Working as a professional performance analyst requires a range of skills that cannot necessarily be learnt from a university or college course. The skills required to fulfill this type of role range from technical ability, knowledge of your respective sport and having people skills that allow you to work in a high pressure environment with a different breed of people… coaches. Anyway, back to some of the types of skills I think are needed to work as a performance analyst in professional sport.
1. Software/Technology Understanding
Arguably the most important set of skills. Modern performance analysis is heavily reliant on a variety of technologies, so fully understanding the software that you use is absolutely crucial. Understanding the software you use will and should save you hundreds of work hours. It will allow you to maximise functionality, create slick and efficient workflows between programs and give you a head start when trouble shooting them is required (and lets face it… trouble shooting is almost an everyday occurrence with any kind of computer or program). The other reason knowledge of a variety of software is important is that there is currently not one product that can provide everything you need and until there is one on the market, there will always be a need to export, import, compress, copy and paste between a number of different applications. Combined with the knowledge of various applications, it is also important to know how the platform you work on operates because this, like the programs it runs, often has a tendency to do the unexpected and more often than not at the worst possible time … in a team meeting.
2. Time Management
Weeks between fixtures in professional sport fly by at an extraordinary rate so managing your time is really important. Effective time management requires you to prioritise your workload so that you don’t ever get caught out. The structure of the week in-between fixtures is more often than not the same, so getting into a routine helps. Other jobs will always crop up from time to time so being on top of your standard workload will allow you some flexibility to fit these things in. Having an effective working practice will help to make you as time efficient as possible when you are actually at work so you don’t have to work late or take work home to finish off.
3. Presentation Skills
Being a performance analyst means that you more than likely watch the most footage, so being able to present your findings to players and coaches is important. Confidently presenting your knowledge to players and coaches who may have more experience than you certainly takes practice, but is something that if mastered will help to develop your position as an analyst within any organisation.
Head Analyst Bath Rugby