Module 1 of 5
In Progress

What is Performance Analysis & Why Do We Use It?

With the growth and added influence of technology in sport, teams and coaches are using it to gain a competitive advantage. Most professional football clubs around the world now use video and stats to improve the coaching process. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Pre-game preparations & opposition analysis
  • Post-game analysis
  • Long-term player development
  • Player recruitment
  • Analyzing performances has become an essential part of the working week for most clubs and has become a specialist discipline in itself known as Performance Analysis.

On a very basic level, the purposes of analyzing performances objectively and adopting an evidence-based approach to coaching can be explained with two concepts:

Accurate recall from memory post-game is around 30-40%, and the human brain fills the ‘gaps’ in our memory with assumptions. This is known as The Misinformation Effect.

In order to improve or maintain positive performances, a Coach or Player needs to know why they were good (so they can repeat it!) or why they weren’t so good, so they can improve this area.

Here’s two videos from experts in the field of human memory discussing the Misinformation Effect.

Take the time to watch them and think about how this may have an effect on how you remember things post-game.

As we progress through the course modules, we’ll read and hear from different sources about the issues associated with relying on memory or the ‘coaches eye’ to analyze a team or player performance.

Eventually we’ll build a system of Performance Analysis to drive evidence-based decision making to help make more informed decisions.

Here’s how the English Institute of Sport explains Performance Analysis:

“Performance Analysis is a specialist discipline involving systematic observations to enhance performance and improve decision making, primarily delivered through the provision of objective statistical (Data Analysis) and visual feedback (Video Analysis).

Performance Analysis is driven by a sports needs to understand and improve tactics, technique, and movement, achieved through the delivery of real and lapsed time objective feedback. Discipline focuses on enhancing interventions within the coaching process to elicit a performance gain and augment learning.

Essentially informing the athlete and coaches what actually happened as opposed to what they perceive to be happening.

To achieve repeated success, coaches and athletes must know and understand what they have done to make them successful or unsuccessful and make the right decisions at the right time.

However research shows that on average, athletes and coaches can only recall 30% of performance correctly. Performance analysis helps with the remaining 70% by providing the facts of what happened which makes it a vital component for athlete improvement.”

Where possible, we believe it’s important to show professional clubs using the methodology included in APFA courses. As a result we have expert contributors and external media, like articles and videos giving insights into the inner workings of clubs.

Here’s a piece written on Leicester City that details their use of analysis, and the importance they place on it throughout the club:

Inside Leicester City

Dan Altman has worked with Swansea City, D.C. United and consulted with a host of other top-flight professional clubs before creating his online recruitment tool – Smarter Scout. This is what he had to say regarding the human eye vs data:

Derby County’s Head of Analysis explains how the analysis process has evolved in recent years:

At the time of recording the video’s below, The New England Revolution were the first team in Major League Soccer to use data to make more informed decisions about performances and preparing for the opposition. This is now considered common practice throughout professional football.

A simple Google search on data analysis in football will bring up thousands of videos and articles looking at clubs, software providers and success stories. Man City, Liverpool, Brighton and Brentford are generally considered the Premier League leaders in this area.

But what’s commonly accepted from those working at successful clubs in this area, is culture. In recent years Brentford and Brighton are two excellent examples.

Here’s contributor Oliver Gage, who explains how it can impact success:

While this article on Tim Sherwood’s time as Head Coach of Tottenham is now outdated, it does serve as a good case study on how poor performances will eventually catch up with a team over time.

A more proactive approach to measuring performances, and using analysis to impact decision-making, training and player feedback may have seen things go better in the long-term for Sherwood.

This is exactly the process we will be designing throughout this course.

Lucky Tim Sherwood – Tottenham Hotspur

Twenty First Group are a world leading consultancy with clients in many top leagues including the Premier League. This piece from them is a very clear explainer on processes vs outcomes.

The Thing About That Win

Professional Head Coaches Wilmer Cabrera & George Gelnovatch gave us their insights into why they use an evidence based approach to evaluating performances:

Lucy Rushton and Sam Lawson explain their roles and the influence their work has on the coaching process at their club’s.

Oliver Gage also delivered a webinar on the influence of had during his time working for the University of Virginia. This will be featured throughout the course.

Here’s a short piece.

And finally, a players perspective.

Here’s Albert Rusnak, who’s had a very successful career in MLS, discussing the effect Performance Analysis had on his development at Man City, where he was a youth player.

The task for this module is to explain why we think it’s important to adopt an evidence-based approach and how this can influence our behavior.

Please add this to our personal plan, copy the answer below and discuss with others.


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  1. its important. ithelps you plan for the future, as well as improve on the things that need it, as there is always room for improvement in football.

  2. evidence based approach is very important because it helps the coaches to make more accurate decisions based on physical evidence instead of assuming what might have happened. its influences our behavior positively because it shows that you cannot rely on your naked eye and your memory only, you need to except another point of view from physical evidence.

  3. Evidence-based approach is very important for knowing the facts on the pitch, with all information we get from that can help us to improve and learn from the past. this can be influence in our behaviour of decision making

  4. While the Eye-test is still an important part of analyzing a team’s play, adding in an evidence-based approach alongside the eye-test can help to solidify why certain aspects of the team are working and why they may not be It allows you to broaden the impact of your data as opposed to contradicting it. By utilizing both you can actually gameplan specifics against opposing teams and build off your team’s own strengths.

  5. it is important to adopt an evidence-based approach to performance analysis because it gives an objective rather than assumptive assessment. The numbers do not lie.
    This can influence our behavior .in making proactive decisions for better results in subsequent encounters

  6. Having objective data is critical due to our subjective natures which is entirely based on our own experiences. Whenever you rewatch a game that you coached live it’s always different in your interpretation. Having objective data to guide your thought process and then where you go with it is invaluable.

  7. With ony 20-30% information retention. Evidence based analysis, helps to fill in the rest.
    This can help a player or team to improve in both good and bad areas of their game, which improves the players performance over time.
    When my son and I analysised his Games via video, we would pick events within the game and ask ‘what thought process can you remember was happening, did you see the full picture happening in front of you’, can we improve next time on the outcome of the event

  8. I heard many times from pro coaches the following sentence:
    I don’t recruit players for his data, but I don’t recruit players without checking his data.
    It is a great opportunity to analyze players data to develop some areas where our eyes are not able to analyze.

  9. People are generally more inclined to believe what they see than what is abstract. This is where an evidence-based approach comes in, giving the players, coaches, and staff the ability to review performance using evidence for prescriptive feedback.

  10. Coaches can only retain 20-30% of information from match. Therefore, it is important to have a data and evidence based approach because it can help the club, staff, analysts and players better-interpret what’s happening in and out of possession and why.

  11. I believe that it’s important to have a data based, evidence based approach because it can help the club see what’s happening in a bigger picture. Coaches only being able to retain 20-30% of information from a game – this can help the club, staff, analysts dive deeper not only into what’s happening, but as well as why it’s happening, on both sides of the ball.