Analytics in a Football Academy

Analytics in a Football Academy

We switch our attention back to football for Part 4 (read the previous parts ) and up next in this series we have our football analyst with us Mr. Aakash LR who is an analyst for the Sesa Football Academy in Goa. We’re grateful that you took out some time to talk to us regarding your work.

Well, I’m always happy to talk on anything about football so I’m looking forward to this.

Gau : That’s great! So, the Sesa academy has multiple age groups, are you the analyst for all of them?

Aka : Yes, I am. We have a senior team and the U18s on one campus while the U16s and U14s are on another campus. I spend almost all of my time with the seniors and the U18s.

Gau : Most of your day to day work comes with them then I suppose?

Aka : It does for sure. So, we usually have two training sessions in a day with the Seniors practising in the morning while the U18s have their sessions in the evening. I record these sessions which are again split into two, with one for outfield players and one for goalkeepers. I record these two sessions and once it’s finished, I spend an hour or so analysing and looking at areas of improvements for players. This could be something like not following certain instructions, not being able to spot a pass to someone open and things of that nature. I then take out those clips and give it to the coach who then decides whether the information gets relayed to the player.

Gau : What is your involvement like with the U14s and U16s then?

Aka : I don’t attend their training sessions, but I go for their games and I do conduct a video analysis session with them a couple of days before their match as well. If a specific requirement pops up regarding their training, then I work on that too, but that’s about it.

Gau : So you mentioned the video analysis session with them before the games, what happens in these sessions and is it similar for both sets?

Aka : Well, the key difference would be that there is no opposition analysis for the U14s and U16s. For them, it’s just a session on their previous match where we also discuss our game plan for the upcoming one. For the Seniors and U18s the video analysis session is conducted on matchday + 2 and the opposition analysis session is conducted on matchday – 2 if the time permits. We look at things like passing options, creating space for themselves and things of that nature. From our opponent’s perspective for the seniors, we look at the pattern of play, which side do they attack from and also some of their tendencies that we can look to exploit. These are some of the things that the coach wants from me.

Gau : You spoke from a coach’s side of things, is there anything the players ask of you?

Aka : Some players would want to watch their previous games. They sit with me and we share our insights regarding what happened like if their movement and positioning could have been better at certain instances. More often it’s the goalkeepers who come to me, as their coach is into videos, so he asks them to watch the match with me often.

Gau : Interesting insights regarding some of the conversations there. Any advice for people who want to get started in this profession?

Aka : I would say watch as any football games as you can and gain more knowledge regarding the game. I think a good starting point would be going to some local teams and analysing their games so that you have a foundation to build on and to gain some experience as well. I’d also suggest looking up some online courses. You’ll also find a lot of videos on YouTube which you can watch to get an idea of how some aspects of the games are analysed. That’d be a decent starting point in my opinion.

Thanks for your suggestions and your time Aakash. It was great to get a different perspective and you’ve given us an inside peek into the kind of work that goes in academies and there’s a lot I believe that people can take from this.

That concludes another chapter in our series. Stay tuned for more!

Interview and article by our content head – Gautam Varier

 

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