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Gloucester Rugby make the #SmartMove to Nacsport (Part 1)

Gloucester Rugby make the #SmartMove to Nacsport (Part 1)

We are delighted to announce that before the start of the 2017/18 Aviva Premiership Rugby season, Gloucester Rugby will now be using the Nacsport video analysis software instead of the SportsCode software they have used previously. Gloucester Rugby have entered into a 5-year agreement to use a combination of Nacsport Elite and Nacsport Viewer licences among their analysts, coaches and players at both 1st team and Academy levels.
Josh Bryan, from our UK and Ireland Resellers AnalysisPro, recently caught up with Gloucester Rugby’s coaching staff to go through some of the key workflows they will be using with their new Nacsport software. The coaches reflected on how their reviews and presentations back to players were going to become more easy and efficient, especially thanks to the Nacsport Presentation Window and integrated KlipDraw tools that Gloucester Rugby will also use. After this, Josh interviewed Darren Lewis to find out more about the video analysis processes used at the club, moving over to Nacsport and what this means for the “Cherry & Whites”:

This blog features Part 1 of that interview:

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Hi Darren, please could you introduce yourself and give us an overview of your role at the club?

Hello, my name is Darren Lewis and my role is Head of Analysis Department at Gloucester Rugby. The department consists of myself, Tom Reynolds who works supporting the first team players and coaches and James Macfarlane who is the Academy analyst and works with the Academy coaches, but also helps with some elements of the first team’s analysis provision. Between the three of us we facilitate the analysis resources for the players and coaches at the club.

The working week is usually pretty full-on with reviews of our last match, previews of our next opposition and training sessions with micro reviews after each session for different player groups. We film all our training sessions with at least two cameras and when the weather is good, we use a DJI Phantom Drone which gives us a great perspective of our sessions.

We help the coaches prepare for our games by creating content of our opposition’s last performances and analysing certain things to make sure the coaches have a full overview of the team we’re about to play, so they can develop the approach for that specific week as well as helping to review our own game tapes. Lots of our content starts as big files of video, which is then edited down into the most important things our players need to know, to give them the confidence to take the field as prepared as possible. We also analyse all of our training sessions. It’s the time on the training field that is so important, so what we provide for the players and coaches in terms of our training resources is crucial, it’s a huge learning environment so it’s important we take as much out of what we practice as possible. This manifests itself into micro meetings after sessions and content being sent out to players remotely, so there’s a fair bit of work that goes into analysing training before 3pm kick offs on a Saturday.

Our game day work is all about trying to make a difference in game. That’s mainly for the coaches really, but I do provide little snippets of things I’m seeing as the game is going on along with Tom who is registering the game live so that at the final whistle, our coaches can take away four views of the game with analysis they can begin to create their debriefs with. Several of our coaches create their own clips as well, but they have the instances that we’ve created during the game to work with and save them time too.
Post game, myself and Tom will register individual involvements for each player, tackles, carries, kicks etc., and this data along with the data from a team perspective makes its way into a post-match report, which is used by the coaches to help their review process and the conditioning staff to understand what the players went through physically in the game.

Then on Monday, the review process begins and the preparation for the following weeks game will follow on from that. I work a week in advance so that the coaches have everything for the team we’re playing the following week in plenty of time. We then have a meeting to discuss what each person has seen and come up with a rough idea of the approach tactically and anything I’ve seen that the opposition may throw at us we need to be aware of. This will then get firmed up before being delivered to the team and content of training sessions devised.

So much of what gets delivered to players is based from learnings taken from video. Modern sport relies hugely on vision to allow for medics to see injury mechanism, S&C to look at motion around the field and of course tactics to be devised on the opposition and individual reflection to take place from the players. There are lots of moving parts to the analysis department’s working week which mean you need to be on top of everything, because the days go pretty quickly week to week in season. I like to get into the office early so that I can get things done before players start to come in and ask for things and meetings begin etc. because once that happens, getting anything done is tough as there is so much going on. Our office doubles up as the club’s analysis room with a suite of machines for players to do their own analysis. It’s great being in with the players because it means you get to have conversations with them about things they were thinking during games, things I’ve seen they may need to be aware of and of course … help them use the computers. Overall though, our playing group are excellent at navigating the video and looking for things.

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Up until recently, all your video analysis work has been carried out in SportsCode but now you are moving over to Nacsport. Were there some key factors which made you want to investigate Nacsport further in the first place?

Correct, I have been a SportsCode and Mac user in the roles I have had since I completed my degree, which was a long time ago now, initially as Bureau Co-Ordinator for the CPA at Cardiff Met working with the WRU (one you’ll have good memories of having worked together on that project), four years as Head of Analysis at Bath Rugby club and in my current role with Gloucester. Well, I’ve actually had half an eye on Nacsport since my time at Bath. I had a demo of the program nearly five years ago now and at the time, I probably didn’t give it the attention it deserved. The reason for that is that to be honest, I didn’t feel it was where it needed to be for it to be a genuine option to consider, and at the time Bath were heavily invested in SportsTec products, so it wasn’t really a good fit to do anything back then.

