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Interview: How Derry City FC Are Gaining From Performa Sports

Fri 21st Oct 2016 | IT & Technology

Derry City’s Video & Performance Analyst, Seamus McCallion tells fcbusiness how the League of Ireland club are benefitting from Performa Sports’ video analysis technology.

FC: How has the adoption of video analysis helped Derry City FC?

SM: The adoption of video analysis has helped firstly with player development, we use the videos of matches to show where we can improve individually and collectively, we also use it to reinforce positive play.

We have found that the players have different learning styles which we identified at the start of the season, most of the players are visual learners so the video plays a big part, although Kenny [Shiels] would use all types of learning styles with the players.

We would also use video analysis to look at our opponents to nullify their strengths and exploit any weakness we can find. 


Watch a video interview with Derry City FC manager, Kenny Shiels


Was it difficult to get ‘buy-in’ from senior executives and management at the club?

No, Derry City Football Club is a very forward thinking club. If there is something they believe can push the club on further then they will invest but obviously within their means.

The Club has invested in a mix of performance measurement systems including S&C, GPS as well as video analysis.

The great thing about the Performa Sports platform is that it helps bring it all together in a way that makes it easier for the coaches and players to use.

I don’t think any other club in the League of Ireland has this level of analysis in place, which shows how much the club is investing in developing its players and professionalism. 

Why did you choose Performa Sports?

We looked at a few systems in the market but felt that Performa offered more than the others for what we wanted to do.

The system is very user friendly, affordable but most importantly it's flexible and can be adopted to suit the clubs needs, some other platforms have set KPIs that you must work off whereas Performa's can be set up for game analysis, opposition analysis, scouting and specific training analysis, etc.

We also found the Performa team great to deal with and genuinely interested in the experiences of the different types of users we have at the club, to help improve the system which is a big plus when using any software.

Performa are constantly looking to improve their system as sport evolves so their system doesn't become static.

The system also allows for you to get more coaching hours through the online cloud system where you can interact with players and show playlist videos regarding opposition and their own performances, etc. 

What do you look at when running performance analysis?

Our KPIs are derived from our style of play and how we as a team can control, attack and defend in game situations.

Generally speaking we look for trends in play, player’s decision-making, fitness levels, tactical awareness, passages of play to reinforce good play, organisation, team shape, etc. 

How do you then interpret and use that information?

As an example, say we found that we conceded more goals in last 10-15 minutes of each half then we would look at things like fitness, decision-making and positioning in line with the context of the performance.

We may also look to see if the opposition team shows certain traits or trends, we can then show our players examples on video clips and devise ways we can exploit these.

We will use the analysis to help inform aspects of training where we wish to repair and improve or to exploit opportunities that we have identified through opposition analysis.  

Do the players, coaches and management understand how performance analysis works and the translation of the data gathered?

Kenny [Shiels], the players and the rest of the backroom staff have been really receptive of the systems we have in place. 

Kenny's attention to detail is amazing and he has been instrumental in putting all the systems in place. Everyone can see the benefits it has for the club. 

We started by building up everyone’s understanding of the process gradually because it’s essential that it makes sense to the coaches and players.

They can now literally see the things we work on in training coming off on the pitch and see themselves in context which has really helped get buy-in.

Now they expect it and are reviewing and analysing their own performances through the Performa Sports cloud platform.

Performa Sports provide courses for system users which you’ve attended, how has helped you understand and use the system?

I started by attending their ‘Intro to Coaching with Analysis’ module just to learn a bit more for myself from a coach’s point of view.

Then I went on to complete the more in-depth Level 4 course provided by Performa and Ulster University. I believe these courses are vital not just to learn how the software works but to learn how analysis works and can be applied to coaching, player learning and development.

The courses are very informative, enjoyable, practical and a great way to develop for anyone looking to enter the field of analysis or a coach.

I would highly recommend the courses which cover everything from basic tagging to setting up KPIs and athlete learning styles. 

Do you find the Performa Sports system easy to use?

Yes it's very user friendly and flexible. The simplicity of Performa Sports hides its depth, which is clever because it means what you are spending time on is relevant.



Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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