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  • Josh Bryan

Evidence Based Coaching at Chesterfield FC

Today we would like to welcome one of our newest Nacsport users, Chesterfield FC, by sharing information with you about how they analyse their performances and game plan effectiveness using the 3 Nacsport Scout Plus Unlimited licences that are now in use with the Academy. The Nacsport Scout Plus Unlimited licence is a new version that was recently released in the impressive Nacsport Version 2.2.500 Update, and allows Scout Plus users to work with as many different videos as they want for reviewing multiple timelines/matrixes and creating presentation windows (Scout Plus is limited to 5 different videos).

John Bilton has an impressive coaching CV and is now an assistant to the Academy Manager at Chesterfield FC. He is also somebody I met back at the Elite Sports Performance Expo in June 2015 whilst demonstrating Nacsport, when we began exploring how our video analysis tools could assist his processes. John has kindly provided us with the following content to share with you, giving great insights to the analysis that they carry out, how this supports the coaching programme and how it measures the effectiveness of the team’s performances during the season. So before I leave you with this kind and open sharing of the team’s analysis methods and coaching principles, we would like to say a big thanks to Chesterfield FC and John Bilton for choosing the Nacsport video analysis software as their Evidence Based Coaching tool!


I am the coach in the Professional Development Phase at Chesterfield FC. As assistant to the Academy Manager, my primary role is to develop the players in the U18 squad, which consists of 19 players.

Player development is founded upon an Evidence-Based Coaching (EBC) programme. The EBC programme evolved from a series of research studies conducted by Dr. Peter Usher, a sport psychologist and performance analyst, who was my colleague at Fenerbahçe S. K. in Turkey. The surveys analysed approximately 5,000 goals scored at Senior and Youth Levels, Men and Women, in Club and International matches. The data analysis demonstrates unequivocally that specific performance variables determine the probability of scoring goals and winning matches. By comparing selected performance variables with the number of goals scored, respective performance standards and profiles have been established.

Our weekly match performances are analysed and the data is compared with the performance standards and profiles. The weekly comparisons reveal the ‘gap’ between the present and desired performance levels. The gap analysis reveals the training needs and thus the weekly coaching programme is designed to meet those current and future needs. In summary, the data (the evidence) plays a significant role in determining the content of the coaching programme.

The primary objective of the coaching programme is to play in a way that allows the team to be effective and score a minimum of three goals per game. Teams scoring three goals in a match have an 83% probability of winning! At present, Chesterfield FC U18’s are averaging 3.1 goals/match; an average which is the second highest in all U18 professional teams in England! Unlike the Premier League clubs, our Academy only has players who would be considered to be ‘average’ at best and yet EBC is producing elite team and player performances. [The performance standards being attained at Chesterfield FC are comparable with those achieved by the Academy teams at Fenerbahçe.]

The means of collecting match data has proceeded from the initial paper and pencil approach to using computer applications. The earlier surveys required a great deal of time in collecting, recording, and analysing data. Data was transferred into a spreadsheet for assembling and comparing selected performance variables. Today, a number of computer-based applications are available which significantly reduce the amount of work and time to record the thousands of match data sets. Several applications were ‘trialled’ and Nacsport Scout Plus is the winner in meeting the technical needs and value for money.

Our technical needs are extensive; starting from gaining possession to transferring the ball forward into the Attacking third with possession to prepare for a strike on goal. Within the Attacking-third there are nine specified zones from which an attempt can be made to deliver the ball, while maintaining possession, into a key zone in front of goal from where 80% or more of the goal-scoring strikes occur. In total there are 12 possible performance variables, from a choice of 67, which could be measured in any one team possession. An average match can generate approximately 1000 + inter-related data sets. Thus, a robust application with extensive capacity for recording and collecting data is required. Nacsport Scout Plus allows us to easily collect, code, group, calculate and analyse data for every sequential team possession which occurs in the match.

Most applications have the provision to collect match data in pockets, for example, strikes, passes, tackles, etc. but do not have the capacity to allow us to gather the scope, or volume, of data we require and with the ease of use that Nacsport provides. Furthermore, Nacsport Scout Plus makes it easy to output relevant video clips. Those other applications which do are far more expensive to purchase or rent, and cost was an important consideration for our Club.

We like the easy to understand operation of this application. You can soon get to work collecting and coding data. Coding tables, called category templates, are easily developed and they can be changed, if necessary, as your data collection evolves. There is a handy drawing tool that allows many types of shapes and lines to be inserted at your preferred point in the video along with notes. We also like the Dashboard which saves you going into Excel or Numbers to create charts. All in all, Nacsport Scout Plus is a very powerful and professional tool for the coaching process, which, when used effectively will help guide and enhance your coaching program and increase the quality and effectiveness of your training sessions.

A key and important consideration is the support offered by AnalysisPro Ltd. They provided a trial period during which time they supported the Club by helping us to identify how best we could use their application for our specific needs. We presently have three licenses and getting support for their use is just a phone call, text, or email away – even out of office hours!


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