Fast forward five years and the product has transformed, combined with Gloucester’s current situation it means that the time is perfect to make the move. The development and transformation of Nacsport is unbelievably comprehensive and across all parts of the product (as I knew it from the time I had the demo at least). One of the main considerations with what is really and truly a huge change, is that the coaches would be comfortable using the software. The coaches at the club are very good in terms of being able to use what we currently have to prepare for meetings (with a little help here and there of course) and each have slightly different workflow’s but essentially, they have used SportsCode for a long time, so making sure they can continue to be self-sufficient in the way they prepare using Nacsport was a fundamental factor to making the change. Given some of their reactions to the training session you recently delivered, I think it’s safe to say that will not be an issue and if anything will make their lives significantly easier and certainly enhance what they can do with their analysis when they get stuck into it.

From my point of view, being able to continue to do some things like use four stacked angles, manage clips for presentations and obviously register live and post event are all key workflows that I’ve used and developed during my career. That’s not to say what I’ve done is the best way to do things and no doubt these workflows will evolve given the possibilities with Nacsport, but it was a reassuring factor in making the decision to change. I’d also be lying if I said the cost of the entire solution wasn’t a factor. It is. Every company has budgets to work to and the fact we are getting way more bang for our buck by making this transition was something that any business would smile at. The cost of hardware has been halved and we’re now working with HP Omens that have the same power as a MacBook Pro for literally half the cost … my Director of Rugby and finance department are very pleased.

Gloucester2

With Nacsport already being used in your Academy and after trialling the software yourself, how happy are you that Nacsport will meet all your video analysis needs? Is Nacsport enabling you to do everything you did before?

James has done a fantastic job at integrating Nacsport into the Academy and we have all worked closely together to ensure that what he and the Academy coaches deliver to our younger players is directly in line with what is delivered at senior level. That’s been another benefit of using Nacsport, as it’s ability to import packages from SportsCode and deal with XML and data inputs has meant the link has remained seamless between senior and academy rugby at the club, even though they’re using Nacsport and we’ve been using SportsCode. But, the very short answer to your question about how happy I am that Nacsport will deliver everything we need it to is…YES!

We’ve been working on this project for a long time now as there are a lot of factors to consider in making the move to Nacsport, but the more and more I sit on the program, watch the reactions of coaches and players when they see some of the features and how easy it is to use just gives me the absolute confidence that we are going to be able to completely surpass everything I’ve done up until this point (and I’ve still not completely mastered the program). The challenge for myself, Tom and James is to develop the workflows for our coaches and what they want to achieve as well,which can significantly enhance what they do to best prepare the team. We’ll quickly figure out what is going to make the biggest difference and how we can use the vast and varying number of tools we’ll have with Nacsport to their absolute potential.

It’s going to take some thinking because in order to maximise the program, I’m going to need to re-think everything we do. From the way we name our files (so we can utilise the search bar and search tool) to the types of data we collect (so our dashboards will be able to paint the best pictures possible) to how our in game analysis and live training analysis can move forward (how our subs and coaches bench can make an impact by utilising play by play) and that’s just to name a few things. It’s going to be a challenge as there are so many components of what the department does to rethink and develop, but one we can’t wait to get into.

As Nacsport is a timeline-based software, I guess there are similarities to your previous workflows, which would bring an initial level of comfort when starting to work with Nacsport. But are there things that you will be able to do in Nacsport that you couldn’t do before in SportsCode, and of those, what do you think will have the biggest impacts for the team?

That’s a good question and my answer will probably be different after six months of using the program day in day out. But I guess the types of things that get done the most are the organising of video clips. This will now be done using the presentation tool and the functionality within this environment of the program is massive. The ease of being able to draw on video especially now with KlipDraw will make a huge impact I think. It’s just so easy, like … too easy. Even Trevor Woodman will be able to get some drawings going haha. No, Trev is very good but in seriousness the coaches will be able to use the all tools with no problems I’m sure.
I also think the auto list / auto presentation features will help. We spend a lot of time creating files, searching for things and building packages to share and watch. That time is going to be reduced significantly because we’ll be able to send clips automatically to presentations without spending time searching or waiting for packages to be built. This time will let us be far more productive immediately post game and speed up a lot of processes. The other benefit is that Nacsport viewer allows users to manipulate clips and add notes, which means the players will be able to do more in terms of preparing content that they deliver in meetings, reviewing their own performances and analysing training without relying on Tom or I to put too much together for them. Who knows with all this time saved it might even mean I get to go home early some days! Ask me the same question in six months, as there will be lots that makes an impact so It will be great to answer with the experience in the locker.

Part 2 of this blog will reveal more about why Gloucester Rugby chose to move from SportsCode to Nacsport.

For now, we would like to thank Darren for his detailed insight to the video analysis processes at Gloucester Rugby and sharing how making the move to Nacsport is going to impact the club (stay tuned for Part 2!). We are really looking forward to continued work with Darren and everybody at Gloucester and want to wish them the best of luck for the end of this season and the start of the next one of course!


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