4. Critical thinking
As an analyst, you will work with a vast amount of data in various formats every day. It will present itself in ways that are not always typically associated with “data presentation”, and the ability to digest, understand and evaluate each new piece of information you come across with a view to applying it underpins the role of a performance analyst. So how does information present itself other than on a spreadsheet? Information arises through conversation. Conversations between coaches, between coaches and players, players and players, analysts and coaches (the list goes on). People within a sports organisation all have common goals but their opinions on how to achieve them may significantly differ and through discussing these ideas and reaching a combined conclusion, information is born. Information about the tactics, training content and methods get redeveloped every day. This is where the ability to sort the potentially valuable information comes in to play. The ability to use this information constructively to present logical theories is probably one of the most challenging skills to master and will take the most time. Learning coach’s terminologies, their language and being able to have conversations with them where things get broken down and rebuilt with elements of different ideas to make completely new ones is key.
5. Interpersonal skills
Working with people is important in most jobs, but working as an analyst requires the ability to work with a very special breed of people, coaches. After you have worked within a coaching group for a period of time you will soon learn how they like to work, how they present and their expectations from you as a performance analyst. They are renowned for changing their mind at the last minute before a team meeting or even during one so to protect yourself against this, preparation is key. Making sure previews are complete and checked over an hour before you plug into the projector. Being able to almost second guess your coaches will help to keep you one step ahead.
6. Work ethic. Last but by no means least, make no mistake about it, having mastered all of the skills I’ve discussed will mean very little unless you have a huge work ethic to back it up. Whilst everyone is out celebrating a win it’s the analysts role to be processing the game, crunching numbers and looking for the improvements that need to be made so they can be worked on in the next training session and taken into future performances. Scouring through videos to look for the strengths/weaknesses in your next opponent takes time and patience and often gets interrupted with questions or technical issues that will quickly remove you from the task in hand. More often than not, the work of an analyst is unseen and taken for granted in terms of the time it takes to prepare so being proactive by keeping databases, spreadsheets and video files up to date will mean any questions can be answered at the click of a button.
“The ability to do something well; expertise” – Skill defined.
The types of skills I have discussed are all related. Understanding your technology so you can maximise its use, allowing you to maximise your productivity and time so you can spend it working on other tasks within normal working hours instead of catching up at home or after everyone has left the office. Presenting relevant new information that you have digested from a conversation you had a month ago which was not applicable at the time. Providing your coaches with information to support their theories, indirectly assisting them to effect change within performance. All of which, takes hard work.
Head Analyst Bath Rugby