I was placed with Cardiff Met and Cardiff and Met Hockey teams, along with a number of other students. We were thrown completely in at the deep end, there was no process to start with we had to start from scratch. If there is one thing that I had learnt from the first year it was important to develop and build a positive Coach analyst relationship. Here is where my relationship with Luke Hawker and Toby Nichols developed to the one it was by the end of my time at Cardiff met. We started off by outlining the minimum requirements of the service that was going to be provided. After we formulated a plan to how we would implement every game being filmed, we went through the tough challenge of trying to discover what the coaches looked for when looking at a game of hockey. The aim to find the key measurable areas or areas that influence the game to build our code window that will forfill the needs of the coach and the wider team. These Key performance indicators became the skeleton for all the other analysis that took places, however, it was from these KPI’s I learnt the importance of the next key item in any performance analysis work flow. The operational descriptors. These operational descriptors ensure that analyst, coach and player all know what each KPI’s is and how it looks. Through out the year we constantly up dated are descriptions as are understanding of hockey developed.
One big thing that I took a lead for was developing the code window or the category template (depending on which software you use). A difficult process which helped me understand the relationship between different game based phases and which phase follows next. It was at this point in my journey I felt the need to attempted to collect every bit of information possible in one go. I thought more was better, I didn’t think about the length of time it would take to code or the amount of time I would have to stop the video as I was coding. As the year developed and I realised how much time was spent coding, I developed the code window with the aim to reduce the time it took to complete a game. With 2 games to code on a Wednesday night after I finished coaching I know I had to make it more efficient. My 2am finishes were not sustainable, especially whilst balancing the rest of my university work. I took a look back at what bit we were actually using as well as using more tools from the software to find more information.
second stab at a code window
I also developed a stats sheet. I looked at the information that we collected and I looked at the stats that where provided by people like the BBC. I created something that the players could relate to and could easily interpret. My hockey knowledge was limited, however, there where times when I could see things that if changed would improve the performance of the team. As I felt I couldn’t necessarily say I have seen this, what if you did this? I would provided the data that supported my argument and guide the coach or the player to say it for me.This as the year developed was noticed by both player and coaches and they realised I had the ability to effectively change the play to improve the performance. This developed the strength of the relationship between me and the coaches.
Whilst coding and the post analysis became my bread and butter due to my coaching commitments on game days, is still took every opportunity to film the games. I have always been a budding camera man and I thought I understood what it took to film a game of sport, however, how you film for TV and how you film for analysis are two totally different things. Also I began to use a variety of different equipment, From endzones, IP cameras, Portable IP cameras and are old friend the tripod and camera. It lead me to find a new found skill of organisation planning what camera could be taken to which game, how we were going to transport it there and so on.
The group of students I worked with were a mixture of both 3rd year and second year students, however, are skill level at the start of the year was about the same. As the year went on the others interest and passion for the team wondered with most of the support being around filming games and the rest of the post stuff was given to me. That is a bit of a brutal assessment of what happened but I looked at my PA as a part time job, I committed as much of my time as possible and really absorbed my self into the system. I didn’t like to think of it as addition, this is where I wanted my career to be then I had to dive in head first and commit myself fully. I ended up seeing it as a part time job that I went to uni around.
My hard work I put in got me noticed I began making friends with in the hockey team, as well as being put forward to support Cardiff and met at there eurohockey tournament in Switzerland. As an analyst this was an awesome experience with games back to back for four days. It was an experience that I really value, thank you Luke for putting me forward. I perfected my live codeing ability being able to film and live code the team code by the time the game finished. I was then able to print off and supply statistics for the team as we sat down straight after the game. Most evenings we would eat at the club house before going back to our hotel. I would sit down and code the individual clips meaning they would be ready for the guys to review there clips as soon as we got back. There where a few nights on the trip where Walid the head coach would ask me to prepare an opposition analysis, as I was sharing a room with a player I did spend some time working in the bathroom so not to keep the players awake. A rather weird experience but one I will remember.
In my second year I also moved out of my family home, I moved in to a small terrace house not far from the university. I moved in with Bee and Alessandro and it was great fun. I learnt a lot as well, the difference between cleaning and tidying. I am a compulsive cleaner and be is a sporadic tidy person, and in the end Ali balanced us out by pointing out you needed a careful balance of the two. Myself and Alessandro both did performance analysis, we shared most of the same lectures and also spent lots of time working in the performance analysis lab.
Arguably the best asset at the university A0.27, the practical performance analysis lab or as its more widely known as the Centre of Performance Analysis. A room with computers and the leading software in performance analysis but well come back to that some other time. My second year I feel is where I went from a student to an analyst.