Thursday, 27 December 2012

The Pros & Cons of Internships

During the summer one of the hot topics of discussion was how ethical the football industry was being in terms of Internships and the number of jobs advertised which were voluntary.
I mentioned in my previous post about degrees that work experience was a valuable asset when looking for a job within the football industry, but there are positives and negatives to how these are handled, which I'll discuss below.
Some Internships can be extremely rewarding. With the right mentoring, a good environment and somebody who wants to learn and get the most out of the role while also pushing their own initiative and contribution the experience you can have is amazing. I was recently at Coventry City Ladies and the experience I gained while working there was brilliant. I was in charge of a team of 5 other analysts and had an excellent working relationship with the manager, coaching staff and players, which meant being able to put across ideas and processes of working whilst also learning about what a semi-pro club was like.
I am now at Barnsley which brings me onto another massive benefit. Being around the day-to-day running of a club. I work full time for a Local Authority and have had a few other 9-5 jobs and the difference between working for a club and working full time in a 'normal' job is quite staggering. An essential part of the job is learning your place within the club and how it fits in with the many other parts. How do you work with the coaches, the sports scientists, the head of recruitment, the players. Even how things are done on a daily basis such as the preparation before a game or training or what players are spending more time working on. The knowledge picked up from those around you cannot be beaten.
A lot of this goes on your personality. Quiet and shy? Being around a busy football club might not be the right thing for you. Like to have set routines and be told what to do for the simple life? Again, probably not for you. Being a good performance analyst requires confidence in what you are doing, initiative, communication skills but also knowing when to shut up! If the manager is ranting at a player and saying "your passing has been sh*t today" it's not the time to bring out that players passing stats making him look good!
In my opinion it's also necessary to really believe in what you are doing. Even recently I've met people doing Performance Analysis who don't fully believe in what they are doing or if it's what they want to do. Now, as I mentioned I've worked for a few years in different areas before I got to a point where I knew that being a Performance Analyst was the right career for me. I've met people who have no background from their Sports Science degree in Performance Analysis (see my earlier blog post on the pros & cons of this particular degree) and have got a job in it based on thinking it's something that looks pretty cool. I've met people who would rather be a coach but they got an opportunity to do Performance Analysis and took it. I've met people who would rather do Sports Science but it looked like a good experience. All these are fine but having a job in an area you want to focus on is a massive bonus.
The pay. Usually none!! Sometimes you'll get expenses, sometimes you'll get a small bursary. Usually you'll be expected to work full time 40 hours a week for nothing.
I see why football clubs do this, it's probably the most loved sport in the world and people have a love for their club or the sport in general they wouldn't have for something else. Can you imagine if I said to somebody "yeah, you can come and work with me doing communications for the Council for a year with no pay" I doubt I'd get a lot of takers!!
Interns not getting paid is being debated in court and are being investigated by the overuse of them to run their website, and one of the main problems with it is you probably rule out a lot of people who would be excellent in the role but cannot afford to do it. I cannot afford to give up my job which I use to pay the mortgage and bills as well as live to do a full time internship. I currently work 37 hours a week plus my Internship at Barnsley, plus my casual work for Onside Analysis (roughly 10-15 hours a month) plus some consultancy work and there's many others like me around the country. In fact I'm at a significant disadvantage compared to somebody at University or even just finished who can afford the time to do a full time internship. How anybody can afford to work for free for a year without even expenses to get to the training ground is baffling to me, and in essence elitist as it favours people who's parents can afford to subsidise them.
The flip side to this is that if somebody is willing to work 30+ hours a week unpaid then they SHOULD be at the front of the queue when jobs become available. However, another negative of Interns is that what is to stop a football club turning round after you've done 30+ hours a week for 40 weeks a year unpaid and saying "sorry, we haven't got any paid positions" and then taking on another intern to do the same job you'd been doing for the next season? It would be good if Internships were essentially prolonged interviews, a chance to showcase your skills and abilities and then get a paid job from it or not be deemed what they are looking for. As it currently stands you see the same clubs advertising for internships year after year. Now I'm not saying that the people doing the internships aren't gaining experience from these but they then effectively go back into the market and are looking for a job again, albeit with another years experience but up against another years worth of university students all looking for the same thing and willing to work for free.
From my own personal experience dealing with students or people who have recently finished University can be hit and miss. I've been in a similar position where you come out of University and think you know it all and sometimes working in "real world" situations gives you valuable life experience to take into this type of job. Again, it takes a certain type of person to be able to establish themselves within a club and build up a rapport especially with a 1st team squad and this is much harder to do when you are young and straight out of university. I'm not saying that all students should go and work in an office for X years before they get a job within football but you can usually spot the ones who have had to graft and the ones who think the world owes them a living!!

