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  • Performance Analysis - How and why I do it.

    Performance Analysis - How and why I do it.
  • Methembe Tshuma
  • Staff Writer
  • posted 6 months ago
  • So I promised my brother Njabulo an article every week but I just haven't been in the write space to right……wait what? Hayiii never mind. Data and sports have a relationship. This has been proven several times over with teams who adopt the technology finding success in their en-devours , its not a coincidence. As such I wont be discussing that in this article. Here I will be talking about my methods and explaining them for the interested readers or those interested in pursuing a similar path.
    I will start by saying this: data is not everything; in data, there are many more details that are attached to it. Just because you have the stats doesn’t mean you have the full scope of the game and what happened and even more you cannot really explain why things happened the way that they did.
    Before I get to the game I tend to look at the opponents and the home team. I read about their previous games  and look at their past performance. If I have the game tapes of those teams I tend to re-watch them so that I have  a brief idea of what to look for. This part is important because it helps the coaches understand what they are facing and how they can prepare. 
    On the day of the game I arrive early to the stadium to setup my camera and my post. On some days I am not allowed or unable to record the games with my camera or phone so I only take down stats. If I cannot record the games I use pen and paper to capture the stats. In the beginning I used to have 3 papers with all the players names and their defensive stats and another sheet for attack based stats plus stats for the overall game events to cover the opponents actions.
    This was very ineffective I found because in football things happen fast and the time to switch between papers will lead to making mistakes. So overtime I devised a work sheet that covered all the information that I need to have on whats happening on the field and when it comes to player specific stats I do not do them because its pointless , I lose focus and miss crucial things.
    The key I find is to balance stats collection and match observation. As a performance analyst you have to watch the game  and understand what is happening and also take note of the play its self. At least you do it sitting down, so it must be fun, right? Well that’s wrong. Most of the stadiums where I have observed games at have required me to watch the game standing , that’s 90 minutes plus on my feet , but I barely notice. I love the game.
    So now I have the stats or the video of the game. I forgot to mention , during half time I sit with assistant coach to gloss over my observations for about 10 minutes and he passes my notes over to the coach. Then he gives the information to the coach. I cant display stats or anything because there's no time , I only give them the brief notes I made. Ahhhhh you see why you need to pay attention to the game.
    After the game ends I get to my laptop and move the data from my sheets to an excel spreadsheet then add the new match data to my data depository. This along with the other team’s name sheet as well as ours. I tag it with a unique match ID , for games where I have pictures or footage I put in my database. Then I add the data for visualization with power-bi or with tableau depending on my mood (by this time im dog tired) , but I like to have the match report ready for the coach on Sunday morning. We will get over what I put in my match report and why I do it that way in another article.
    Then after this we move on the next match. The training analysis starts as well as the opposition analysis where we look at the next team how they play and how to beat them. So it’s a constant cycle and this is just glossing over the details. But this is how I approach performance analysis. This is not a substitution for coaching or other staff , its just another tool in their arsenal to help them steer the ship. Look at it this way. The car has a driver and the driver has a dashboard , it shows him the speed , temperature and everything about the car. Its doesn’t tell him how to drive , it just displays the state of the car and how his decisions are affecting the state of the car.
    That’s all I have today. Go away now. 
    Bulawayos Data Analyst  

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