Leaving a Legacy with Limited Funding

Posted on 14 August 2012 by Josh Bryan


As we now find ourselves lost in a post Olympic depression, having to discover that there is in fact life going on outside of London and the BBC channels, we can look back over arguably one of the best Olympics in history to think of the lessons that can be learnt. London 2012 was a huge success both on and off the field. The organisers excelled in creating fantastic Olympic venues, gathering the most vibrant volunteers and providing the opportunity for some great sporting moments. London 2012 wanted to inspire a generation and leave a legacy. At this early stage, I think it’s safe to say that we all feel inspired and that children have been excited and entertained by new sporting role models from Team GB and other nations who differ vastly from the “celebrity” reality TV stars they have had to endure previously. So, with inspiration amongst our generations growing and destined to grow more when we witness the fantastic Paralympic athletes showing us that impossible is nothing, we are left to see whether the games can leave a legacy.


Participation levels in sport are sure to rise around Great Britain, so the starting blocks are in place. Once potential future stars are involved in sport, the most important step is to then keep them involved with enthusiastic and high quality coaching and support. From there, athletes with potential can be identified and nurtured in the high-performance systems. The government has committed to maintaining funding (read more) for Olympic and Paralympic athletes that will see them through to Rio in the hope that similar success at those games will show how London 2012 did indeed leave a legacy for an inspired generation.


Baroness Sue Campbell, Chair of UK Sport, said that the funding “signals to our children and the future generation of British Olympians and Paralympians that we are serious about sport and high performance sport in the UK and that if you show the talent, commitment and determination to aspire to be the best in the world then there is a high performance system in place to nurture your potential to be the best”. UK Sport handles the distribution of funding to different sports and is committed to a “no compromise” approach as it focuses on investing in potential medallists, so sports that didn’t do so well at London 2012 could be struggling to make ends meet. But are there ways in which we can still provide high-performance environments on a lower budget and also before athletes are accepted into the high-performance systems? We know that the most important thing for developing athletes from the grass roots is high standards of coaching and surrounding support. So how can we share these powerful processes from the high-performance systems in a simple, affordable fashion to ensure that our athletes are experiencing sufficient support and standards of coaching which are not far removed from the high-performance set-ups?


In a previous blog, Analysis for All, it was highlighted how one sports science support mechanism, Performance Analysis, can be shared by the elite teams and implemented amongst the grass roots teams by using affordable online sharing athlete management platforms and timeline based analysis software. So can a similar powerful and affordable framework be implemented for sharing and utilising top quality coaching practices? The answer is yes.


As we have seen in other people’s blogs (1,2,3,4) and experiences, Team Performance Exchange (TPE) is a hugely powerful tool for sharing/viewing files online, communicating with your team and keeping track of player development. Bearing this functionality in mind, coaches can continue to assist their athletes when they are not together by sharing clips and communicating their coaching knowledge around these, questioning athletes to improve understanding and keeping track of their improvements online. This tracking of improvements is not only a beneficial tool for the coach involved, but also the selectors at the higher levels. By having access to this data, they can compare athlete’s improvements against each other, norm values and average values over periods of time to identify “potential medallists”. So, TPE is a powerful option for developing our players in a secure online environment, but we need the ability to create these clips to share. One of the most affordable and powerful options is Nacsport’s timeline based analysis software which would be of great use for team events and tactical analyses, but we could also look at other affordable and powerful software such as Siliconcoach, which would be hugely beneficial for technical and biomechanical analyses. I will invite Ferg D’Ardis to provide a comment below this blog to provide you with more information about Siliconcoach, in particular their new online analysis solution Siliconcoach Live.


Looking back at Nacsport, starting at just £130, coaches can use the Basic system to capture video and create powerful clips of gold dust to share with their players. Examples of this software and its uses have been shown in previous blogs (1,2), but here I will discuss how the software can benefit coaches in another manner to develop coaching practices.