Clubs will often give the Interns the jobs that they don't want to do. This is understandable as they are basically the bottom rung of the ladder but if somebody spends all their time tagging and burning CD's is this really Performance Analysis? What exactly are they analysing? It should be beneficial for both parties, the club should be able to gain an extra pair of hands and move the club forward in a fast moving area and the intern should gain practical experience as well as making sure it is something they want to do as a career.

So, what are the arguments for and against Internships?

The first would be that if clubs had to pay interns, would they? Or would they simply not take anybody on? Although paying somebody minimum wage doesn't sound much, especially with the numbers turned over by a club a lot of the income goes on player wages. Whether this is ethically right or not is a debate for another time but the simple fact is a lot of clubs look to make savings where they can and employing somebody for a role they are not 100% sure how to use won't be top of their list of priorities. This won't be the case in every club but especially lower down the Football League and at non-league level, where a grass roots performance analysis movement seems to be forming with clubs realising that you don't need expensive systems to do the work, the money is not likely to be there to take people on.

Another argument is if clubs don't take on interns to see if they can do the work effectively and are a good "fit" for the club how are they going to know who to take on? I suppose the obvious answer is like most other jobs that are advertised in the world, via interview. The problem with this is that working within football is NOT like most other jobs. I see the pros and cons for this but using an internship like a trial period does make sense. Couple this with a lot of people applying for the job (I heard about an unpaid internship recently that had around 400 applications so you can imagine how many they get for paid jobs) and people applying with similar qualifications and back office staff would probably spend more time reading applications than training the team!

How many internships do you do before you switch careers? I suppose this is completely down to the person. I've seen some people who have been doing internships for 3-4 years? Most clubs seem to think 18 months to 2 years of experience unpaid is like paying your dues but does it get to the point where a club looks at you and thinks "they've been doing work unpaid for 3 years, why has nobody taken them on?". This could be for a variety of reasons and I suppose like in most walks of life, luck plays a large part. A club getting funding at the right time or a manager getting the sack when a job seems to be in the pipeline (I've been the victim of this one!) can be the good luck or bad luck you need to get taken on permanently and often you have no influence over these.

What are the options?

I've tried to express the upsides and downside to Internships and keep a balanced view. A lot of time the experience will depend on the club and those around you. A structured environment and somebody willing to learn and showcase their own talents can be a huge benefit and you would hope every club would keep some money aside that if things work out well the potential is there to take you on on a paid basis.

Another alternative (and this may go back to a perfect world situation) would be to have a sort of recruitment pool of talent, perhaps run by the FA or one of the major companies who supply the technology, who could do the interview process on behalf of the club and provide a list of candidates. Even if this cuts the list of applicants from 400 to 6 or so suitable options which the club then interviews it at least would save some time.

The Performance Analysis industry is still emerging and is growing rapidly with many things still not fully exploited by clubs. Despite this the amount of people entering the industry and wanting to get a job within it is probably growing much more rapidly.

While Internships may not be perfect they are the best method currently available and are essential for anybody wanting to gain entry into the football industry.

I’d like to hear your thoughts and any positive/negative experiences you have had with Internships at football clubs. You can post anonymously if you don't feel comfortable sharing stories and letting people know who you are.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Degrees - Which one suits a Performance Analyst?

