Improving performance. Lessons from US sport


Following on from our discussion yesterday about adopting one or two of the techniques the enormously successful GB Olympic cycling team there are other areas where a technical advantage can be sought.

Football is awash with metrics these days.  Clubs know things about their players they never even wondered about 10 years ago, leading to more informed decisions.  It is probably no exaggeration to suggest that a club like Celtic will have some information on thousands of players.  At the top level, much of this information will be fresh in the minds of coaches and scouts, and will easily be recorded on a database, but scouting permeates through youth football.  Acquiring and assimilating information on the many hundreds of players on view each month is an information challenge.

The US sports were early to get on top of this problem.  SportsBoard is a iPad-based data capture and management app which enables coaches and scouts to record information on players (their own players and others) as they watch the game.  Data is uploaded from the iPad to a cloud-based database.  Information and comment on each player or opposing team can then easily be analysed.

The alternative would be to scour through unstructured notes without any way of controlling the up-flow of information.

The app has also been used to provide instant metrics to first team squads.  Players can get home from training, login and see how their performance was rated that day, allowing them to adjust their own target for the next session.  I spoke to the designer, Gregg Jacobs, who has received a ton of media coverage in the US over the last two years.  He told me this was about providing “more meaningful feedback”.   Take a look at the Assessment and Contact Management features, which has screenshots of the ‘soccer’ app.

So this week we’ve covered orthopaedic pillows on tour and leg heaters from the GB cycling team, as well as a scouting management and instant metrics system from US sports, all low-cost and designed to reduce risk and improve performance.

Should we do it?
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  1. GourockEmeraldBhoy on




    Slight sprinkling here earlier, 2 very disappointed young bhoys who can’t build a snowman :-)…




  2. Ftiesdorfer


    Check Thomsons blog then TSFM. Change at SFA needs to come from as wide a support base from all clubs as possible or it will be portrayed as Rangers hate rather than wanting sport restored to the football business

  3. DeniaBhoy – I’d forgotten about that (or forced it from my mind). I’m not sure I want to remind myself.

  4. The Moon Bhoys on

    To be honest I’ve always wondered about anyone prefixing a comment – be it on here, in the pub, at the doctors etc, with the words ‘to be honest’. Does this mean that if they don’t say ‘to be honest’ before they speak (or post) that they are not being honest and in fact are probably lying? To be honest its more when it’s used in the media that gets my attention and tells me that whoever said it is probably an accomplished liar.

  5. I had a wee panic on Saturday, my Juve ticket didn’t turn up, maybe my postie had a lay in.


    No, other mail arrived. Got on the bus to the game, the ticket conveyer came up and asked if I wanted to collect the ticket at the semi final, even though I ordered it online, was charged for delivery, it was is being sent to the CSC!

  6. Green Lantern (((((0))))) on

    Le Fat One uses the phrase ” tae be perfectly honesht wi ye” all the time.



    Nuff said.




    Many thanks -)))



    Big fella’s 2 now so i’m looking at him to be good, the bitch is a daft 1 yr old and obedience is going to be her problem off the harness.



    But i’m gonna take it as a fun day and enjoy it.

  8. Cheers to all who recommended breaking bad, just finished watching first series.



    Slow start but getting very good.



    No sopranos thou..yet

  9. One thing I think we should sort out on a quiet day here is the etiquette on Live Updates here on a Celtic game..



    Pet hates –



    People discussing things not immediately relevant to the game,



    Posters who put numbers in the posts as in ‘2 fouls committed’.



    Someone who says ‘FFS!’ by itself when it’s just a bad miss from a Celtic player or a strange free kick decision.



    The ‘Get Paddy on’ brigade when we aren’t winning (I quite like him, BTW).



    I’m sure there’s load more but I can’t think of any.

  10. proudbhoy


    15:39 on


    21 January, 2013



    It gets better and better. You are correct though, it’s a bit slow at the start and most folk chuck it before episode 4. I have urged a few to keep at it, and they all get hooked before the first season ends. I’m up to date with BB and MadMen and have now started ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ ( Kindly passed down from my elder Hermano at CP on Saturday !







    -)))) They get on ok mate, mine have a pecking order the Female is the boss and he knows it.

  12. When I worked as a scout for Celtic during the Gordon Strachan era they where always talking about launching a new database for us to log our match and player reports.


    I believe Paul McStay’s company (www.midgibyte.com) where contracted to design and build the database. It never happened in the time I was there although all reports where written and submitted to the club so should be available to be uploaded to a database once it happens.


    Celtic are notoriously slow to put good ideas into action. This is usually down to either a lack of money or lack of conviction in what they are doing and sometimes both.


    I suppose iPads may change all of that but the requirements for reports remains the same.

  13. Burgas Hoops



    I have five, so more of a pack, he is the boss, then comes the other males, she is sort of left out, she would be my fav though.



    They get on well, she is an amazing hunter.

  14. Valentine's Day on

    Burgas Hoops



    Beautiful dog’s………but hard work I believe.



    I’ve got a lazy Labrador,or maybe she has a lazy owner.

  15. Auldheid 1513



    Thank you, fair point assuming you mean re the SFA re-election needs widest support? I have read both TSFM and Alex Thompson’s blog which if I remember correctly repeat your excellent original submission on this issue. Any thoughts on the other issue of non-participation in Scottish and League Cups as a general principle?




  16. sipsini


    15:36 on


    21 January, 2013


    The boy jinky.



    Pop into rm and watch Andy goram being verbally abused.


    Quite funny.hh



    Please no links



    The video is a disgrace

  17. Go on, get them a dog, and I can make it a lovely Celtic collar >}}}#




    -))))) never miss an opportunity TET.



    I think we’re gonna stud the big fella next year.

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