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It is widely accepted that performance analysis is an considered an essential tool for modern day sports coaches. For my Masters dissertation I set out to investigate and examine the perceptions of performance analysis from three key stakeholders (players, coaches and performance analysts). There is a lack of literature concerned with the effectiveness of performance analysis upon actual performance; largely due to the inherent problems in assessing such things. However, here I am going to just give a brief overview of the literature.
Administrators within professional football have recognised the importance of investment in youth development to ensure continuous development of elite players. Football clubs appreciate the fact that the exposure of young talent to specialised coaching and training may accelerate (and enhance) the talent development process. For many developing football players, the notion of professionalism is introduced through the Academy system. In this environment it is suggested that relationships with significant stakeholders such as Academy Directors, coaches, and sports scientists may mediate players’ developmental experience. Such relationship matters can be influenced by factors such as individual club culture, but more broadly, the traditions of professional football. These, alongside other variables can impact on the individual player experience and can be expected to play some part in their development.
It is widely accepted that performance analysis is an considered an essential tool for modern day sports coaches. Whilst relatively new within the sport domain, multi-disciplinary teams have been an integral part of the health and human services industry for a number of years. Historically, coaches have viewed sports science as “inaccessible, too technical, or in many cases, non-applicable to the actual sport setting”, however, as team sports descend further into professionalisation, players are becoming faster, fitter and more powerful with the attainment of optimal performance becoming ever more scientific. As such, preparation for performance now utilises a more comprehensive, scientific approach with increasing numbers of coaches adopting an interdisciplinary sport science support network where possible. An interdisciplinary support network refers to a group of professionals from various disciplines collaborating together with the same client with the same intention – enhancing the rate of performance improvement.
The discipline of performance analysis (PA) is a relatively new addition to the sport science umbrella. There has been an explosive use of PA within elite sport over the last decade, and none more so than Premier League football. PA is a discipline of sports science which overlaps with coaching science, physiology, talent identification, psychology, and sports medicine. This is due to the fact PA investigates some aspect of performance whether it be technical, tactical, physical or behavioural. PA research is largely applied, though some basic theoretical research has also been completed. Methods used in PA continue to develop and increase in their sophistication, bringing with them higher quality research with greater volumes and accuracy of data. It has been suggested thta there are 11 different broad research topics in performance analysis, these are:
- Critical incidents and perturbations (see McGarry et al., 1999)
- Analysis of Coach Behaviour (see Gilbert and Trudel, 2004; More, 2008)
- Performance Indicators for Different Sports (see O’Donoghue, 2008)
- Work-rate Analysis of Evaluation of Injury Risk (see Bloomfield et al., 2007)
- Reliability of Methods (see Choi et al., 2007)
- Analysis of Technique (see Lees, 2008)
- Technical Effectiveness (see O’Donoghue, 2009)
- Tactical Patterns of Play (see Unierzyski and Wieczorek, 2004)
- Performance Sampling (Taylor et al., 2008)
- Analysis of Referees and Officials (see Hartshorn, 2009)
- The Effectiveness of Performance Analysis Support (see Mayes et al., 2009)
To date, studies in field hockey, Gaelic football, squash, and netball, have provided mixed evidence on the effectiveness of PA. Consideration is clearly needed regarding the impact of performance analysis upon sporting performance, motivation, confidence, and other associated factors. Whilst other areas of the discipline have successfully flourished, this remains disaffected due to the inherent difficulties of such research. Further, from a football specific standpoint, knowledge of the role, duties and overall usefulness of the position of performance analyst is not fully known. Whilst it is accepted as a requirement within modern day football to have a performance analyst, it is not known how this exports outside of professional elite sport (i.e. to a youth setting).
The growth of PA as a discipline and the development and extension of simple hand notation techniques coincided with the advent of personal computers. Indeed, the advent of personal computer technology and the ability to store data via within a database allowed for greater and quicker levels of data manipulation and therefore the ability to provide more powerful analyses. Research has indicated that there is a heavy reliance on performance analysis in post-game feedback for players, and also as interim feedback during half time intervals, though no evidence has been posited as to the perceptions held by the people whom it impacts upon most. However, this is not uncommon for such a scientific discipline, though due to the hugely undeniable social impact of coaching and the coaching process, a more qualitative approach is required in order to ascertain the unquantifiable aspects of the discipline.
I’ll follow this one up with a review of the results. Hope you enjoyed!