In my previous blog about my journey to become a performance analyst I mentioned about a post I was saving around degrees and internships in general.
I've tried to provide a balanced perspective based on my views and experiences of the last 18 months of working in and trying to work in the industry.
Performance Analysis, in fact Sports Science in general, is one of the fastest growing areas of football but one thing that is not growing as much is the number of paid jobs available. Since the Summer of 2012 there have been roughly 10 jobs advertised through various sites with a reasonable salary attached. On the reverse side of this, there have been countless number of Unpaid/Voluntary internships.
There are positive and negative sides to this which I'll map out later but my initial point is around the criteria most of the jobs specify. I'm sure a lot of the people who read my blog who have worked hard for 3 years to gain a Sports Science degree will have opinions contrary to what I've written here and I'm more than happy for any comments to be posted below, I'm interested to know what people who have been down that path think.
Almost all jobs advertising Performance Analyst roles request a degree in Sports Science no matter whether this is for a paid job or an internship. Now, for somebody like me who missed the boat on doing Sports Science degrees (these were very specialised when I went to university) this makes it very hard to even get a foot in the door at most clubs. I fully appreciate the necessity of learning and think that the specific Performance Analysis degrees offered by places like UWIC and Nottingham Trent are excellent.
What I do have a query with is why a Sports Science degree is often cited as mandatory for Performance Analysis jobs. Sports Science degrees tend to cover a wide range of subjects notably Physiology, Psychology and Biomechanics. Most degrees include the OPTION of doing a Performance Analysis module in the final year. This usually involves looking at the range of systems available (Prozone, Sportscode, Dartfish etc) and seeing how they work along with some very brief study into notational analysis. Sometimes the bulk of the module will be around a placement within a club.
Not all degrees are like this I must stress and the specific Performance Analysis ones cover a wide range of methods involved in the subject, as well as a thorough understanding of how they work as well as several placements usually across a variety of sports.
From my experience within the Performance Analysis environment of a club a Sports Science degree is not only not necessary but often useless. There is no more than a basic understanding of Physiology and Biomechanics necessary and much more appropriate degrees would surely be around IT, Economics, Maths or Communications. A few examples to back up my point include complex connection of computer equipment, File Sharing across FTP platforms, Regression Analysis and statistical studies, none of which is taught across the Sports Science degree.
There are other methods of gaining this knowledge, it cannot be stressed how important work experience is and there are several performance analysis courses which look at specific software such as the Prozone & Dartfish courses. It is also always useful to have a good understanding of football in general and the FA Coaching courses help to understand why Performance Analysts look at things in context. In the future I hope the FA take a lead on the field and push specific courses around Performance Analysis, not just how to use the systems but how to actually ANALYSE a game.
In my opinion one of the reasons that a Sports Science degree is requested is a lot of Leads across Football clubs have the same degree and they don't know anything else to ask for.
I'd like to see a club take a step back and think about why they are asking for what they are asking for. Think about what they want the person to know and how that would apply to a degree or what they'd learnt on a degree and how this could help the club.

As I said above, I've tried to be balanced and I'd be interested to hear what people with degrees in Sports Science think and whether the studying they did for 3 years is being utilised in any jobs, paid or voluntary they are doing.

I'll also follow up with a post on my views around Internships soon!

Thanks for reading, comments welcomed.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

An Aspiring Performance Analyst's Journey

I haven't updated my website for a while. A combination of working within Performance Analysis and finding the time to sit down and write something for it is the excuse behind this! I want to keep my blog going and keep it informative and I’ve already got a few plans on things to write about and I'd already come up with the idea of doing a "performance analysts diary" a couple of months ago and a piece byRichard Hughes has spurred me on to continue with this.

This post got out of hand a little bit and turned out to be quite long so thanks for taking the time to read this and I hope to write more blog posts over the coming months. Any feedback is very welcome!

The Beginning 

Most people getting into Performance Analysis these days seem to follow a very structured path. University, Internship, then a paid role within a club.

When I went to University (I graduated in 2003) there was barely any concept of using performance analysis in football, indeed Prozone didn't start up as a company until 1999, which is when I started uni.

I did a Business Management degree and worked in accounts until 2007 when I decided this wasn't the career for me. I wanted to do something with sports that still suited my skills and after qualifying to FA Level 1, spending a year scouting for Barnsley FC's Academy and working with the Association of Football Statisticians on a voluntary basis I got a job working with Activity Sheffield, part of Sheffield City Council, as a Sports Project Officer. This department delivered sporting sessions to 5-18 year olds and 65+ across Sheffield. The role I was doing was essentially a reporting role. Over the 5 years I was with Activity Sheffield the role changed into a performance analysis role, working with systems to capture information and reporting on this information and using it to make strategic decisions.

A couple of years before I left I'd decided I wanted to pursue performance analysis as a career and around this time the role of the analyst was emerging within football. I'd heard a lot about Prozone as Brian Laws spoke very highly of this when he was Sheffield Wednesday manager and investigated how to get a career within this field. I did the Prozone Level 1 course in March 2011 at Derby University, using MatchViewer and learning how to use the software to it's full potential. It was a great experience and really confirmed my interest in pursuing this as a career.

I spent the next 6 months sending emails to the generic club email addresses asking for some voluntary work hoping to hear something back and got….nothing. This is the first major lesson I learned, you have to knock on a LOT of doors to get a job within football. The majority of the people in the country have some kind of passing interest and I'm sure most men would love to have a job working for a club. Unfortunately this means that jobs are either not advertised (a lot of clubs use headhunting for staff) or massively popular with hundreds of applicants.

One thing I did notice was that most jobs asked for a Sports Science degree, looks like my Business Management one wouldn't be much use!

I continued to keep my eye out but had been thinking for a few months about how to make myself stand out. I attended the Performance Analysis conference set up by Rob Carroll and the Video Analyst website at Loughborough in August 2011 and spoke to Paul Boanas of Prozone who was at the event. I mentioned to him that I was planning on producing my own report on a game and he said this was a great idea and told me about how a scout at Crystal Palace had done something similar, submitting it to Neil Warnock who immediately hired him.

So with renewed enthusiasm I began to plan how to produce the report and what it would contain. I chose the game I was going to focus on (Manchester United vs Manchester City at Old Trafford in the October) and worked extensively on this, doing my own coding, setting up spreadsheets to capture the information and editing the video I had recorded of the game to reflect my analysis.

The report was very weighty and again thanks to feedback from my Dad, my colleagues at work and once again Paul at Prozone, I streamlined the report into a piece of concise analysis. Next job was to shop this around.

One thing I had been doing in the time previously was building up my connections through LinkedIn and Twitter. Both of these are immensely powerful tools for networking. I'd never really been into the social media side of things before, I have a Facebook account but don't care at all what you're having for tea or where you're going on a night out! LinkedIn especially allowed me to focus on people with a similar job to what I wanted to do and make some valuable contacts within the industry.

Getting a Break

So I began to shop the report around to a selection of contacts at local clubs. I had worked out which clubs were within a reasonable commuting distance to my home in Sheffield and based it around this. Although a couple of people contacted me and gave me feedback, it was at Rotherham United where I got lucky.

I'd sent the report to Alasdair Lane, who was the Strength & Conditioning coach. He'd replied back to me and told me he would show it to Andy Scott, the manager at the time and see what he thought. He came back very quickly saying that Andy, who had used Amisco at Brentford in his previous role and was massively into this side of the game, liked what he saw and invited me in to come and meet with him the next day.

I went to the training ground to meet with them, unfortunately I didn't get to see Andy (he was signing a player, I suppose that takes priority!) but met with Al, Darren Patterson (the Assistant Manager) and some of the other coaches. They were very receptive to the report and gave me a couple of pointers on what they'd like to see included and what they weren't bothered about.

They asked me to go to the clubs next couple of games and produce a report and we'd take it from there.

The first game I went to was against Accrington Stanley on a Tuesday night at the beginning of February. Played at Don Valley, which is a terrible ground for football, it was absolutely freezing; something if you want to be a performance analyst you definitely need to get used to! Sitting from a high vantage point to get a good view of the game also usually means braving the elements!

I was introduced to the cameraman who was recording the game for Rotherham (he was actually employed by the BBC but provided copies of the DVD's he recorded to Rotherham as well) and spent some time chatting with him and also met the analyst for Accrington who I had actually been on the Prozone Level 1 course with. At the end of the game I collected the DVD from the cameraman and took it home to analyse.

Now, I'd been given no guidance on what Rotherham really wanted so I'd been left to my own devices to come up with something. I'd set up a few spreadsheets mainly based on Opta's information and what they provided through their Statszone app. Using this as a base and trying to tailor it to what I thought Andy would need while adding my own areas in took a lot of work to think about but I was pretty happy with what I had. I used the DVD to go back over the game (no software, just Excel and a DVD player at this point) and proceeded to record every action from the game on individual basis for the Rotherham players and as a team for Accrington (for comparison purposes). It was very time consuming (bearing in mind I was doing this on top of my full time job) but when it had all been pulled together by the Thursday and sent through to Al to pass on the feedback I got was very positive!! Apparently it was everything they had been looking for and more besides.

This spurred me on to make the process as streamlined as possible and through discussions with Al about what the gaffer used it for and what use they could get out of it the time it took to produce reduced as the games went on.

Getting into the middle of March Andy asked me to come in for a meeting at the training ground. I was looking forward to meeting him properly rather than communicating via his staff and hopeful of I could get a better idea of what he wanted from the reports. Alasdair had spoken to me and said that they were looking into using a proper performance analysis system from next season called Vis.Track so I’d done a bit of research into it and was prepared with my latest reports as I went to meet him. The meeting went even better than I expected. He said he was very impressed with the work I’d been doing, Alasdair had bigged me up a lot to him about the type of guy I was and we spoke about the different aspects of Performance Analysis as well as what he did and didn’t want in the reports and what he was getting out of them. He was impressed with the level of detail I was providing given that all I was using was a DVD of the game and Excel! He said that they’d set some money aside for next season to use an analysis system and he’d like me to be in charge of it! I was ecstatic! I was thinking this would finally be my break!

I went away for the weekend for my wife’s birthday and when I went back into work at the council I was buzzing and was telling my friends how well it went. Then on the way home I was checking Twitter and I got some bad news. Andy Scott had been sacked!! I was devastated!! I quickly text Al and he said that he didn’t know what would happen now, not just with the work I’d been doing but also with their jobs. As much as I wanted to get into the business I felt incredibly for Al, he’d moved up to Sheffield less than a year previously as he’d worked with Andy at Brentford so for him to now get the sack must have been incredibly worrying for him.

Darren Pattison took over as caretaker manager. He was a sound guy, knew about performance analysis and I agreed to continue doing the reports, even if it was just for experience rather than it leading anywhere. Patto had a good run, although it could be argued that it was an easier run of games and Rotherham got within sniffing distance of the play offs, then some more bad news. I’d been checking Rotherham Mad, the fansite, to see who the favourite was to take over. Lee Clark, Brian Laws, Mark Robins even Mick McCarthy were all mentioned and I knew all of them had used performance analysis before to varying extents. Then Steve Evans got the job. Without wanting to say too much, in my opinion he’s one step above a pub team manager and Rotherham deserved better. I spoke to Al and asked him the situation and he said they would see how they went but it was quickly clear that he wouldn’t be staying there and a week before the end of the season he was told he wouldn’t be kept on (he’s since got a job as Head of Sports Science at Oxford United and is loving it, I couldn’t be happier for him, he’s a genuinely decent guy and the time I got to work with him was brilliant). I tried to get in touch with Steve, sending my reports by email, mailed it including a DVD highlighting the points I was making and even rung to try and speak to him and never even got a response from him or Paul Raynor, his assistant. To say I was annoyed not to even get an email back saying he wasn’t interested is an understatement after the work I’d put in over the previous 6 months.

Bouncing Back

But I moved on. I did my Prozone Level 3 course, completing the qualification to the highest level, which only 10 other people in the country can claim (only 2 of which have a paid job within performance analysis from what I can gather – very disappointing) but it gave me a greater resolve to continue looking for jobs over the summer.

Early on in the summer I heard back from a casual job I had applied for with Onside Analysis. Rob Esteva and David Hastie had recently started up the company with a view to expanding into bespoke analysis for football clubs. I met with Rob and was very, very impressed with what they were intending to do. Within a few weeks they had provided templates and DVD’s for me to analyse on games from around the world. This was great to work on games from different leagues (I covered MLS, Norwegian Tippeligean and the Euro U17 Championships). More recently this role has evolved to collecting information on a specific league (in my case League 2) to provide analysis of particular managers (if you get chance have a look at the prospective work that can be done on the website – it’s ahead of it’s time in my opinion and something that I think could take off in a big way)

I continued looking for a full time Performance Analysis role and got a few knock backs (including a business analyst job at Derby which combined my work at Sheffield Council with a performance analyst role I would have been perfect for – I didn’t even get an interview and later found out they had given the job to somebody who’d been working as a physio for 6 months!). It seemed almost all jobs require a Sports Science degree. I’m gonna save this blog post for another day but not having this degree was definitely holding me back so I applied to do one through Distance Learning at Manchester Metropolitan University. To get an unconditional offer was fantastic and I knew I would be on the right path. Unfortunately I didn’t think I would get half as much problems with Student Finance England. After speaking to somebody on the phone that told me they couldn’t see it being a problem that I’d already taken out a student loan as I’d been paying it back (every month for 8 years!) I applied only to be refused on the grounds I’d already got a degree in “a related subject”. That’s the related subject to Sports Science of Business Management! I didn’t even get a reply to the 2 appeal letters I have sent and found Student Finance England to be one of the most appalling sets of customer service I’ve ever had to deal with.

Despite this, I finally got another job, an internship with Coventry City Ladies.

I’d seen the job advertised on UK Sport and applied the day before the closing date. The manager, Paul Cudby, rang me a couple of hours after I’d put my application in informing me they wanted to take me on and given my experience that they wanted to change what they’d been looking for previously.

Initially they wanted 1 analyst to see how it went. With the applications they’d received, he now wanted me to lead a team of analysts. This was great news! Coventry was probably at the edge of where it was reasonable for me to commute to (around hour and a half drive from Sheffield) but hopefully this would also show my ambition and was a great opportunity to be in charge of other analysts and pick things up from them as well as be able to pass on things I had learnt through my previous work.

I went down to meet Paul and the rest of the team for a preseason friendly and he told me there would be 5 other analysts working under me. From first impressions I could tell we would have a great working relationship, he’s very bright and switched on to all aspects of management and I honestly think he could go as far as he wanted within football.

Before the first league game of the season I met up with the other analysts at a preseason friendly. I’d already spent around 3 weeks working on the things I wanted to work on for the club. With there being 6 of us it gave a lot of scope for doing a fair bit of work and despite not having any money for systems (despite being as progressive as they are as a club, there is no money within the women’s game and even less within the FA Women’s Premier League than in the Women’s Super League) it provided the opportunity to start from scratch and use my own initiative to build the Performance Analysis function.

For the first few games we captured the play from 3 different cameras (one showing the full game, one showing set pieces and one specifically for the goalkeeper), as we went along it became unnecessary to have all three and we went to 2 and then to 1 as we could capture almost all the footage needed.

There were several minor problems to overcome early on, from people not having enough battery on their cameras to record a full match (we had to provide our own as the club didn’t have the funds for one) to struggling to upload the footage. I’d intended to use Dropbox and each person who’d recorded the game would upload to there so everybody could work remotely and have access to the same footage. Unfortunately Dropbox didn’t meet our needs for this and wasn’t a reliable solution in the end so we used an FTP server. At first I had no idea how to use this but with a great deal of help from Shaun Green, who was the clubs Goalkeeper coach, we managed to get it sorted.

Working with the club was a great experience. What we were providing evolved rapidly to suit the needs of the management team and in a short space of time we managed to make ourselves very valuable and greatly respected by the coaching staff and players.

Within this time we went from providing key stats, to pass completion percentages, shot analysis, goalkeeper analysis, set piece analysis, attacking 1/3 analysis, possession/loss regains, specific player analysis to help with movement and confidence, team motivational videos and opposition analysis. I still had bigger plans after talking to Paul and had begun to use specific performance analysis software, LongoMatch (everything previously had been done via Excel, PowerPoint and iMovie) along with in game feedback and more comprehensive looks at things like trend information. It was all going very, very well and then I got another opportunity.

New Beginnings

I’d been speaking to Barnsley and an opportunity came up within the Performance Analysis department within the Academy. I went for an interview, which went well, and I knew I’d got a good chance of getting it but had to weigh up the pros and cons. I’d be a smaller cog at Barnsley and wouldn’t get the opportunity to get anywhere near as much wide ranging experience, but it was within a professional club, which looked much better and meant I can learn more from professional coaches.

I ended up taking the job. While it’s been quite a slow start, I am enjoying it. I still feel I can put my own stamp on things and the areas I can bring my expertise to they aren’t using at the moment so I can provide things they want. Part of the clubs philosophy is on playing through the thirds and keeping possession, so whilst the hot topic of possession might not be a game winning stat, for the development of young players it holds significant importance. The way this had been captured previously didn’t look right to me so I’ve done some work on making a way to record this figure. I’ve also done some work on passing under/over 15 yards as short passing is encouraged within the clubs style of play.

I’ve had the opportunity to work more with Sportscode GameBreaker and learn from some of the Under 18’s coaches who have been around the professional scene for a while and I hope the role turns into something I can really get my teeth into. I don’t want to be a performance analyst because I expect to get paid millions or because it’s a great skive from my 9-5 job I work within Sheffield Council but because it’s something I am passionate about, I’m good at and can make a difference by doing.

I’ve hit many obstacles already in my goal and I expect there will be more but I’ve had some great opportunities and some great experiences and I hope there are also many more of these to come too. Hard work does pay off and I hope to update my blog much more in the future with a variety of topics and hopefully to update you on how things are going at Barnsley!!

Thanks for taking the time to read this; it got quite long in the end!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Performance Analysis Blogs of the Week - 23/08/2012 - 04/09/2012

The best blogs from the last couple of weeks in Performance Analysis.

Prozone take a look at how form translates from the Championship to the Premier League after the success stories of Norwich, QPR & Swansea (follow @ProzoneSports)

The Guardian post some interesting visuals on the recent MCFCAnalytics data release (follow @GuardianData)

A humurous look at the potential future of Performance Analysis by the Tomkins Times (thanks to @AnalyseSport for pointing this article out)

11Tegen11 look at the potential problems with football analytics (follow @11tegen11)

Professor Pepper's Assistant looks at the MCFC data and how the number of passes per game affect how many passes your opponent does (follow @MarchiMax)

Mark Taylor's Power of Goals blog looks at discipline and how the MCFC dataset can be used to predict the number of fouls before a booking (follow @MarkTaylor0)

Great painstaking work by Ben Mayhew at Experimental 361 looking at where the goals were scored from in the football league. Definitely deserves a look. (follow @experimental361)

Some analysis using MCFC data on which goalkeepers England should have chosen for Euro 2012 based on 2011/12 form (Thanks again to 11tegen11 for the link)

The excellent Ravi Ramineni takes his first look at the MCFC data and how final 1/3 entries relate to goals (follow @analyseFooty)

And more from Ravi giving a summary of the MCFC dataset and thanking Gavin Fleig, something I'd also like to do here. Thanks for opening doors for analysts everywhere Gavin!

I'll hopefully have some of my own stuff up soon, I've recently started a new job as Head of Performance Analysis at Coventry City Ladies which has taken up a lot of my weekends but I've had a week off work this week so been able to type up some of the ideas that have been going round in my head for the last few weeks!!