"Not every player is as interested. The more visual aspects you can show a player, the more he will understand it and work with it.“
Maxim Wouters is a performance analyst at the Dutch Eredivisie team FC Groningen. He has experience as a youth coach but joined the Dutch team in 2019.
At FC Groningen they have already developed a lot using a combination of event & tracking data. For Maxim it is also a great tool to automate and accelerate the process of analysis before and after the game. “On the individual level there are lots of on the ball principles that are easy to track down with event data such as air duels, passes and other examples. The tracking data is used to get more context out off-the-ball-actions,… . “
When Maxim arrived at the club he was not that familiar with event & tracking data. “I used Instat and Wyscout sometimes to verify some things but the last years it has evolved a lot within the club. Also for me the manual work that I’ve done in the past is now replaced with the help of tracking & event data which automates a lot on both general and individual level in 1-2 minutes."
It’s not always that easy to convince players about the added value of checking their progress in data. Maxim witnessed the same problem at his club but tries to motivate them as much as possible by regularly sending the players individual clips and by organizing an individual meeting with a player and go through the video with him.
“ For a lot of players it's still abstract, but it’s an ongoing process. Not every player is as interested the more visual aspects you can show a player, the more he will understand it and work with it.“
Maxim sometimes makes a report after a game to show the coaching staff that a certain data result could declare a certain action, for example a loss or defeat.
“To give an example in the beginning of the season we could see from the data that we gave a lot of crosses but that they were not very efficient. We started working more on cutbacks and low crosses and you can see a huge evolution of efficiency compared to the beginning of the season.”
More and more players get individual guidance in the teams and FC Groningen is a pionier in achieving this:
"We have a good strategy for this individual feedback of a player. It’s more based on videos and less data because that’s easier for the player. After every game or friendly game every player gets a feedback moment with a trainer to watch back the game and select some videos to see what’s good or what could be better. "
The future of tracking data
The next few years are crucial in the development of combining tracking data with event data, there are still a lot of challenges to be tackled. “I think some of the biggest clubs already do this but live feedback during games and training using data is something that will be used more in the future, also within smaller clubs. Opportunities, simulations and dangers will be displayed live during games for feedback. You can’t fully automate the game of football but they will be more and more analyzed and prepared in detail.“