related to video coaching with Nacsport, please feel free to contact us at any time.


If you think Nacsport could be helpful for your own video coaching, why not try it for yourself? We offer a free 30-day trial of any software in our range. Click here to get started.


Once again, a massive thanks to Russ and best of luck for the coming season…go Lions!


And to you reader…


Thanks for reading.

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