End of an Era

As my time at Performance Advantage comes to a close, it seems a perfect opportunity to reflect upon my stay in the North East of England. I moved to Durham in early October to complete my placement as part of my degree at Bath University. A novice in performance analysis at the time, I didn’t quite anticipate the difficulty of this line of work and the challenges I would be faced with.

In the early days my time was spent mostly learning about how to capture from different cameras, with different setups and environments. I then had to get to grips with the vast array of software we use: SportsCode, Nacsport, Dartfish and FinalCutPro to name just a few!

My last blog about the Cricket Fielding Drill was my first opportunity to really get my teeth stuck into an project unaided. Bit by bit I started to develop all the small skills needed to do the job – how to create a tagging panel/coding window, or a statistical output template. It is a process that only trial and error can develop, providing hands on experience, where ideas can be tested and mistakes can be rectified. (as well as successes celebrated). Ultimately I produced some work I was very proud of, something really valuable to the teams and coaches I was working with. And that is the biggest thing I have learnt about performance analysis –  you have to be a problem solver, a forward thinking individual who, when faced with all sorts of technical and logistical problems (Mud at Maiden Castle!!!!), can work towards a solution.

One thing I can take away from my time is that the environment below will always feel like my second home:

Chilling in the Trailer – Litterally

The Trailer AKA “The Burger Van” or “Mobile Analysis Suite” has saved my cold hands and toes more times than I can remember, in the cold, cold days between October and June. I am told that it once made it to 15°c during my stay up north #Tropical

Something I’ve also learned is that performance analysis isn’t just coding video and providing stats. As an analyst you are at the heart of every team that you work with. I experienced this many times during my placement, whether it be working for the Strength and Conditioning Coaches:

image 2
Me filming Durham’s Pre-Season Fitness Testing

or working to help sports-specific Coaches improve their own performance:

Working with Gareth Weaver-Tyler (Team Durham) on his In-Game Feedback using Dartfish

A big part of my placement in recent months has been the production of pre-game material for Durham CCC and Yorkshire CCC. Editing video footage and sourcing stats from Feedback Cricket as well as the lighter side, “Match Day Mirth” and “Thought for the Day”, has all come together in an interactive iBook for both teams. A simple and convenient way to share information for those who seek it.

Pre-Game iBook for @YorkshireCCC

I’m really pleased that my placement tasks and challenges have given me the skills, and most importantly, the CONFIDENCE to step up and work for my home franchise (The Southern Vipers) as their Analyst in the Women’s Super League this July/August. I can’t wait to face that, my next challenge.

For anyone considering a Placement year, I would highly recommend Performance Advantage. Their wide range of activities, equipment, environments and partners has taught me much about myself and other people. It has also given me an excellent insight into the wide range of options open to me in terms of my future career. Just what an effective placement should do.

Written by Ellie Furmidge – June 2016


If you want to hear more from Ellie, follow her on Twitter @EllieFurmidge



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