“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift” ~Albert Einstein
Within the Analysis Process of Input – Data Entry – Analysis – Feedback, there is a lot of scope on literature on what cameras to buy, tutorials on how to use software and how to deliver information in coaching content.
There is relatively little on the side of how to breakdown information to decipher what parts are useful.
This article is going to take you through one particular way of breaking down a sports game which I’ve named ‘The Funnel Method’, this is a single way, not the best or worst way. It can work concurrently alongside different methods too. I’ll follow this article up with other various ways of doing analysis and interpreting information.
As the name suggests, The Funnel Method, is a process of filtering information that you decide to feed through to players. It is discussed academically here in a paper by Paul Bracewell. This is opposed to collecting the same information each week and comparing it week to week; that could be described as KPI (Key Performance Indicator) based analysis which would be a higher workload.
The top of the funnel starts with the information that’s easiest to collect, this could include your original observations and the score etc.. From there you filter the information further to decipher what is the most relevant to investigate further. Thereafter, you decide what information is important to transfer to your players.
The benefits of using The Funnel Method is that it is a time saving method, effectively back-ending your workload to ensure time is only spent on the end product of what you deliver to your players. For this reason it makes it ideal for people just starting out using analysis or are short on time but obviously not irrelevant to experienced analysts and coaches.
At stage 1 of the funnel, your objective is to decide which aspect of your game to look into in more detail.
A time I’ve used this was when we played a team, we let them keep possession for long periods of time and our best defender was observed to have made very few tackles. We then looked into the tackles he made and missed – our next observation was that he was missing tackles out wide and making most of his tackles by the rucks. So we decided to investigate this further.
In stage 2 – You’re investigating further to find information that will help you with creating the change of behaviour in your players/team.
In my example, We began comparing his tackle completion rates and tackles in relation to the gainline into how many people away from the ruck he was. This was to confirm if our observation was true, if there were any mitigating factors and beyond that to see where he could improve. The results displayed he was far more effective in midfield and that he didn’t stand there enough during this game.
Stage 3 – Is deciding what to deliver to the player.
In this case we delivered him the statistics and asked him to give us his thoughts based on how he felt during the performance and after reading the statistics. The idea being that he would have to engage and come up with a solution himself.
Stage 4 – The result.
What you should judge the success of your analysis on, is not just what you have delivered, but how the players or team responds.
Within The Funnel Method you can use, what I call, the ‘Double Funnel’, a guide on how detailed you deliver the information back to your players or team.
The principal is that the more detail you’ve had to do to discover the analysis, the more impactful the feedback needs to be to make the players understand your message.
What you have to consider is, the players you are delivering to. You have to envisage how far down the funnel your players would need to go, not just how far you would have to go, to relate that back to your feedback methods.
In the example above, with our player, we had to delve quite deep into the funnel to confirm our information, it was quite complex. We had to use quiet a motivating and detailed method to make the player understand and create the change in behaviour.
If it was a case of a player coming to us, asking a question, the player already has that motivation to change and has an understanding to ask a question. In this case, a more direct answer will likely achieve that same change of behaviour without the need to delve deeper into delivering a more specific feedback method.
The Funnel Method can be used to efficiently work your way into some more detailed analysis for your team. The drawback is that you won’t get a statistical overlook on the whole game, but the importance of that depends on your confidence in understanding the game as you watch it.
It is perfect for someone who is confident in their sport specific knowledge and wants to deliver in greater detail. Also, it is a good method for people who enjoy looking into a game and dislike coding/tagging, as it means you can be time efficient and you look at different things after every game.
If want to stay up to date on more articles like this on how to improve how you use analysis, please subscribe on the right on your desktop or below if you’re reading this on your phone. Next week’s article will be on Player Led Analysis, investigating methods to increase learning opportunities and engage players more.