The game of association football or ‘Soccer’ as it’s known worldwide remains one of the most straightforward and simple games on the planet, writes Pete Kelly. Among field games its format is somewhat unique as it is continuous from start to finish interrupted only by injuries.
Preparation and performance analysis is therefore even more important as it affords the manager and their coaching team the only real tangible opportunity to make comprehensive interventions with the playing squads.
At the highest level there will be ‘in game analysis’ where the facilities and technology allows, so that the analyst can make a contribution at half time. For the most part however the key analysis efforts will concentre on previous games, upcoming games and the opposition in the competitive scenario. Video analysis can also be deployed with great effect in the development of young players and the evaluation of training and coaching programmes associated.
There are some shining lights in the firmament in the professional game and one of the brightest of all has been Southampton in the Premiership. Written of by many in recent years, they have continued to confound the critics and currently ride high in the league. The story at Southampton however is not about beating the Manchester United’s of this world – it’s about player development.
The academy at Southampton has an extraordinary record of identifying and developing the finest young talent. Gareth Bale, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Theo Walcott, Adam Lallana, Calum Chambers and Luke Shaw would be in any ‘whose who’ of great young players in the UK is the past few years – all products of the Southampton academy – reaping the rewards of their long term strategy.
Avenir Sports, Ireland’s leading performance and analysis and solutions company supplies Sportstec’s Gamebreaker software and in addition world class consulting and training.
Sportstec ‘S CEO, Phillip Jackson recently posted references to the Southampton revolution on LinkedIn. “Southampton have built a great structure and as Les Reed states…”we have great coaches, staff and facilities and it is all unpinned by SportsCode”.
In Ireland Avenir Sports supports the national teams at all levels – Brian McCarthy is Ireland’s chief analyst and Avenir works closely with him. Sue Ronan’s women’s squad, who have shown continuous improvement and are climbing in the world rankings utilise performance analysis as a key element of their preparations. Currently they are preparing for the year ahead with a training camp in La Manga.
A comprehensive plan for the development of the game in Ireland is currently being fine tuned by the FAI’s Performance Director Ruud Dokter and cornerstone of that will quality performance analysis.