Nacsport Button Templates: Everything You Need to Know

By Duncan Ritchie

14-April-2021 on Tips

22 minute read

The Button Template is one of the absolute fundamentals of video analysis with Nacsport. It provides the basis of your analysis and dictates the quantity and quality of the data you collect.


The creation of a new Button Template can also be one of the trickiest parts of your analysis work, especially if you’re fairly new to the discipline. Not because it’s difficult to create - on the contrary, we pride ourselves on how easy and intuitive the Nacsport interface is to use - but because Nacsport is so customisable and gives you so much freedom that it can be difficult to know where to begin!


And that’s why we’ve created this post. There has been a lot written about the creation of Button Templates over the years. Hints, tips, tutorials and some great advice from experts in the field. We wanted to bring all this together into one comprehensive article to inform and inspire you.


From creating your first Template to advanced tools such as Graphic Descriptors, Clustered Buttons and Panel Flows, whether you are an analysis expert or an absolute beginner, we’re sure there’s something here for everyone.


So, let’s get started…



The Basics: What Is a Button Template?


How Many Buttons Can You Create?


Creating Your First Button Template


What to Include in Your Template


Advanced Button Template Tools


Good Examples of Button Templates


Any Questions?


The Basics: What Is a Button Template?


Basically speaking, the Button Template is your video analysis interface. While you are watching a video (or analysing live, which we’ll talk about later) you press these buttons to “tag”, “mark” or “register” actions on the video. This creates short video clips based on these actions and adds information to a database for later analysis.


Let’s take a look at a Button Template as an example…

Nacsport Strikers Button Template


This template has been designed to analyse strikers in a football team and there are several basic types of button here that we should highlight so you can understand the terminology throughout this article.




These are the main actions that we want to analyse. Goal, Through Ball, Penalty, Rebound and all the other hexagonal buttons are our main actions in this template. Clicking these will tag these actions on the video creating a short clip of around 10 seconds, though this is customisable to your needs.




All the other buttons (all those with red dots) on this template are Descriptors. These buttons basically describe the action. For example, if we press the following combination of buttons:


Goal > Left Foot > Top Right


This will tag all goals that a striker scored with his left foot in the top right corner of the goal. By doing this, we can narrow down analysis parameters we want to look at in the next phase.


These actions will also be stored in the Data Matrix, where we can filter the actions to see very specific moments of the match.


Descriptors can either be added manually or automatically, depending on your needs. For example, the 1st and 2nd Half buttons are, once activated, added automatically every time you click on a Category.


Graphic Descriptor


The picture of the football field is what we call a Graphic Descriptor. We use this to add XY data to our Category so that we can see exactly where on the field the action happened. This data can then be used to create heatmaps, movement maps and other things.


We’ll go into more detail on this later in the article.


How Many Buttons Can You Create?


The number of buttons you can create entirely depends on the Nacsport program you are using:


  • Basic: Maximum 25 buttons. Categories only.


  • Basic+: Maximum 50 buttons. Mix of Categories and Descriptors.



If you’re using Basic and feel a bit limited by the lack of Descriptor buttons, remember that we offer an upgrade service where you can move to another program by simply paying the difference.


Also, if you're a novice analyst, we offer a Starter Course in either football, basketball or hockey which will teach you all about the creation of Button Templates and many other fundamental aspects of video analysis with Nacsport. Click the link below to sign up.



Creating Your First Button Template


We published this article on creating your first button template a few years ago...but all the advice it contains still holds true today.


  1. Start with pen and paper. Check out this video from our friends at AnalysisPro, then watch Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.



  1. Use different colours and shapes.


  1. Change button sizes.


  1. Use inactive buttons.



  1. Follow the chain of notation.


  1. Make good use of pictures and photos.


  1. Assign hotkeys to your buttons.


  1. Use the grid to organise your template.


  1. Include exclusions. Useful for doing tasks such as measuring ball possession.



  1. Utilise the layering options to organise your template logically.


If you’re completely new to video analysis with Nacsport, we recommend that you begin with a simple exercise such as the measuring ball possession one mentioned above. This will allow you to get a feel for the software by creating a simple template and seeing how it relates to other environments in the software such as the Dashboard and Data Matrix.



What to Include in Your Template


As we said at the beginning of the article, Nacsport gives you an unprecedented level of freedom when it comes to your analysis. What Categories and Descriptors you include in your template is completely up to you.


And this is why stage 1 in the previous section is so important. Planning is needed. Sit down with a piece of paper and a pen and brainstorm what you need to include. Talk to team members and coaching staff about their needs. Create as comprehensive a template as possible.


Yep, this can be overwhelming, which is why, in this article from last year, we gave you 22 ideas for things to include in your Template.


You don’t have to cram everything in there, it’s just to give you some ideas. Here’s a summary of a the most common:


Generic Actions. Typical actions which happen during a match in any sport. Attack, defense, shot, steal, conversions. Generally speaking, all of these actions will be Category buttons.


Game Period. Descriptors saying when the action happened. 1st Half, 2nd Half, 0 - 15 minutes, 16 - 30 minutes, etc.


Teams. If you are analysing both teams at the same time during a match you can include a Descriptor for both Team A and Team B.


Players. It’s very common to have a Descriptor button for each player in the team. You can include a photo for each in the Template.


Nacsport Button Template for GAA


Possession. An analysis basic that we mentioned above.


Area of the Field. Use a Graphic Descriptor to say where the action happened. More on this later.


Set Pieces. Analyse dead ball situations such as corners, throw-ins, penalties, etc.


Transitions. How do teams react when transitioning from attack to defense and vise versa.


