Sheffield Steelers – Ice Hockey Performance Analysis with Nacsport
Following on from our previous blog looking at the Ice Hockey Performance Analysis processes with Cardiff Devils, we now take a look at another team in the Elite Ice Hockey League, Sheffield Steelers, and how they have been benefitting from using Nacsport for their performance analysis processes this season.
Sheffield Steelers were the first team in the EIHL to get in contact with us, as their analyst Andy Thorpe was initially looking into being able to better provide ‘video to bench’ for the team. Do you remember about the IIHF rule change that came in at the start of the season?
RULE 26 – TEAM OFFICIALS AND TECHNOLOGY
Team officials who stand at or near the players’ bench during the game are allowed to utilize radio-type technology for contact with another team official in an IIHF designated area.
Other forms of technology are permitted only for coaching purposes (i.e., tagging and statistics) and cannot be used to try to influence the decisions of on-ice officials in any manner.
The video analysis software that was being used by the Steelers (and all other clubs in the EIHL) was falling down on providing a stable solution for live analysis and ‘video to bench’, so we showed Andy how he could use Nacsport to achieve these key requirements but further enhance processes and outcomes when working in synergy with tools like Nacsport Tag&view (so additional staff could collect live data on an iPad), Nacsport Coach Station (for enhanced video and statistics review on the bench), live clip exports for sharing through Dropbox and the KlipDraw Animate tools for the coaches to better highlight their coaching points.
In this blog, Andy has provided further insight into the performance analysis processes used by Sheffield Steelers at home and away games, and the benefits of using the Nacsport video analysis software this season.
Prior to any game, we have a meeting to discuss the opposition’s strengths, weaknesses and playing styles, before forming our own plans for the match. Following on from this meeting, I sit down with Tom Barrasso (Sheffield Steelers Head Coach) to determine any additional specific analysis required during that game, like tracking individuals in our systems for example.
We have our own generic template with the main things we look for each game, but I can easily edit this template in Nacsport and make use of the Panel Flows to quickly add additional requirements for a particular game, so each game analysis is actually different depending on our opposition analysis and systems we want to play.
With Nacsport Elite, I record a live feed of the match directly onto the laptop through an Avermedia capture device. Tagging events as they happen with the Nacsport template and panel flows (to show me different options based on my clicks) means I can quickly register lots of events during the game.
If I want to check a moment again, I can scrub back through the video in Nacsport to add additional tags or edit tags that were created. As Ice Hockey is such a fast-paced game, being able to go back, review and add/edit data means that the team is being provided with the best data to make informed decisions with.
Through a network, my video and analysis are shared down to the bench for the coaches to review. If they are using Nacsport Coach Station, they can scrub back through the whole video and go to specific moments, but we also sometimes just use the real-time streaming so they get a list of registered actions to watch back on any mobile device on that network.
Between periods, we review the video and analysis on a big screen in our coaches’ room, working out what is required for the next period. We sometimes bring in players to see specific clips in these breaks too, so they can better understand what we want them to do. Nacsport is also a great feedback tool for our medical team, as I tag whenever an injury happens so they can watch back that clip and review it frame by frame in slow motion, to see how the injury occurred and then better prepare that player’s rehab.
After the game, we can use the Nacsport timeline to easily review all of our data and clips, then pick out selected clips to go into a presentation window, where they can be further enhanced with notes and drawings (we use the KlipDraw Animate plugin) to highlight key points before exporting these clips to share amongst the team.
In addition to the analysis that I am doing through Nacsport on the computer, we use the Nacsport Tag&view app on iPads to analyse additional things like player’s time on ice for example. If the iPads are connected to the same network as the machine, I can import this analysis live into my Nacsport Elite, further adding to the data we have for the team. Alternatively, I just import this data from the iPad after the game and link it up with my timeline and video to have everything together.
Most of our processes are the same for away games, but more often than not, I am not actually ‘on-site’ with the team so instead provide analysis remotely. As Nacsport can capture IP Camera and RTSP feeds, I am able to live capture the stream of these away games into the laptop without actually being there. I use the template in the same way to register actions as they happen, to create the data and clips that our coaching staff need to review.
With the real-time streaming process that we use at home (where coaches request clips from the list to watch on their mobile devices during the game), I am able to use Nacsport in conjunction with Dropbox to share clips over the internet for our coaches to receive at the Away games. Through Nacsport, I have chosen our shared Dropbox folder to be the location that requested clips get saved to. So, whenever I am tagging actions live then request a clip myself, Nacsport saves out this moment into the Dropbox folder, which then gets uploaded and can be accessed on the coach’s devices at the away game.
Josh from AnalysisPro helped to show me this process in Nacsport, meaning that our coaches can still easily live review key moments in a game without me actually being there next to them. Josh discussed our workflow with the Nacsport developers and off the back of that, they added a feature so that in the next update, I can pre-set specific buttons in my template to automatically export these clips into the Dropbox folder without me having to request them first. It’s great to see that our feedback and workflows can be enhanced with Nacsport, especially as it is constantly updating with new features that we can clearly see is based on user feedback.
Through using Nacsport this season, we were able to further enhance our performance analysis processes and importantly provide ‘video to bench’, which we couldn’t do with the software we were using before. We have been able to generate more video, data and visual outputs quicker than before, which is important in a sport like Ice Hockey.
I’ve worked for a number of years as a performance analyst, previously in football, and I've used many different video analysis software in that time. By far, I rate Nacsport as my first choice product due to the power and features available within it, not to mention the affordability, rate of development and dedicated support provided. The support we have received from AnalysisPro has helped to accelerate our learning of Nacsport and ensure that we can look into all the different features and benefits available with the software.