A week in the life of a professional video analyst – how do professionals analyse?
The question I get asked the most is – how do professional video analysts do video analysis? What are the important game actions for me? Which segments do I tag? What do I present to the team? So, here is an overview of a single week in my professional life, starting with a match on Saturday and finishing with another match on the following Saturday.
There is no simple or unique answer to these questions, because all coaches and analysts are different, and have a different workflow. What I can offer you is an example of a basic workflow for a team with limited time available and limited resources in terms of the availability of top data.
The program I rely on in my work is the Once Video Analyser PRO. It is software built with time consumption awareness in mind. There is not a lot of time available for the staff in clubs and Once is very easy to use, saving you precious time.
Keep in mind that Once has both a Windows and a Mac version. The Windows version is the complete one. The Mac version is currently in development, so you can use it for tagging and exporting, but the drawing features will become available in the following months.
How to get videos for your analysis?
The first problem we video analysts face is the availability of video footage from our matches and the matches of our opponents.
Sometimes, we can use TV footage for both our team and the opponents. I work in the first division of Croatian football, so I can usually get TV footage of most of the matches, but still, sometimes these are not great to do analysis with. Why?
Because TV footage usually uses too much zoom, which may be good for casual viewers, but to us analysts it is problematic. It disables us from having a view of the larger area, which we need from a tactical point of view.
This is why I always recommend recording your own video of the game if it is possible. Small camcorders these days are very inexpensive, starting from € 300. You can use them with simple tripods and SD cards to record the game with wide-angle zoom. This way, you can make the footage that is the most useful for you, and you can see it right after the match on your laptop.
Plus, a tip for analysing the opponents – I recommend having 2 to 5 last games of the team you are facing because that makes it easier to find some patterns and trends in their play.
One more tip!
Some coaches and analysts, myself included, like to have all analyses in a cloud. I upload all games, training sessions, and analyses to Google Drive. It’s a great solution for having everything in one place, plus, it is affordable, with 2 TB of space costing about € 10 per month.
Saturday and Sunday – the match and the post-match analysis
We will start the overview of a video analyst’s weekly schedule with the culmination of the week – the Saturday of the match.
During the match, I do live analysis with the video analysis software I use, Once PRO. I use real-time analysis to try and gain a competitive advantage over the opponents by making informed decisions during the match. I watch the match and tag the actions live so I can show them to the head coach and to the team, for example, at half-time. Watching a clip or two of crucial tactical observations can make a huge impact on the game.
After Saturday, comes Sunday. It is usually a day of regeneration and sometimes a day off. Also, it is the day on which I do post-match analysis.
For the post-match analysis, I recommend having a single video with drawings about 5-7 minutes long, which you can present at a team meeting.
In the post-match analysis video, I focus on the 4 phases of the game and stoppages.
In possession (attacking)
Transition to out of possession
Out of possession (defending)
Transition to in possession
Stoppages (corners, free kicks, etc)
Usually, you’ll get about 200 – 250 actions, depending on the game. I recommend using the Once Video Analyser features of notes and filters (good, bad, favourite), so you can sort all of those actions out. Or, you can go even deeper and go into even more detail:
In the possession phase, you can tag additional actions like build-up, construction phase, and final third.
The same rule goes for the out of possession phase (defending). You can go deeper and tag pressing, middle and low block situations separately.
Both transition phases, positive (transition to attack) and negative (transition to defend) are very important in today’s football so you can split them into different phases.
Stoppages – Attacking stoppages can be divided into corner kicks, free kicks, and direct free kicks. To go one step further you can tag your corners on “inswing” and “outswing”, depending is the ball from the corner with a curve towards the goal or opposite. Also, there are many other possibilities like tagging different zones where the ball is heading or different actions you had practiced with your team.
After you finish tagging the entire match, the real job is just ahead of you. Open the drawing mode of Once Video Analyser for the game you have tagged and go through all of the actions – using filters and notes can speed up this step. You can mark as favorite the ones you find important for using on a team meeting.
I recommend adding visualizations to the tagged actions. Concepts are more easily explained by creating animated and professionally designed 3D graphics, with which Once PRO is of great assistance. As we all know, a picture does say a 1000 words. Visualizations help players better understand you, therefore, they learn and develop faster.
After you have selected the actions you need and after you have added visualisations to them, you can export them with drawings, so you have the video ready for the team meeting. If you are using Once Video Analyser, you can choose if you want to merge your whole analysis into a single video, or you can export them separately. If you want to add more details to your post-match analysis, check out this blog about creating video presentations.
Monday – the team meeting and the start of the new mini-cycle
Monday marks the beginning of a new mini-cycle. It is the ideal day to do a meeting with an analysis of your last match with the team, prior to the training session. This meeting is used to fix and improve tactical mistakes.
Show the team the post-match analysis video you have created, and do a meeting of about 20 minutes. In this meeting, you can pause your analysis video and explain the situations in more detail.
For team meetings, I also use a different option that Once Video Analyser offers, and it is called presentation mode. When you connect your laptop to a projector or a TV in the club, you can select “extend mode” in display properties so your projector acts as a second screen. Then you can activate the presentation mode and have a clean video output of the analysis video for your team on the projector or the TV.
This way, you can add the drawings to the videos while explaining to the team. Some coaches find this method better because it allows them to draw while explaining, which makes the analysis easier for the players to understand.
After the meeting, you can also export your post-match analysis separately if you want to send some shorter clips to your players via WhatsApp, Viber, or any other tool. This way they can get the analysis to their phones, check it at all times, and learn how to do better in the analysed situations.
Tuesday and Wednesday – opposition analysis
Time to prepare for the next opponent! To prepare, I usually watch 2 to 5 matches of our opponents. I try to find their matches against teams that share our playing style. This way, I can see how they act against set-ups similar to the ones we usually use.
Regarding the analysis, I carry out a similar workflow to the one I have explained in more detail in the section about post-match analysis. So, I go through the opponents match and tag the events, thinking about the 4 phases of the game and the stoppages.
I also create short videos of the few key players of the opposing team. In these videos, I analyse their characteristic moves, like dribbles, shots, or how they position themselves in duels. You can send these short videos directly to the players via your favorite direct messaging app.
On Wednesday, we usually do a team meeting about the opponent we are going to face on Saturday. It lasts for about 20 minutes and it consists of the merged video of selected sequences and drawings (5-7 minutes total) and some more detailed comments about the situations we have noticed during the analysis.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – tactical preparations
If, for some reason, we didn’t do a team meeting about our next opponents on Wednesday, we will definitely do it on Thursday before the training session.
Thursday and Friday are typically used for tactical preparations for the next match. If you can, record these training sessions. They will be very valuable to you!
Try recording them with a camcorder or a drone. Drones can give you a great view of the situations on the pitch, and they are not too expensive anymore. For example, the DJI mini-series drones are affordable, simple, and have great video quality. Getting a few clips from the tactical training to show to the rest of your staff and to your players can have a massive impact.