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  • Bradley Grice

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby enhance video analysis processes with Nacsport

Recently, we took a trip to the Lilleshall National Sports Centre to meet up with Jem Akpinar, Performance Analyst for Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby.

We documented our visit to create this article for you so you can learn about the evolving performance analysis processes of this Gold medal winning side. It’s packed with exclusive interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and plenty of pictures!

Tokyo Paralympics 2020 Gold Medal Winners

The Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team beat the USA 54-49 to win Gold at Tokyo 2020, a first ever Paralympic medal for the GB team and the first for a European nation at the games. We are honoured to have played our part in their success, by providing their video analysis tools and supporting their workflows as they prepared for and competed at the games!

A huge congratulations to the team and everyone involved!

Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Gold Medal winning team at the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics – picture credited to Megumi Masuda

We started working with Jem this year as the team prepared for the delayed 2020 Tokyo Paralympic games, at a time when Jem was restructuring the video analysis setup.

At AnalysisPro we build software solutions to suit the financial boundaries of an organisation and to meet a team’s video analysis requirements. For GBWR, we provided the following powerful combination: Nacsport Scout Plus, AP Wireless Lite, Sharimg and KlipDraw integration.

You can see most of these tools in action and exclusive analyst, coach and player interviews in a video further on in this article. In summary, they enabled the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team to achieve:

  1. Easy live and post event tagging in Nacsport with customised buttons templates used for matches, training and opposition analysis.

  2. The use of the graphic descriptor tool to produce visuals of key action areas on the court.

  3. The ability to show data in a statistical dashboard, including ‘relative data labels’ to instantly show success rates for KPIs.

  4. The ease of quickly building presentations and sharing clips with coaches and players, categorising key clips for instant feedback and team meetings.

  5. In game live streaming of clips and data to the coaches on court side, for instant player feedback.

  6. An online platform for coaches and players to log on from any device and review footage and analysis. Players can create clips and build their own highlight reels from as many videos as they want to bring them to team meetings.

  7. Built-in telestration tools to enhance coaching points.

The Gold medal win allowed further investment for the team, so they could upgrade their Nacsport from Scout Plus. Jem is currently using Nacsport Elite!

The purpose of our visit was to look at what existing processes were in place and push them on even further, especially given the new functionality of the higher Nacsport version. In the morning, we spent some time discussing and working on these together.

Video Analysis Processes & ‘The Line’

Notably pointed out by Jem:

There are a number of complexities in our sport that may not seem apparent at first. Jem Akpinar – Performance Analyst for Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby

An example of one of these complexities is ‘The Line’.

A key rule within the game is that each team has four players on court. Each player has a classification score based on their ability and you cannot exceed a total classification of more than eight at one time. This means that you must tactically mix player classifications around the court. This is a fundamental key performance indicator for team analysis (comparing yourself against the opposition) as you need to know who and what scores make up ‘the line’ as you are tagging events. i.e. playing a team of 2/2/2/2 or 3.5/3.5/0.5/0.5 – you get the idea!

Of course, the mighty auto descriptor feature on the buttons template comes in very handy here as ‘the line’ in play can be activated and be automatically added to each category, allowing easy review of what happened when each ‘line’ and opposition ‘line’ are in play.

The higher version allowed for Nacsport template features such as clusters, activation links, panel flows and graphic descriptors to be used to collate as much data as possible in the quickest and least amount of ‘clicks’ as possible. It also allowed for dashboard features such as variable data labels to be used to flick between the data changing when each ‘line’ was in play!

The Descriptor Calculator tool could automatically work out the frequency of actions based on specific time segments. These more intricate features were on top of the ability to sync up to 4 angles of footage together and to drop unused footage i.e. when the camera is rolling through half time.

These features make a massive difference to Jem’s day to day video analysis processes to create data outputs of the team overall, but also when playing specific lines against specific opposition lines.

Here is the actual Nacsport statistical dashboard used by Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby against the USA in the Tokyo Paralympics 2020 final! In Nacsport this is also interactive, so will show the related video clip of the stat just by clicking it!

The live set up!

In the afternoon, it was time to visit the court and get the kit setup for live analysis for the training games. Don’t worry, you are getting very close to watching the video I mentioned!

Jem connects his Nacsport laptop to the camera via an AverMedia device, effectively seeing what the camera can see as it’s capturing the video file! This enables Jem to live tag with his template, so he is building in game stats as well as clips. Both of these are being live streamed to the coaches iPads on the court and coaches can then watch the clips back and check on the stats during team talks between quarters or in timeouts.

Of course, we love video, so the best way to show you the full setup and performance analysis workflows for Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby is with a video! Without further a-do, please go ahead and watch below. It includes exclusive interviews with Analyst Jem Akpinar, Assistant Coach Darren Matthews and Player Nick Cummins.

We were delighted to hear such positive feedback from the team on the use of Nacsport, AP Wireless Lite and Sharimg! Once we stopped rolling the camera and took the microphone off, we of course got some more ‘gold’ from the team too and you’ll have to trust us as we relay these insights, as they’re really valuable.

After the interview with Assistant Coach Darren Matthews, he explained how he loves the Nacsport data matrix tool to find clips instantly. For Darren, comparing using Nacsport to Dartfish (their previous tool), the biggest benefit was all about time saving. Being able to easily view the right clips exactly when he wants to view them, without having to continually scroll and click through menus was hugely impactful for him and the team.

Similarly with the Nick Cummins player interview, he went on to explain how coaches will set players individual goals/targets and they would each then use Sharimg to create clips to show their coaches when they were and weren’t reaching those goals. We thought this was a fantastic process to empower the players with their own development. Nick added that before the team had Nacsport and Sharimg, he had to film the laptop screen with his phone to make his clips for feedback! The integrated Sharimg package was once again more effective and another time saver for the team!

We want to say a massive thank you to Nick, Darren and the whole Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby team for letting us into camp and sharing their feedback. Of course, a huge thanks to Jem Akpinar too, for sharing your performance analysis processes with us and the wider video analysis community. We wish you and the team all the best with the European Championship in February, where we are sure your performance analysis setup will be as strong as ever with the seemingly magic bullet of Nacsport, AP Wireless Lite and the Sharimg online platform!

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