Irish Sport encouraged to make more use of Performance Analysis

Updated: March 25, 2014

New colloborative research from the Irish Institute of Sport (IIS), Sports Institute of Northern Ireland (SINI), Coaching Ireland, and the Institute of Technology Blanchardstown (ITB), has highlighted the growing prevalence and use of performance analysis (PA) in Irish Sport across all levels.

The research found that 51% of coaches (level 1 and above) use performance analysis with higher adoption among the more experienced/qualified coaches.

The research also showed that PA is moving from elite to mainstream clubs and athletes largely due to the emergence of technologies with a wide variety of cameras, software and smart phone apps now available.

Performance analysis, in its simplest terms can be described as the process of recording, processing, and interpreting events that take place in training and/or competition with in any given sport. Given the expansion within the area, the research assesses how coaches use PA, how often PA is accessed, the tools used along with the challenges and barriers to using PA in a wide variety of Irish sports.

A breakdown of the key finding is highlighted below and in the accompanying info-graphic.




Key findings

Breaking the responses into 2 distinct groups of those who do use PA (51%) and those would don’t use PA (49%) yields some interesting findings. Table 1 indicates that more experienced and higher qualified coaches are more likely to use PA. The competitive level of the athlete the coach is working with also appears to positively influence their use of PA.

Coaches USING Analysis Coaches NOT USING Analysis
Qualification (level 3 and above) 28% 10%
Experience (10+ years) 53% 26%
Level of athlete coaching (Elite Senior & Age grade) 32% 6%
Paid Position 40% 20%

Table 1: Comparison of factors affecting the use of performance analysis in Ireland

* Elite level is defined as full time Irish athletes/teams that compete in International level competition at European, World, Olympic and Paralympic level


Coaches not using performance analysis

When coaches were asked why they did not use PA, 26% felt they did not know enough about the area to use it effectively, while 30% said they could not afford it. 21% of coaches thought their athletes were not competing at an appropriate level. However, 88% of coaches who do not use PA said they would like training on how to integrate PA effectively into their coaching programmes.


Coaches using performance analysis

26% of coaches using PA (71 coaches) had access to a performance analyst who provided information on their behalf. 45% (n=123) of coaches who used PA were receiving video footage only, while 47% (n=128) were receiving statistical reports only, we would have expected for these figures to be higher.
Coaches (62% ,n=188) used performance analysis to influence their training on a weekly basis and 80% (n=218) stated it was “essential or very important” in developing changes in playing style/tactics/ individual technique.

A number of factors limited the amount of feedback which coaches can deliver having received an analysis. These were predominantly resource based issues such as lack of time available to collate, interpret and analyse the information (48%, n=131), availability of equipment and space in which to feedback (49%, n=133) and time lost to training due to the feedback (25%,n=68). Concern over information overload was also a significant factor (26%, n=70).

A resounding 94% of coaches stated that they would like to use more PA within their coaching. When asked to identify the barriers to expanding and progressing their use of PA, resources proved to be the key issue. Cost of software (42%, n=114), cost of hardware (30%, n=82), cost of personnel (26%, n=70) as well as lack of time (21%, n=57) were the most significant factors.

86%, (n=234) of coaches using PA said they would like training on how to integrate PA effectively into their coaching. A resounding 78% of coaches who do not use PA said they would like training on how to integrate PA effectively into their coaching.

This questionnaire and subsequent analysis has been developed by the Irish Institute of Sport (Alan Swanton) with the Sports Institute Northern Ireland (Johnny Bradley) and Blanchardstown Institute of Technology (Denise Martin) and has looked to evaluate the use, value and integration of performance analysis in all avenues of Irish sport, targeting coaches with a level 1 coaching qualification and above. The online-survey was distributed through the Coaching Ireland database of qualified coaches, targeted national governing bodies and through professionals working within performance analysis in Ireland. A total of 538 coaches completed the survey across 33 sports.

All involved are in the process of analysing results and producing a research paper which will likely be published in a peer review article in the coming months.


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