Type of Shot. Especially useful in sports where there are different points awarded for different shots. Think two and three pointers in basketball.


Current Score. Are the team winning or losing at the time of the tag and how does this affect their behaviour?


Every analyst has a distinct goal in mind when conducting an analysis and these are just a few of the most common types of buttons we’ve seen along the way. We repeat, it’s entirely up to you what you include in your analysis, but you should ensure that whatever you add to your template adds value to your analysis and to your team.


Advanced Button Template Tools


We’re now going to take a look at some of the more advanced features of the button template. Specifically, we’re going to look at Enhanced Graphic Descriptors, Clustered Buttons and Panel Flows.


Each of these features are available in the higher levels of Nacsport, typically from Scout onwards, although there may be some limitations on their use depending on the version you are using.


We’ll explain all here...


Enhanced Graphic Descriptors


nacsport enhanced graphic descriptors


Available in:


Scout. Limited functionality. Collect XY data and create 2 shapes in Timeline.


Pro. Limited functionality. Collect XY data, link coordinates and export data.


Elite. Full access. Collect data, create heat and movement maps, occupied surface area, etc.


Enhanced Graphic Descriptors allow you to collect XY coordinate data which can then be manipulated in various ways in order to enhance your analysis.



They are extremely easy to create and use. Add a graphic representation of the pitch to your Button Template, set the 0, 0 coordinate and tag the action by press on the relevant area of the field.



This will add a coordinate to the tagged Category which can then be used to create heatmaps, movement maps, show the occupied area and more in the Dashboard and Timeline.



An amazingly effective tool.


If you want more information, our colleagues at AnalysisPro hosted a webinar recently all about Graphic Descriptors. Well, worth checking out.


Clustered Buttons


Available in Pro and Elite.


Clustered Buttons allow you to add another level of organisation to your Button Template.


Basically, you create overlapping buttons which, when pressed, add various Category and Descriptor tags to your analysis.


This is a fantastic tool which can save the busy analyst a lot of time and improve the tagging aspect of your analysis work.


Check out this video for more information on this tool:



Panel Flows


Available in:


Pro. Maximum of three panels.


Elite. Unlimited panels.


Another tool which adds a high level of organisation to top flight Button Templates.


The Panel Flow feature allows you to create sequences of Button Templates which are connected to each other in a logical flow. When you press a Category on the first panel, it automatically moves to another panel where the relevant Descriptors are placed.


Watch this video to see how this works in practice:




Auto-Lists and Auto-Presentations


Available in Pro and Elite.


If we’re talking about time savers, we have to talk about the Auto-Lists and Auto-Presentation features in our professional level tools.


Assign this behaviour to your buttons and the tagged action and resultant video clip will automatically be added to either a list or presentation. Obviously, this saves an enormous amount of time for busy pro-analysts and it’s definitely something you’ll want to investigate.


This video tutorial will explain more:



Multiple Activation / Deactivation Links


Available in Elite.


In football, generally speaking (although there may be exceptions, such as own goals), there are no goals without shots. In a normal template, where you have a seperate Category for both Goals and Shots, you’d have to click twice on the template to get full registration. 


But with Multiple Activation / Deactivation Links, this is no longer the case.


Link Goal and Shot together so that when the first is pressed, the second is also registered. You can even set a delay between the two registers, as a shot usually comes a second or two before a goal.


You can also link a Category and a Descriptor. A goal is always good, right? So, we can link the Goal Category with the Good Descriptor.


All of these tools are designed to save you time. This video will show you how:



Good Examples of Button Templates


In this section, we’ll show you some examples of good looking Button Templates for various sports. We often receive pics from Nacsport users on our social media channels, so we’ll keep updating this section with some of the most stunning Templates we receive.


Feel free to use the images you see here to inspire your own creations.




Nacsport Button Template for Football


This is a fantastic looking template which is similar in design to the example we gave you at the start of this article. Instead of concentrating on strikers, this forms part of a Panel Flow template to analyse a full team.


Contains all our categories in the hexagonal buttons alongside a Graphic Descriptor for football. In the bottom right, there are individual buttons for each member of the team. These could be replaced with actual headshots of the players to individualise the template.




Nacsport Button Template for Basketball


A stunning template which includes all the elements needed to analyse a basketball game. Includes a Graphic Descriptor in the centre alongside buttons for various common basketball plays and individual Descriptors for each player.


Also contains Auto-Descriptors for each quarter of the game.




Nacsport Button Template for Rugby


This is the first panel in a Panel Flow series for analysing a rugby match. Contains some common Categories which would link to other panels in the sequence and individual buttons for each team member.


The Graphic Descriptor in the centre allows you to add XY coordinate data to the analysis.


Ice Hockey


Nacsport Button Template for Ice Hockey


A nice looking Button Template for analysing various aspects of an ice hockey match. There is no Graphic Descriptor here meaning that this template could easily be create in Nacsport Basic+ and upwards.


Contains Categories for common ice hockey plays, buttons for each individual player and Auto-Descriptors for match periods. 


Any Questions?


So, that’s a summary of all the Button Template resources we have at our disposal at the moment. 


This is a living document and we’ll update it regularly when we have new articles. Think of this page as your one pot stop for everything related to this fundamental part of video analysis.


Feel free to bookmark it and check back when you need to. All the links included here lead to other pages or videos related to this subject.


If you have any questions about Button Templates, please get in contact with us through any of our social media channels. You can find us on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. We’d love to see examples of your own Button Templates, so please tag or DM us in any pictures you’d like to share with the community.


Until next time...thanks for reading!

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