Performance Data Analyst

Back in 2010, I wrote about the occupational culture of a performance analyst. The post included photographs taken of the video service room at the 2005 Canoe Slalom World Championships held at the Penrith Olympic course in Australia.

The service require a massive amount of hard wiring and included a duplicate system in case of service interruption. Memories of this event were stirred today by an advert for a performance data analyst position in British Canoe Slalom.

In the United Kingdom, canoe slalom and hockey were two early adopters of video technology. In canoe slalom, Alan Edge was at the forefront of this early adoption and some of Alan’s work is discussed by Graham Jones and Lew Hardy (1990).

I thought our work developed Alan’s original ideas twenty years on with the help of some rudimentary digital technologies.

The post advertised this week moves that work on to a different level.

The position description is:

Role and Person Summary

The primary aim of this role will be to leverage existing/new data structures and intel within the British Canoe Slalom program to improve coach-athlete knowledge of factors enhancing or detracting success in “on water” technical performance. To meet this end, we are looking for someone whom is both curious and personally driven and capable of leading video/data support at both international & domestic competitions & training environments. The candidate should have a thirst for seeking knowledge and establishing successful partnerships with key stakeholders. They must have the ability to marry video based technical information with objective numerical data across varying time domains. He/She should have the abilty to display and convey insight using appropriate visualisation tools that captures the appropriate narrative around key performance questions at both the individual athlete and group level. This will include the ability to enhance learning through the coach via ‘insight’ garnered from observational, qualitative and quantitative means.

Outside of this, the successful candidate will form part of a close knit group of successful coaches, athletes and support team which strives for excellence on a daily basis. He/she should be accepting of the need to be innovative without sacrificing the World Class basics already in place within the program.

Working Relationships

  • Head coach and other podium/podium potential coaches
  • Canoe Slalom Performance analyst
  • Canoe Slalom Physical Preparation coach
  • Canoe Slalom athlete cohort
  • EIS Sport Intelligence unit
  • EIS Performance Innovation team/external partners
  • EIS Performance Analysis/S&C teams
  • Head of Performance Support

Main Tasks and Activities

Technical priority:

  • The provision and future development of ‘in the moment’ water side video and race analytics to aid coaching feedback on technical performance.
  • Develop effective data visualisations that impacts performance decisions.
  • Manage and help develop comprehensive performance databases
  • Work alongside Canoe Slalom Physical Preparation Specialist in linking performance intel from land-based programs to on water performance.
  • Provide competition support (video and race analysis) for select international races throughout the year.
  • Assist existing performance analyst in the provision of daily analysis support within the training environment.

This role may involve training, supervising, working with and/or being in sole charge of children and young people. The successful applicant will therefore be required to apply for a disclosure from the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the CRB).  A disclosure is an impartial and confidential document that details an individual’s criminal record and where appropriate gives details of those who are banned from working with children. Having a criminal record will not necessarily be a bar to obtaining a position.

The post holder shares with all colleagues the responsibility:

for making suggestions to improve the working situation and contribute to positive employee relations within their area of work and the EIS as a whole;

to cooperate with measures introduced to ensure there is equality of opportunity in employment and sports equity; and in addition for post holders with a management responsibility to encourage their staff to ensure that they comply with all aspects of the equal opportunities in employment and sports equity policies and practices.

for ensuring that the working environment is free of sexual and racial harassment and intimidation and any other form of harassment constituting unacceptable behaviour which is personally offensive.

to comply with all aspects of the EIS Health and Safety Policy and Arrangements and, in addition, for post holders with a management responsibility to encourage their staff to ensure that they also comply with all aspects of these arrangements.

to comply with all aspects of any codes of conduct that might apply by virtue of the EIS having a presence in facilities operated by third parties.

of adhering to any professional codes of conduct appropriate to your profession or other codes of conduct that might be deemed applicable to sports science and sports medicine practitioners in general.

