Video Analysis on a Budget

Video Analysis on a Budget

Video Analysis without breaking the Bank!

Performance Analysis often conjures up images of specialist coaches working on laptop computers and, where the budget allows this will usually be the case. There is however everyday equipment available, that won’t break the bank, that can be used to provide useful information to help players and teams identify areas to work on in training.

My one warning here; while the lack of specialist video analysis software doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t do a good analysis job, the time needed will increase dramatically. A good working relationship with the head coach is essential so as you make best use of your limited time.

Notational Analysis

This is by far the cheapest method of analysis and if done correctly can certainly give you some very useful information to work with. It is worth mentioning that notational analysis can be done live during a game and without having the game recorded, although if you have the game recorded you can analyse in much more depth afterwards.

There are many different forms that notational analysis can take but the two most popular are frequency tables and Schematics (check out this video for more on Schematics).

  • A frequency table is a simple case of creating a table based sheet and ticking off each event as it happens.
  • A Schematic on the other hand involves plotting what happened on the pitch, this method gives you a more graphical representation of the events.

Notational Analysis, especially when done live, is very time sensitive, the action won’t wait for you to record everything you need. Be selective in what you look for, it is better to record 5 things accurately than 25 inaccurately. Because of the time pressure you need to come up with some simple techniques to get as much information as possible in as short a time as possible.

In this example (below) you will see that as well as recording where on the pitch an event has happened I have also recorded some information using a symbol and used the player number to give me even more information.

These little combinations will mean you will get a good account of what happened in the game as well as who performed well. Don’t be afraid to mix and match the methods above. There is no reason why your notational analysis sheet could not be split in half, with one section being used for frequency stats and the other for a schematic of one particular aspect of play.

It’s not what you said, it’s the way you said it!

We’ve all heard this statement at least once in our life. Equally as popular is the statement that body language constitutes 70% of communication. With both these statements in mind is vital that you consider, not just what you collect but, how you deliver it. I would always work off the principle that a summary of the match should fit on a single page and be as visually appealing as you can make it.

I have written about the example below before but I think it is a powerful overview of the game. In this case the analyst has picked the 8 key stats that quickly summarize the game. These stats aren’t difficult to collect and nearly all of them could be collected without having to re-watch the game on tape.

This presentation is done with excel; the data can be copied into excel from your notational analysis sheet and with a little bit of practice and adaptation for your particular sport there is no reason why you couldn’t produce something like this. The great thing about using a programme like excel is that once you have done this once it should just be a matter of copying and pasting the stats each week, the formula will take care of the rest. Don’t worry too much if you can’t get it to look exactly like above, the point is to look at ways to improve your presentation, not to be a graphic designer.

(Too much) Video kills the players attention!

If you want to add real value to a team you will need to look beyond simply copying the entire game to DVD and handing to the manager. This is a really cumbersome method of analysis and offers the coaches no easy way to show certain clips back to the players. Even when coaches and players try to watch the video they will spend more time trying to find the relevant clips than actually going through them with the players. In this case video analysis becomes more work than it’s worth.

There are free, simple to use packages that can help you cut a selection of clips and burn them to DVD. For example you could take out all the corners in a game and burn them to a separate DVD. This means when the players and management sit down, all the corners play one after the other and there is no time lost looking for the relevant clip.

Windows Movie Maker: I have often used this software for simple analysis work. It allows you cut clips, add titles and transitions and you can even put a soundtrack on top of your analysis if you need to. It comes installed on most PC laptops for free – if it’s not on you can download it here. If you need a little more help learning the basics check out this video.

I Movie: iMovie is the MAC version of Windows movie maker. It comes as standard on most MAC computers and is an easy to use video editing software designed for beginners. Again check out YouTube for some tutorials if you need help getting started. I did a quick search and found 3,000.

If you are unsure what to look for or just want to save yourself some time you could always use something simple like the sheet on the right. Chances are the manager is going to watch the full game anyway so why not hand him this sheet with the DVD, that way the manager can record the events he wants to show to the team and by writing down the time they happened it will save you having to find them all over again.

And Finally…

Having limited (or no) resources is not an excuse to do nothing. For absolutely free everybody could be doing some form of notational analysis. To make this more appealing to players and management spend some time and energy with Excel, this will make your analysis look much more professional and engaging.

Videoing the game can add huge weight to your analysis. Simply having the tape to go  back over will enhance your notational analysis work as you have more time to collect information. Start to become familiar with some editing software, you will never be able to replicate the same results as if you add specialist software, but there is no reason why you couldn’t clip small sections of the game (e.g. set-pieces) each week.

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