Video Analysis is key to success in professional sport. Try the new LineoutCoach online video analysis service today.
On a Monday morning, following the weekend’s game, rugby players go to their team media room, turn on a computer, load up a specific software program, like Sports Code or Dartfish and click on their name. They will see every moment of their own contribution from the weekend’s game. This means they will see all their positive actions, such as line breaks, completed passes, tackles made. They will also see video analysis of the instances that did not go so well for them, such as missed tackles, knock ons, poor running lines and so on. This is a prime example of the increased use of technology in rugby, in fact in all professional sports.
The old saying, “it’s taking part that counts” is out the window when it comes to professional or semi professional sports. Professional sports teams are businesses. Businesses cannot survive without making a profit. The way sports businesses make a profit is by being successful on the pitch. To be successful on the pitch, means incorporating and embracing any technology that will get the best out of your players. When it comes to profit being made, sports businesses will invest heavily in the use of technology. Whether that is GPS tracking systems for their players, video analysis software or iPads – the increased use of technology in sport is apparent. I, for one, am all for it.
Video Analysis on the field
Nowadays, we see technology in sports in lots of different ways. One of the big fears that comes with implementing technology in sport is that it will slow down the game and make it less enjoyable for the spectator. There is some merit in this argument but I believe that the results from some sports have proved that little time is lost. The most apparent uses of technology to check the outcome of a previous play is in rugby, tennis, cricket and american football.
American Football has long led the way with the use of technology. Coaches are often in sitting in boxes, with an aerial view of the action below. Computers open in front of them, they are analyzing the game while communicating with the pitch side coaches, relaying their findings. American Football fans are used to the relative slow speed of the sport and there does not seem to be any issues with the use of technology slowing down the sport. It seems incomprehensible to imagine American Football without technology.
In recent years, rugby, the father of American Football, has started to adopt some of these technological advancements. In professional rugby games, a lot of the time we see the rugby coaches also sitting in a booth overlooking the play below. Video analysis plays a key part. Their Apple laptops are open in front of them and the game is constantly being analyzed in real time. Microphones are in use, communicating with the staff “on the ground” and messages are being sent back and forth. iPads are being used to at half time to show players certain plays that were either very good at exposing the opposition weaknesses, or plays which displayed their own team’s frailties.
The use of technology is everywhere. The most obvious place is with the referees. In American Football there are numerous referees who work together to ensure that the call on the play is the absolute correct call. As rugby continues to grow as a professional sport, less and less is being trusted to the referee’s interpretation. This is evident in the televised match official who is usually called upon by the referee to check if there were any reasons why he cannot award a try. The overuse of this system has led to a slow down of the game, but rugby fans seem to have taken this use of technology in their stride.
Surely it is better to get the decision correct, even if that means waiting 90 seconds for the correct verdict? I would think so. Then, why has soccer been so slow to introduce goal line technology? It seems absurd to think that soccer officials believe that this would slow down the game. If anything, it would speed things up as the referee usually ends up being surrounded by players who all want to argue their case. This action in itself delays the game and undoubtedly irritates the referee. Why not just make the decision definitive. By placing a microchip in the soccer ball and sensors in the goal, a small beep in the referee’s earpiece would inform him immediately whether or not a goal has been scored. Simple. This has been burning issue for many football (soccer) fans for quite some time and it’s good to hear that these technological steps will be implemented soon.
Tennis and cricket both implement a system for checking a previous play, called Hawkeye. If I am being very critical and honest, I have to admit that yes, it does slow down the game. It the slow down noticeable? No. I believe that it is better for players, supporters and referees alike to get the correct decision and if that means waiting for a few seconds so be it.
Video Analysis off the field
As a player, I was really only interested in reviewing my team’s and my own personal performance following a game. I did not give it much thought as to how the information I wanted, got onto the computer in the first place. As a coach, I now work on getting that information onto the computer. Video analysis is worth it’s weight in gold. It has only become available to the mass public in recent years with the unrelenting advancements in technology. More and more people have the ability to record sports, either on their phone, iPads or cameras. The studying of game footage is an integral part of any coach’s job.
In fact, as a coach, I spend far more time at my computer, analyzing rugby footage than I do with my team out on the pitch. Such is the importance of collecting, analyzing and measuring data, all with the view to provide personal feedback to players and to give my team a winning edge. Players learn by seeing. Having the ability to show a player something through video analysis he did very well or something that needs improvement is imperative to the player’s own development. Seeing our actions on video often gives us a very different version of the way we remember them. This is hugely important when it comes to learning technique in rugby. We may think that we are low in the scrums or at mauls, when in reality, the video analysis shows us that our body angles are far too high and very ineffective at generating momentum.
Technical video analysis can provide you with all the answers you seek as a coach or a player. It helps coaches review their tactics and holds players accountable for executing the tactics. Every little detail can be analyzed. If the line outs are not functioning, technical video analysis can see if it is a poor throw, a poor jump and lift or simply poor timing. More often than not, it is a combination of these three key areas and video analysis can reveal this to players.
When a player breaks through the defense and scorches up the pitch, the video analyst will review the play but rewind the video to 2-3 phases before the line break occurred. Carefully scrutinizing his defense, the analyst watches what happened in the lead up to the line break. If the defensive line was broken, someone did not do their job. The analyst needs to get this information so a player can be held accountable. It is not a witch hunt but remember, in professional sports, there is little room for error.
There are many ways of reviewing and analyzing a game of rugby. With software like Sports Code, every imaginable minute detail of the game can be broken down and analyzed. It really is incredible how much information can be attained from such video analysis. How this information is utilized by coaches and players can often be the difference between winning and losing.
Video Analysis online
Along with Sports Code, I use many other pieces of technology that allow me to carry out video analysis and study games. iMovie, YouTube, Coach’s Eye, Powerpoint, Final Cut and an iPad are all used regularly. I record training sessions and games and have built a large catalogue of rugby video footage that I constantly analyze. This educates me as a coach and ultimately allows me to serve my players more effectively. I do not profess to know everything about rugby and it is only a foolish coach who thinks he does. We are always learning. Technology has just allowed us to learn and communicate with players in a much more effective way.
I am delighted to announce that through the LineoutCoach site, I am now able to provide expert video analysis to help players and coaches reach their rugby potential. Using my professional game experience and my coaching knowledge, I review rugby footage and provide feedback on how to improve the technical aspects of you game.
Give us a try and let me help you reach your rugby potential….
Gavin Hickie, USA Rugby U20s Forwards Coach, is a former Ireland, Leinster and Leicester rugby player now based in California and taking rugby to the USA. He writes for RugbyMag.com and other publications when not coaching for Belmont Shore and blogging on lineoutcoach.com #busy