Qualifications

A qualification at degree level in computer science, sports science, biomechanics, performance analysis, engineering or a related subject. (Essential)

Post graduate degree specialising in performance / data analysis or equivalent (e.g. mathematics, computer science, bioinformatics, biomechanics, data science / analytics, engineering). (Desirable)

Essential Experience

Some experience in the provision of performance analysis support or data science to small teams with a portfolio of impacting performance (sporting or industry).

Experience of implementing innovative ‘end to end’ workflows (capture to feedback) on a range of video and data analysis platforms.

Experience of applying the appropriate scientific and statistical approaches to performance analysis and interrogation of questions (data validity, user reliability, normative profiling etc).

Experience in profiling, trend analysis, and managing data sets that systematically track, monitor and objectify performance (sporting or industry).

Experience of using appropriate data visualisation approaches to produce compelling insight to ‘land the message’ and develop ‘narratives’ with the end user.

Experience of project managing, coordinating and collaborating.

Knowledge and Skills

Essential

An understanding of the needs of high performers (elite athletes or not) and coaches/managers in a high-performing environments.

Thirst and drive to develop and implementing innovative ideas and putting them into practice, including working in an applied and integrated manner.

Ability to communicate complex data (video and numerical) in terms that are easily understood by a wide range of audiences.

Highly proficient in using data analysis, video analysis & visualisation software (e.g. Microsoft Excel, Tableau or equivalent).

Proficient skills using industry standard data analysis software’s in one of the following: Matlab, R, Python or similar.

Existing skills in fostering productive relationships with performance staff.

Ability to work both independently and within a team environments.

Ability to problem solve, work under pressure and make effective decisions.

Excellent communication and influencing skills that can motivate behavioural change and have a positive impact on performance.

Desirable

Skills in querying data sets (e.g Microsoft Access, SQL) and programming languages (e.g. R, python, matlab) and understanding of databases in general.

Skills in data cleansing, structuring and manipulating multiple datasets, ‘messy’ and incomplete datasets.

Proficient knowledge and understanding of the statistical analysis of High Performance Sport.

Ability to scientifically validate and interpret the methodology of test protocols and data and other scientific data.

An understanding of the various sports science disciplines.

There is a list of other essential skills too.

An interest in sport and recognition of the importance of promoting and supporting equality, safeguarding and anti-doping within sport.

Ability to work irregular and unsocial hours as required involving work outside normal office hours, at evenings, weekends and Bank Holidays.

Ability to communicate effectively in English.

Be eligible to work within the UK.

Ability to work under pressure and prioritise own workload.

I imagine there will be lots of applications for this position. I wonder what Alan Edge might make of this iteration of his foundational work.

Distances Traversed at the 2018 #WorldCup after 60 Games

I am mindful of the limitations of GPS tracking data without context, but I have been fascinated by the data shared on the Match Facts pages of the FIFA website.

After 60 games, my record of distances traversed in the tournament as a total of all player tracks is 12,822,470 metres.

The median team distance traversed in the Group games was 105,057 metres, in the Round of 16 it was 107,340 metres and 105,948 metres in the Quarter Finals.

The distances traversed by team are:

Quarter Finalists leaving the tournament:

Round of 16 leaving the tournament:

Teams leaving after Group stage:

I have created an archive for the team and player tracks on GitHub. Data from all 60 games are available there.

Photo Credit

Fernandes goal (FIFA Live Blog)

Scoring patterns in #WorldCup Knockout Phases 2010-2018

The Quarter Finals are about to take place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

I have been using a naive Bayes approach to anticipate when goals might be scored in the knockout phase of the 2018 tournament.

I chose some priors from the outcomes of the 2010 and 2014 tournament knockout phases. The posteriors for these were:

2010

2014

My priors for 2018 were:

The posteriors for the Round of 16 were:

A comparison of Priors and Posteriors after Round of 16:

It will be interesting to see if this relationship changes in the forthcoming games … particularly in regard of extra time.