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Posted on 03 November 2011 by VPA

Case Study

Real-time Video Feedback: Wales U16 Boys National Development Squad

In August 2010, a collaboration between the Centre for Performance Analysis at UWIC and the Welsh Football Trust took place at a match in Port Talbot, South Wales.

The Welsh Football Trust are a part of the Football Association of Wales (FAW) responsible for coach education and player development.  The Trust have been using Sportscode Pro systems in both programmes for the last 2 years.

Video feedback has become an integral part of the development process with both the boys and girls U16 National Development Squads.  Sportscode Pro is used for match and training analysis and feedback is provided to both the team and to players on an individual basis.  The use of video as a tool for learning is ideal for the players in this age group as it is a medium that they use frequently on the internet, computers and smartphones.  It has been accepted well by both the players and coaches.

The purpose of this case study was to trial a system of real-time feedback to further the analysis support programme provided to the squads.

The match selected for the trial was an U16 Boys Development Squad friendly international versus Poland, played at the ground of Welsh Premier League side Port Talbot Town.  The venue provided a large covered gantry, with access to power, which was situated on the opposite side to the main stand, dug out and changing rooms.

On the night, we had a side-on camera, an end-on camera mounted on a Hi-Pod, 3 MacBook Pro laptops running Sportscode Elite, 2 Airport Extreme stations and 2 iPads.  We had 6 personnel available; 2 x videographers, a caller, a coder, the analyst and a 6th ‘floating’ person to provide technical support where required.  The set-up is illustrated in the diagram below:

The end-on footage filmed on the Hi-Pod was to be captured direct to Sportscode Elite and would be linked to the coded side-on footage to provide lapsed-time feedback.    Unfortunately, the Welsh weather brought gale force winds and torrential rain all night and the camera on the hi-pod had to be abandoned 20 minutes into the match.

Despite the weather, the rest of the trial went well with the side-on footage captured, coded and instances streamed to provide real-time feedback.  The capturing and coding (with the help of a ‘caller’) was carried out on one Sportscode Elite system which was networked to a second laptop.  The analyst worked on this second laptop, reviewing the coded clips and streaming selected instances via Air Video to the iPad in the dug out.  There was input from the coaches who requested certain events via mobile phone and the analyst was also able to view a constantly updating statistics output on a second iPad.  This statistics window was developed at the Centre For Performance Analysis, UWIC and was highly visual and easy to read and interpret the data.

The streamed instances were reviewed by the coaches in the dug out during the match and were used at half time in the dressing room to provide individual feedback to players.  The process was received well by both coaches and players, with U16 Manager and Welsh Football Trust Technical Director, Osian Roberts remarking:

“Instant video viewing is an extremely effective tool. We used it at half time to re-emphasise strengths and weaknesses at set pieces. I was also able to show key players video feedback of what was creating problems for us tactically in the midfield area, and I know they were impressed with how I was able to explain what I was asking from them, and as a result the problem was rectified.”

Following the successful trial, the challenge has been to replicate this real-time feedback workflow in different environments.  Each match with the development squads are played at different venues and we normally have only 1 or 2 personnel available.  Although there have been a number of teething problems on the technical side, we are now effectively using video-feedback via iPads with both the boys and girls national development squads.  The key is to be flexible with the workflow as different matches, venues and personnel will require a different process.  Since the trial in September, we have used a combination of our own footage, a live tv feed, existing wireless networks, networks created via Airport Extreme, Air Video, Air Sharing, Dropbox and even syncing movies via iTunes with a ‘runner’ taking the iPad to the coaches.

We will continue to use this process of real-time feedback with the squads next season and hope to develop it further to provide feedback in training.  We are also looking to introduce the process to our coach education programme where we feel it may be a valuable tool for learning.

“No doubt we can develop this further, but I have been impressed with its potential thus far.” 

– Osian Roberts, Technical Director – Welsh Football Trust

The Welsh Football Trust would like to thank The Centre For Performance Analysis, UWIC for their assistance in this trial.

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