Performance Analysis with the Slovenian National Football Team

By Dejan Kopasič

23-February-2022 on Users

17 minute read

Dejan Kopasič is a pioneer of video analysis in his home country of Slovenia. A qualified coach and self-taught analyst, Dejan has seen seismic changes in the discipline since becoming the person responsible for analysis in the Slovenian FA.

 

In this article, as well as talking to us through his working processes, Dejan talks us through these changes, showing how video analysis has gone from the fringes of football in this young sporting nation, to taking a much more central role in tactical decision making.

 

So, without further ado, here’s Dejan…

Index

 

1. The History of Video Analysis in Slovenia

2. Areas of Performance Analysis

3. Performance Analysis at the Slovenian FA

4. Opposition and Own Analysis

5. Training Analysis

6. Comparing Analysis in Slovenia to the Rest of the World

7. Technological Advancements in Performance Analysis

8. Education and Promotion of Video Analysis

9. Conclusion

 

The History of Video Analysis in Slovenia

 

 

Until a few years ago, the discipline of sports video analysis was practically unknown in Slovenia, and it was extremely rare to meet anyone who had even heard of it, let alone practised it professionally.

 

My own journey into video analysis began when I worked with the youth teams at Bravo and Olimpija, two clubs which form part of the Slovenian Premier League. At this time, we started to film the matches and, while our methods would be considered quite crude by today’s standards, it allowed us to perform a rudimentary analysis of the team, and occasionally even an opponent.

 

In 2014, I began to work with the Slovenian Football Association, where a big part of my job was video analysis. It was here that I began to develop my methods of analysis. I then went on to work under Luka Elsner (Slovenian football manager, currently head coach at Standard Liege) at Cypriot club Pafos FC, constantly improving my knowledge of the discipline.

 

Almost immediately after returning to Slovenia, I started a new job with the Slovenian FA as assistant coach and video analyst.

 

As far as I’m aware, at that time, I was literally the only coach in Slovenia that was dedicated to video analysis. Others have sprung up over time, but I was certainly at the vanguard of this movement.

 

Without a doubt, our methods of analysis were extremely primitive, but we adapted to a system where everyone would assist in filming in the games, from assistant coaches to team leaders. Video analysis was also severely underfunded at the time and we didn’t have access to dedicated software such as Nacsport, but this was the norm in this part of Europe at the time, and recent years have seen vast improvements.

 

Areas of Performance Analysis

 

 

To be honest, the term “video analysis” is a bit of a misnomer. In our country, as well as in the majority of the Western world, where sports analysis is undoubtedly in the ascendancy, the usual term is “performance analysis”, which covers all areas of sports analytics.

 

The two biggest areas are objective and subjective analysis.

 

Objective analysis includes a practically infinite number of statistical parameters which can be monitored in football. These include in-game statistics such as shots, tackles, assists and many other factors. But they also include training and fitness parameters such as distance travelled, speed, and acceleration.

 

Subjective analysis, on the other hand, involves using video analysis to recognise emergent tactical patterns in a game. This can be at an individual, group or team level. We monitor our own team during matches, of course, but we can also monitor training sessions and matches in which our opponents are involved.

 

In other countries, there are entire “sports science” departments which include both areas of performance analysis within their remit.

 

Performance Analysis at the Slovenian FA

 

analysing football at slovenian fa

 

In my post at the Slovenian FA, I am currently responsible for all aspects of video analysis. This means that, as well as working with the national team, I am also responsible for overseeing the education of coaches undertaking UEFA coaching licenses at B, A, and Pro levels. This is where many coaches get their first taste of video analytics, and also where Nacsport and KlipDraw are prevalent in their education.

 

Primarily, of course, my main duties lie with the men’s national team. I cover everything related to analysis. This includes the analysis of our own team and the opposition, as well as the filming and analysis of training sessions.

 

I am also involved with the junior teams, where I assist with the analysis matches wherever possible. This can sometimes be difficult as we don’t always have a regular schedule of international games. Typically, I will provide the opposition analysis and that of training sessions, while the coaches of each junior team will be responsible for the analysis of their own teams.

 

Recently, we have significantly strengthened our hardware capabilities, adding cameras and other filming equipment so that we can cover the needs of several different categories simultaneously.

 

One of the best things about using Nacsport is the speed in which it can be deployed, and the adaptability and usability of the program.

 

Opposition and Own Analysis

 

Matjaž Kek

 

Before squaring up to them for real, we analyse at least three of our opponent’s previous matches. The areas we concentrate on are the defensive phase, the attacking phase, transitions in both directions and, of course, set pieces.

 

In the defensive phase, we concentrate on the organisation of the lines and how they react to different situations. We also look at their playstyles in the high, middle and low defensive blocks.

 

In the attacking phase, we are interested in how they begin the build-up from the goalkeeper, how they move the ball forward, and how they get into scoring positions.