Nacsport has a standalone software called Training, which is also included within their analysis software from the Basic up to the Elite versions. Training allows users to create and organise their training sessions by creating graphics of drills using existing external images to complement the built-in drawing tools if required, grouping these drill graphics into different exercises (warm-up, skills etc.) with accompanying video examples, arranging these exercises into a whole session with further information like equipment, participants etc. and then putting these sessions into the Training calendar. As you can imagine, coaches can use this tool to organise their sessions and keep track of what they have developed or plan to develop. A powerful functionality is to then share these sessions in a printed form or to send them to other users with Nacsport software. This sharing is how high-performance coaches could enable grass roots coaches to utilise their proven methods to ensure that potential athletes develop around the highest-standards of coaching practice. For sports that want to check on how coaches are developing potential athletes, they can track the sessions that are being provided to athletes with this sharing of sessions in the other direction too (coaches to assessors).


This is an example of how I think Performance Analysis can play its part in leaving a legacy after London 2012. We must continue to look for the ways in which we can develop and implement our powerful processes with a combination of affordable software to develop our industry across all participation levels. We must also look at the many different ways that software and practices can benefit us in more ways than one. For example, having an intervention and connection to a young athlete by looking through their clips, stats and performance levels will not only benefit that athlete directly, but it can also become a talent identification process for national governing bodies who can sit over the top and monitor such implementations, perhaps using TPE for example, to quickly fast track potential talents and accelerate their progression through the high performance systems.


Analysis IS for all and can be easily implemented using the lessons learned through consultancies with different organisations from the elite level down to the grass roots, which can then also be applied to coaching environments and practices. So, with limited funding, a combination of affordable solutions gives an example of how we can ensure that a legacy is there for our inspired generation by providing support, communication and the sharing of proven high-performance methods.

10 Comments For This Post

  1. Chris Baker Says:

    Excellent write-up! You’ve raised a really valid point about how affordable analysis systems (such as Nacsport) can be used to ensure good coaching practice, in turn keeping the next generation of Olympian’s enthused. Giving a young athlete some ownership in being able to revisit some footage or some statistics from a training session or match is an important step to improving performance. Given the highly affordable solutions available to create and share clips, the coach-athlete relationship becomes increasingly more dynamic and exciting.

  2. Josh Bryan Says:

    Thanks Chris. I think encouraging athletes from a young age to get involved with Performance Analysis will be a huge benefit for all sports. If athletes learn how to be more critical of their own and other’s performances, which can be aided largely by analysis software, coaches and analysts, I believe they will master their skills and tactical awareness faster as they are more informed and also learning intrinsically. Anything which can aid player development and coach-athlete relationships is surely worth teams looking at in order to work out possible solutions or combinations of solutions which will be of most benefit to them. If we develop our industry to share best practices and experiences with each other (hopefully this website can serve as a catalyst for that), we can ensure that we are all using powerful processes and workflows regardless of the budget or software available to us.

  3. Ferg d'Ardis Says:

    Thank you for the invitation to comment on this blog. I guess no matter what I say it will seem like self promotion for Siliconcoach but we do believe we have a clear vision of what are the best technologies for improving sports performance. We don’t attempt to do it all as there are some good systems out there for some parts so we have focused on what we have experience in and think are valuable, namely technique analysis and coach education.

    Firstly technique analysis. We have been providing tools for this for over 15 years. Back then the hardware was incredibly expensive (over $20k) and it was not until FireWire cameras and laptops became reasonable priced did it become affordable for some coaches but still there was only limited access for athletes. We tried connecting our desktop software to the web about 7 years ago but the web was just not there back then. The explosion of You Tube really pushed up bandwidth (or visa versa!) and all of a sudden a totally web based analysis system was viable so we created analysis tools in Siliconcoach Live Because of its ease of access there is now a much bigger market so the price is about $500/year for a coach and 19 athletes to upload, analyst and discus video clips from many sources including other analysis software and our own desktop and mobile uploaders.

    The need for coach education is obvious but previously many coaches courses were run once or twice a year in certain towns. Now using Siliconcoach Live’s comprehensive online course delivery system much of it can be taught online and then everyone can come together and use that valuable time to focus on the practical aspects of coaching.

    So our focus is to provide an easy and affordable communication system for all things technique analysis and provide a system for national sporting organizations to rollout immersive coaching courses. I look forward to more discussion on this topic.


