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Analyst Spotlight - Michael Byrnes

In our latest Analyst Spotlight, we travel to Ireland and the world of Gaelic sports, to meet a young analyst taking a very measured and strategic approach to his work.

Not surprising, when you consider Michael Byrnes (on the right in this pic) has an MSc in Sports Performance Analysis from Ireland's much acclaimed Carlow Institute of Technology.

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How long have you been an analyst? What sports have you worked in and which ones currently?
I’ve been an analyst for the last 4 years and have thoroughly enjoyed working across Gaelic Football, Hurling, Lacrosse and Rugby.

Were you using any other software before Nacsport?
Yes, I initially began working with Dartfish, then incorporated Performa Sports into my workflow before giving SportsCode a try.

So why the move to Nacsport?
I discovered Nacsport after a conversation with an analyst at the Gaelic Athletic Association and then another friend - who works as an International Netball Analyst - recommended it to me.
I instantly liked Nacsport’s powerful dashboards and its functionality. 

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Was Nacsport easy to learn? Did you use the AnalysisPro Knowledge Base and was it helpful?
I found Nacsport very easy to use without much training - I was able to just jump in and get results from day 1.

The Knowledge Base is an excellent resource, I use it on a weekly basis. The content is relevant and easily understood. The videos move at a step by step pace that allows users to easily understand what’s happening.

How do you use Nacsport in a typical week?
I can break it down into 4 distinct areas;

Pre match: 
Before a game, which is usually on a Sunday, the team will have an analysis session, usually on a Thursday night. This is where we preview the opposition. I use Nacsport to code main indicators from a recent game played by the opposing team, which feed into Key Performance Indicators decided upon by management. 

Once I have these K.P.I.’s, I select clips that illustrate a pattern of play specific to our opponent’s set-up. Also, the manager might request specific clips to be added into the presentation I create.

I use the presentation window in Nacsport to playback my key analysis to the team. I may use KlipDraw if I have an important point to make.

Training Analysis:
Training analysis involves a close in camera view, to examine the skills and techniques of players. A wide camera is also employed to assess tactical layout. 

I forward these angles to the manager and coaches who may then ask me to select specific clips for individual and team feedback. Again, I use Nacsport to do this, stacking the angles to view if a player assisted or failed a pre-planned tactical move. This is done to show the importance of skill execution in a wider context.

In Game Analysis:
On Match Day we have a team of four analysts working in real time with a coach. After a team meeting in the hotel, again utilising the presentation window in Nacsport, we travel to the ground together and set up as soon as possible. 

We use a tripod mounted camera with an HDMI connection into an Avermedia Live Gamer Portable 2 Plus. This is then connected to my laptop running Nacsport Pro Plus. 

Our AP Wireless antenna from AnalysisPro is then plugged in so we can transmit information across the ground to an assistant coach in the team dugout. This coach runs a laptop with Nacsport Coach Station on it, streaming the live video and analysis for review during the game. 

At half time, the coach and I quickly go through the analysis we have, using Nacsport Coach Station, before the manager addresses players on their performance.

Post Game Review:
A review of the previous weekend’s game takes place on a Tuesday night. 

I code the game down to the individuals on Monday using a separate template. The information is then visualised through our dashboards in Nacsport, both for individuals and the team, then sent on to the management for discussion with the players both collectively and individually.  

When you analyse live games, who do you share the video and data with on the team and how do you do that?
We use Coach Station. A coach sits with us analysts and has access to Coach Station. He views information through an interactive dashboard as well as the matrix. 

At half time Coach Station is plugged into a TV. The coach goes through the dashboard stats, which also has a ‘coach clip’ data label for ease, linked to key clips we create for him. Once the stats are reviewed the coach clicks his ‘coach clip’ data label to play the clips and discuss their relevance.

What are their main areas of a game that you focus your analysis on?
That’s simple. Kickouts, turnovers and shots from play are the main areas we focus on, both for ourselves and opposition.

What tools do you use most often within Nacsport? Do you have a favourite feature or workflow?
I use the register from file and tagging template most. I enjoy using the matrix and I’m really excited about building new dashboards for live display.

How many analysts do you work with at Tipperary?
We are a team of four.

During a live match I attempt to identify wider trends and prepare ‘coach clips’ for display at half time.

My colleague Alex Rathke codes the game live, Conor Byrne creates indicator specific maps and James Campion videos the action, (during the week he also uses Nacsport to generate adhoc clips for management as requested.)

Who do you share your analysis with, how do you share it and how do they use it?
Analysis is sent directly to management and the players in the form of dashboards. On Tuesday evenings a video review is made with the manager, who selects specific clips he wants to speak about during the week.

Do you think the team benefits from performance analysis and how do the players react to your role?
I know the team clearly benefits from our work and the players seem to really enjoy - and respond to - viewing their individual data.

How many teams at Tipperary are using Nacsport?
Only the 1st or Senior team.

Do you use any accompanying tools for your analysis?
Yes, I find KlipDraw very useful for highlighting plays and movement in my presentations.

Do you import any data from external sources?
No.

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Are there any aspects of your analysis now that weren’t possible before you began using Nacsport?
Yes, live interactive dashboard streaming, which is fantastic, a real game-changer and something we hadn’t been able to achieve before using Nacsport.

How have you found the support and has it helped your work?
The support from Josh and Jon at AnalysisPro has been excellent. They are always available on the phone and know the software inside out.

Do you think the use of performance analysis will continue to evolve and spread to different levels in your sport?
Absolutely! I believe that PA will continue to evolve in the same way that strength and conditioning has grown over the last few decades, to become a vital area of preparation. 

As someone who’s studied the subject to degree level, how do you see performance analysis, particularly in Gaelic sports, changing over the next few years? 
I believe the use of drones will assist in the training environment and will become a very useful tool for analysts. We’re already seeing it.

But I don’t see a huge change or shift in practice, only a refinement of technique. I also think most teams will embrace performance analysis before long.

If you could add one new feature to Nacsport, what would it be?
A real-time plotting tool to display events on the pitch for use at half time.
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