The success of the Olympics has undoubtedly cast an eye over the role of the performance analyst in sporting success. The Performance Analyst in Sport has rapidly become a standalone profession and there is a growing need to develop a set of industry standards, qualifications and continual professional development programmes to support the profession at all levels and not just the ‘elite’.
While those practicing in the profession share a common interest in enhancing sport performance through analysis, there is a lack of academic and vocational opportunities. There is a ‘meaty masters’ degree specific to performance analysis for those following an academic route and seeking to work at the elite level, and a host of modules and units within qualifications and learning programmes that also focus or touch on the topic.
For the role of Performance Analyst to gain credibility as a standalone profession, then there is a need to recognise those working at the grass roots and intermediate levels as well as the ‘elite’ level. Those working at the very important development levels of sport are more likely to seek vocational routes to learn and demonstrate competence relevant to the level they work at. I personally spent 2 years developing a vocational related level 3 Award in Sport Performance Analysis that has attained recognition from an Ofqual awarding body who provide an endorsement and certification for the qualification. While the programme has had great success, it is only scratching at the surface of requirements.
Continual Professional Development (CPD)
CPD for me is the most disjointed component of our industry. Regardless of the level you practice at, we all need CPD events to grow our knowledge and share practice.
There are a host of people that should be commended for their efforts in bringing practitioners together. This site along with LinkedIn Groups, Facebook pages and the recent launch of MCFC analytics in partnership with Opta are all great strides towards shared practice. Having said that, these informal or in part formal ‘talking shops’ are good initial models but they have a limited shelf life if left to drive the industry forward on their own. Standalone professions within industries need independence, focus, common aims and a mechanism to drive the industry standards, educate, gain credibility and challenge application.
Opportunity or False Hope?
From our ‘talking shops’ (as I put it early) that provide a loose and mostly informal collaboration intended to raise profile and share practice, we should be able to give birth to a formal body or network to share good practice, educate and train, to lobby and advise where appropriate, to agree a set of standards for our profession and take control of the future evolution of performance analysis in sport at all levels.
The profession of Performance Analyst is very much still in its infancy and therefore an opportunity exists to develop a professional body to inspire those working in and seeking to work in the profession.
The recent sporting success maybe an opportunity and launch pad, or is it just false hope?