I study Sport Performance Analysis at Cardiff Met. When I tell people they often haven’t got a clue what that involves – let me explain!
Sports performance analysis is the process of observing and recording individual or team sports and identifying any significant aspects of performance. We use lots of techniques to do this but the use of video is a huge part of our work.
Areas of strong performance can be highlighted and used to encourage athletes to repeat these performances. For example, if a football team carrying out successful tactics whilst attacking and scores a great goal, we can use video to explain exactly how those tactics worked, so they can be used again. Similarly, areas of unsuccessful performance can be acknowledged and improved on.
This objective information helps coaches and athletes to improve their performances as long as it’s valid and reliable – and that’s what we’re learning to be. We might give quantitative feedback such as statistics (for example percentage of shooting accuracy) and/or qualitative feedback where we’d show video clips.
Performance analysis uses a lot of technology to measure different types of performance, such as in tactical analysis or technical evaluation. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are often used to measure player movements whilst in competition and/or training. This provides beneficial information about the physical demands of the sport and can help coaches in making important decisions about future practice and training. Player tracking systems have also been used to help prevent injury, as they can provide an insight into the standard distance players should be travelling during a match relevant to their position.
On the performance analysis course, alongside lead lectures, practical sessions in the laboratories enable you learn about the various programmes and systems used to carry out the analysis. Whilst undertaking the work experience module, placements can be found easily within the many university sports teams, or you can go to other teams/organisations outside of Cardiff Met.
This is a prime opportunity to apply all the theoretical knowledge you learn in first year. You will develop your own professional practice by working closely alongside the coaches and players to help them improve performance. Working in a sporting environment can really help improve your employability by developing your as technical skills, communication skills and ability to work well under pressure. Managing large amounts of data also becomes natural to you on the course as you learn how to work with statistics and how to best present them in a way in which the coach can interpret.
The best part of being an analyst is that you get to travel with the team to all of their matches – you get to carry out your analyst duties whilst at the same time as offering support on the sidelines!
Looking for more like this? Check out our other posts by sport students at Cardiff Met, or watch our video on sport courses: