The video-analyst should be on the pitch

In a typical football club, the technical staff might consist of a head coach, two or three assistant coaches and specialized coaches for the goalkeepers, defenders and attackers. Then there is the supporting staff: the physical coach, physical therapist, perhaps a sport scientist and one or more video-analysts and performance analysts. Most of the supporting staff doesn’t see much of the pitch, even though their specific knowledge could help improve the quality of the training.

Take the case of the video-analyst and the performance analyst. The video-analyst usually analyzes the upcoming opponent’s strengths and weaknesses to get to know how the team should play to maximize the chances of winning. The performance analyst focuses more on the performance of his own team. He analyzes every game the team plays and knows the strengths and weaknesses of the team and the individual players like no other. Of course, they both share their findings with the technical staff, so they can in turn address these strengths and weaknesses in training. But a lot of the information can get lost in translation. The technical staff has a lot more to focus on than the comments of the video- and performance analysts.

So why aren’t the analysts on the pitch themselves? They could help design the training so that the strengths of the team are further strengthened and the weaknesses are minimized, in relation to the upcoming opponent. The analysts could take a more individual, detail-oriented approach while the technical staff focuses on the big picture. Because of their analytical background, they will recognize the situations and how the players react to them directly and they can give direct and individual feedback to the player. This will improve the learning process of the player and lead to better performance.

The more knowledgeable coaches are on the pitch, the better. A lower number of players per coach will lead to more individual feedback for the players. Staff with a lot of tactical knowledge should be on the pitch during training to deliver the feedback that improves the performance of the players. The analysts have that tactical knowledge and know the players’ usual reactions to game situations and what the players should actually do in that situation, but that knowledge is not fully exploited in an office. They should be on the pitch.