Analysis Without Filming a Game

Filming a game no doubt adds to how accurate your data entry is, how much analysis you can do and how effective your feedback can be but sometimes you just can’t have a camera. From budget, unsuspecting breaking of a camera to rules, there are a few things that can prevent you from filming a game.

Your analysis isn’t dead for a game without a camera, it doesn’t mean that the guy who was could have filmed the game is now useless.

The primary method of analysis is observation. You now have an extra pair of potentially informed eyes now watching the game without the constraints of the 4 sides of a camera lens.

It is actually astounding how much of a match you don’t see while filming a game, how out of context everything feels. While filming a game well, you are effectively watching what fits into the screen, roughly how many meters each side of a ball or event you are filming and not really watching whats happening inside the screen.

If you do a modern day coaching course, you’ll find that they make a point of maximising resources. Get an injured player to feed the ball into a drill if capable, get another coach to stand at a different angle and watch for something else or to target individuals for feedback. This same mindset can be adopted to analysis.

So onto how to use the guy who was due to film the game, the injured player on the sideline, the mum or dad on the sideline that is only delighted to get involved. You as a coach can’t see everything live, no one can. That’s one of the reasons why international rugby coaches are hooked up to 4 angles and they have 4-6 coaches with an individual area of responsibility. Maximise what you have, obviously logistically don’t sacrifice dealing with this information over coaching or giving players feedback.

Like all elements of analysis has to be aligned to what the players are being coached. An example I’ve used before is; with rugby, whenever the opposition kicked the ball to us, we would record who was the last person behind the ball for the counter attack. If someone was last twice, they’d get a tap on the shoulder and be told so. Obviously this can be done in front of the team if you believe that it will be more effective at half time or you could switch it around and reward the first few people behind the ball similarily.

Another example I’ve seen in GAA would be to record who’s made hooks or blocks in hurling. Particularly if you want to encourage them further up the field.  Then again to read out who did at half time to reward their efforts.

This can be done to an individual level where you ask a Dad to count how times the goalkeeper and the centre back in hockey or football communicated with eachother. Creating the effect of those 2 players communicating more.

The point of it is to first target what change/reinforcement you want to encourage. In the examples above we wanted to improve our ball retention and attack off counter attacks, apply more pressure on opposition ball carriers in hurling and encourage 2 players communicate more. A thing to note on these examples is that none of them required detailed explanations and even someone who knows very little of the sport could contribute.

The options for using this are unlimited. Never feel like without video, there is no analysis. It can always be used to get an improvement in performance. More to the point, there is no reason you can’t use these strategies while videoing the game as well.