Tips for Evaluating and Optimising Your Rugby Performance Analysis Workflows

By Darren Lewis

16-July-2020 on Tips

5 minute read

“We’ve always done it this way” is a phrase I’ve been guilty of using in the past but which I now dread to hear as a genuine answer to a question. That’s not to say existing practices are always ineffective, but I don’t believe this is a strong enough reason to continue doing something in a particular way…just because.

 

You should challenge yourself, open your mind to change and be in a constant state of evaluation and optimisation. Here are a few tips to help you do this.

 

Note: Although my sport is rugby, I believe these tips are relevant to any sport where there are elements of performance analysis.

1. Evaluate Constantly

 

The real test of any rugby analysis workflow is using it on a regular basis. This will give you an idea of any potential sticking points in your processes or allow you to see areas that perhaps may not be as smooth and efficient as you’d like.

 

 

Establishing how often workflows are used and their importance provides a good guide as to the priority level for unpacking and re-evaluation. It’s very common that rugby analysis workflows are linked together, so approaching things with the aim of streamlining them can save you time in the long run. Even if you save thirty seconds by making one adjustment, the sum of those thirty seconds over the duration of a week or a season will add up.

 

When you do allocate time to re-evaluation, you might find that you don’t need to change anything. This can be rewarding and the exercise of looking back into the moving parts of your processes can be valuable nonetheless.

 

2. Keep Things Clear and Simple

 

Be sure that your workflows accomplish something useful and purposeful. Workflows that don’t have a clarity of purpose are usually the ones that are over-complicated and if you’re unclear about what you are trying to achieve, it will be harder to simplify.

 

 

The chances are that you may end up overthinking or developing something that is more complicated than it needs to be which can often backfire in the long run.

 

3. It’s Good to Talk

 

Interpersonal skills are hugely important to the work of an analyst, especially when re-evaluating working processes.

 

Talk to people to discover usability issues with the analysis software workflows you’ve developed. That could be discussing a coach’s registering workflow, asking players for feedback on how to simplify Dashboards or Presentations or having conversations with other analysts in your department that may work in different areas.

 

A collaborative approach to working more efficiently is usually the most productive way to identifying the blind spots and rectifying them.

 

 

Conversations between people who have a similar understanding of the types of problems that need solving and tools available can be extremely constructive.

 

On the other hand, sharing methods or processes you have developed with someone who doesn’t share the same frame of reference as you could lead them to asking a great question or making an observation you hadn’t even considered, and an “a-ha” moment.

 

Talking through a sticking point or problem out loud is something I find hugely beneficial in leaping any hurdles that may pop up.

 

4. Think Outside the Box

 

One area we were able to optimise was our post-match data checks. Tom (one of the analysts in my department) created a dashboard that was used as a quick check on all the registering conditions that make up our team data set to ensure they are correct. This immediately points us to any registration errors that may have occurred during the pressure of live registration and is a different way to use a dashboard other than its primary use of data visualisation.

 

 

5. Make the Time

 

The reality is that there isn’t enough time to review and re-evaluate every single thing every week or month. But if you take the time and choose even just one day a season to thoughtfully reconsider your processes, you’ll be all the better for it, for sure.

 

 

 

If you’re thinking about changing your video analysis set-up or need some further advice about re-evaluating your workflows, we are always here to help and advise you. Get in contact today at info@nacsport.com for an informal chat or to arrange a demo.

 

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