 

Transitions are also extremely important for seeing how the opposition reorganises itself when winning or losing the ball. We also look at moments of undefined possession, when the ball runs loose, and, of course, how they deal with set pieces, in both defensive and attacking situations.

 

analysis template slovenia

Related Content: Opposition Analysis at Liverpool FC

 

In addition to all of this, we also dedicate some time to individual analysis, where we highlight the characteristics of key opposition players in short videos. We usually send these short video clips directly to the players to review on their mobile phones or tablets.

 

When analysing our own team, I usually submit to the philosophy of the coaches. What this means is that I’m looking for patterns and plays where the head coach’s tactics are realised, and where, with the aid of video analysis, individual or team performance can be improved upon.

 

Of course, I’m also always on the lookout for key moments during a game where we can improve a player’s recognition of the situation and, generally, improve the play of the team as a whole.

 

This feeds into an individual analysis of each player, where we can reinforce what is required and expected of them during a game through visual feedback.

 

I use Nacsport to perform all of the analyses mentioned above, and also for creating the video presentations which will be passed on to players and coaches.

 

Training Analysis

 

Kek slovenia training

Related Content: Video Analysis for Training Sessions: Why and How to Do It

 

While match analysis is split between opposition and own analysis, training is almost exclusively focused on our own team.

 

Similar to what we mentioned above, the emphasis of a training analysis is to highlight and reinforce the desired movement and tactics which we expect to see during a match. We might also emphasise the desired outcomes of each training exercise, so everyone is one the same page.

 

To give an example, if we want the attackers to get deep into the opposition’s box, we can present a variety of clips which show where they did this well or where they need to improve. These clips can be taken from actual games or training sessions, the effect of the final video on the players is similar.

 

The aim of this is to show a player how they are meeting the expectations of any of the different coaches. Simply put, it makes the process faster and more efficient.

 

Comparing Analysis in Slovenia to the Rest of the World

 

slovenia in europe

 

While things are improving constantly, we must be honest and admit that, in Slovenia, we are far behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to performance analysis.

 

It’s no surprise that the current world-leaders in statistics and objective analysis in all sports are the Americans. If you’ve seen the movie Moneyball you’ll understand why. Their statistical analysis is second-to-none. 

 

Let me add an interesting fact about the American game. After studying the data, they strongly advise against the traditional high cross into the opponent’s area. Statistically speaking, it’s just not worth it. They are much more likely to recommend a low, driving cross or a simple pass back.

 

Western Europe leads the field in subjective analysis. Countries such as England, Spain, Germany or France are at the vanguard of both professional and technological development in this field.

 

Technological Advancements in Performance Analysis

nacsport on laptop

Video analytics is currently the fastest growing discipline in the field of football.

 

There are two areas which we can highlight here: hardware and software. In both areas, things are changing almost week by week.

 

If we’re talking about hardware, one of the big changes is the prevalence of “smart” cameras, which automatically follow the action on the field. It’s also now common to see drones buzzing over training complexes. Add to this fixed and mobile stations for filming matches, and apps for filming and analysing live on mobile devices, and you can see the constant evolution of video analysis hardware.

 

And it’s a similar story with software. New programs are appearing which contain a large number of video effects and animations, all designed to present video clips in a manner which is effective and understandable.

 

I have to say that, in this area, the Slovenian FA has been very generous recently. We now have access to some excellent software solutions which allow us to carry out our work in practically every area of performance analysis.

 

Nacsport is certainly a software suite that I would recommend to all video analysts, and it’s one that we use at every level of our analysis work.

 

Education and Promotion of Video Analysis

 

performance analysis course slovenia

Related Content: Official Nacsport Video Analysis Courses

 

There is currently no unified education system for video analysis at the UEFA level. When I started my career, I gained my knowledge mainly through experience. I spent many long nights in front of the computer and learned practically everything on the hoof.

 

It was only really with the onset of COVID that online training courses for video analysts became more prevalent. I now have practically every training certificate which means anything in the world of video analysis.

 

As well as this, and alongside two other analysts, I work on and promote a video analysis course which, in my opinion, is one of the best in the Balkans.

 

This course, by the Adria Football Institute, enables us to teach all aspects of video analysis. We impart our knowledge to those who don’t have experience in the field, allowing them to gain enough knowledge to work independently within 6 months.

 

During this time, the students will get to know some of the top video analysis platforms in the software market. As well as Nacsport, this also includes the use of InStat, who I’m also a regional representative for.

 

It’s my sincere hope that by promoting video analysis and educating people in this way, the discipline will be much more widely known throughout Slovenia and in the wider Balkans area.

 

dejan kopasic analyst slovenia

 

Conclusion

 

So, that’s all from Dejan for the moment. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to give us such a fascinating insight into Slovenian football.

 

As always, if you have any questions about anything you’ve read in this article, please don’t hesitate to get in contact with us through our website or on any of our social media channels.

 

Many thanks again to Dejan, and thanks to you, reader, for giving us your attention.

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