    Ferg d’Ardis

  4. James Eccleshare Says:

    Great stuff Josh and very interesting read too. I think your points about how to use such software and development of coaching and talent ID links are vital, not only for the development of sport within the UK but also raise standards of our international performance. Your points on drills and tactics within NAC are great, but in such environments many coaches hold their best drills tight to their chest. As coaches we all have our generic drills, but there are our top draw ones we pull out as well. Plus how many teams would consider not sharing their training styles as then oppositions may choose to study and try and infer their tactics, strengths and weaknesses. I feel Its this sort of mentality that would inhibit a top down approach of sharing drills and coaching that many may begrudge sharing. Im a strong advocate for hiding details regarding players and training in open forums myself, because coaches like me look it up. We’ll do our upmost to find any tactical or player knowledge as we can in pre match build ups.

    Back to the issues at hand tho, as you know I’ve been obsessed with developing means of quantifying cricket performance in bowling. My intentions for this system were very similar as to what you describe. I too wanted to provide a means of Talent ID, a coaching and feedback tool, a batting weakness identifier and provide a system to aid in team selection. My intention for this was that it could be used at all levels of the game, where its more the premise of analysis and differing PI’s rather than the software used. As its something that could be used on many software platforms, were the level of detail added is only limited by the level of your software. Ive got an iBook on its way for all of this, which I’m aiming to get out there soon.

    Keep up the good work


  5. Josh Bryan Says:

    Ferg, thanks very much for your comment describing Siliconcoach and how Siliconcoach Live can be of benefit to the coaching process. There are many organisations and big names that have benefited from your technique analysis software which is great to hear about, and as a keen “roadie”, I’m particularly fond of your work developing the software for bicycle manufacturer Specialized’s renowned Body Geometry bike fitting system.
    The growing trend for moving to online platforms for delivery and sharing of information can only be seen as positive in my opinion, it brings teams together away from training sessions and would of course be hugely beneficial to teams who’s members are located far apart. I think it’s also great that you can integrate coach education into these platforms by switching the target audience from players to coaches without having to change existing workflows.

  6. Josh Bryan Says:

    Jim, thanks for your feedback. I see what you’re saying about the sharing of coaching drills and fully understand the need to not be an open book so that others will just feed off your hard work in creating successful drills. However…I do still think that we can benefit from sharing without having to give away all of our secrets for success. I’ll refer to a conversation I was having with Hai-Binh Ly in the VPA LinkedIn group (http://www.linkedin.com/groups?home=&gid=4557909&trk=anet_ug_hm&goback=%2Egmr_4557909) around Social Media and the Internet being vital tools for analysts.

    “I think the sharing of ideas and overall descriptions of some workflows is important for moving our industry forward, remembering that people will be likely to use parts of these ideas and workflows to form their own unique processes for the environments they are involved in. Sharing of information doesn’t make the person using it better straight away as they have to work out how that information will be of most benefit to them, I think it would be easier to see transparencies in analysts who are simply using ideas and not developing these or sharing them further, so maybe we shouldn’t have to worry about the transparency of our processes?”

    So with that quote in mind, I still think that coaches would have to adapt these sessions to suit their players and set-ups if they are to truly benefit from them. Simply copying a drill will not get the most out of the players you are coaching. Also, using Nacsport as an example, those drills can be shared in secure fashions so only one person can have access to it, which would ensure that secrets can be kept within an organisation throughout their different performance levels. I’d be really interested to hear your further thoughts on that as I know the amount of coaching and analysis experience you have.

    On another subject, i’m really excited about your iBook. It sounds like it’s going to be a great tool for the industry to look at. I particularly like how your system can be used at all levels of the game as it is most importantly about a process that you can use on most analysis software and platforms. Please correct me if i’m wrong? It would be great if you could share some more information about your past and present experiences that have led to the creation of this iBook, as i’m sure the VPA community would like to hear about your closely related coaching and analysis background.

    A shameless request for a blog!


  7. Josh Bryan Says:

    Have other Olympics successfully managed to Leave a Legacy? How did host nations perform in following Olympic years?

    Watch this space for an interesting visualisation on medal success for Olympic host nations…

  8. Josh Bryan Says:

    I wonder what legacy will also be left for future Paralympians? Does anyone know information of Paralympic set-ups utilising performance analysis or performance analysts in those positions?

  9. Darrell Cobner Says:

    An interesting article relevant to your comment, Josh…


  10. Josh Bryan Says:

    Thanks Darrell,

    Really interesting article!

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