Performance analysis now a key element for all Cork hurling and football teams

Performance analysis now a key element for all Cork hurling and football teams
Seán White battles Brian Kennedy and Hugh Pat McGeary, Tyrone. Picture: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

AN array of people have played huge roles behind the scenes in helping the Cork U20 hurling team reach this year’s All-Ireland hurling final.

Len Browne works as a video analyst for the Cork U20 hurlers, preparing for Tipp next Saturday.

“I started as a coach and I was looking for ways to be honest with all players, so you could justify the decisions you made. As things developed you could see other ways of learning and engaging with sport and how you can learn best for viewing and reflecting on performance.”

He has worked with the Cork senior football team, the Cork minor hurlers, the Cork U20 hurlers and the Cork ladies footballers this year.

“Any team you work with are always great and you are always learning. You are always developing your understanding of what coaches want. My role is varied.

It involves the managing of video footage for the teams, filming of games if required, analysing the games from both a team and individual playing perspective, generating learning videos, full season statistical analysis.

“I also work with Kieran Collins to use sports science to evolve our understanding of the game and how we can use it to develop our learning. Hopefully by using this information we can see our teams develop.”

Browne could see the benefits of using video analysis from an early stage.

“I could see how it could benefit me as a coach and benefit the player, that has not changed for me. As I progressed from coaching to becoming a full-time analyst, I missed the coaching aspect of it, but really enjoyed the challenge of using performance analysis as a tool for player, team learning and development.”

He is based in the Mardyke Arena as the Head of Sports Performance Analysis. He initially got involved with the Cork GAA teams following an approach from former senior manager Brian Cuthbert.

“When the GM at the Mardyke Arena Patsy Ryan was developing the third stage of development for the Arena he wanted to develop the high-performance aspect of the arena and part of that was Sports Performance Analysis.

“Brian was looking to develop his understanding of all aspects of coaching and management, so working with him was very good for my understanding of how a coach looked on analysis and how it could benefit a team. After he moved on, I continued in the role when Peadar came in.

“Denis Ring who was with the Cork minors back then was another coach who looked to analysis and used it very well with his teams. Ger Fitzgerald was with the Cork U21 hurlers in the beginning and he was keen to use performance analysis with his teams.

“I have been involved with different Cork teams for about seven years now. I always found Ronan McCarthy’s take on analysis to be informative and effective. Ephie Fitzgerald has also really embraced analysis and how it can help drive understanding and help a team to play better and develop.”

It’s a very demanding role.

“Before the Tyrone game, the first thing I would do is add any games we have of Tyrone to the coach’s game database. The coaches can then go in and view any Tyrone games. If specific information is required I will get that also.

“Information will be sent to me regarding the requirements for a Tyrone preview movie, this will have specific headings and I will make this movie and send back before the team video session. We will then look at the game day requirements, make sure all live game analysis is ready, set up and working.

“If a game is live, I can code from the office to speed up everything. Live game performance indicators are generated for in-game stats. There are then post-game analysis from a team perspective and individual player impact rating coded. This data is also added to other data to give a rounded picture of performance.”

There are many advantages to using video analysts.

“Performance analysis can be used to get players to review, reflect and develop an understanding of how they play the game. They can then use this to get better and in turn the team will get better. It’s mainly coaches and management I deal with. I give them the information. It is then up to them to use their knowledge to extract what they feel is important for them.”

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