In the modern day, analysis of games has become more and more important for GAA teams. Teams have started using a wide range of systems such as video analysis software from SportsCode and Dartfish, team heart rate systems, and GPS tracking devices to get the edge over their competitors. Of course, many of the analysis systems have an associated cost. At an elite level, this may not be as big a factor, but at club level, the cost of having a match analysis system can sometimes seem prohibitive. However, with the smartphone revolution, and with a bit of ingenuity, you can gain meaningful and useful information from matches that can be used to guide your training. Here are a few ways of getting your match analysis under way!

1. The Pen and Paper Method

You can set up a simple table, and make it as long or as short as you like. Pick the variables that you want to measure, and make a mark on the sheet each time the variable happens during the first and second half. I would advise to keep the variables nice and simple at the start, and make sure that you are tracking things that can have a practical application to training. For example, if you win 5 out of 20 of your own puckouts, which is a rate of 25%, then you should be using this data to guide your training. Your team clearly need to get their puckout strategy in order to ensure a higher percentage of puckout wins. You can set goals for your team to get the win rate of their own puckouts up to 70% over the next few weeks. Other examples of simple stats that canhelp guide your training is the frees condeded stat. If your team conceded 15 free pucks in one game, then the team goal should be to get this down to 10 in the next game. You may need to work on tackling skills in training to get this free count down to an acceptable level. The same idea goes for the other stats that I have listed below. The process is

  1. See where the stats are lacking
  2. Do the specific work in training to improve the numbers.
  3. Set a goal to achieve the new target in the next game.

This will become an extremely satisfying and rewarding process for the coaches and players when they see the stats improving week by week.

The advantages of this system are that it requires no technology for those of us who have not jumped onto the smartphone train yet, and feedback can be given at halftime to the team to let them know if they are on target or not. You should also post the stats up in the dressing room during the week following the game so that players can see where the team did well, and what areas need to be improved.

2. DartFish EasyTag Smartphone App

If you own a smartphone, or an ipod touch, I would recommend downloading the free DartFish application EasyTag. This is a great little app that will allow you to do all of the above with a few added advantages. Here is a screen shot of the stat variables that I have outlined in the table above. All you have to to is hit start, and each time something happens that you want to track, simply press the screen. Before you start the analysis, all the boxes will be the same colour, but as you tap the boxes as the game goes on, the colour changes as the frequency of each event increases.

The advantages of this system are that it has a timing system inbuilt, so when you export the data, you can see when each event happened. This can be useful for things like identifying team fatigue. If the team gave away 7 frees in the last 10 minutes, or could not score in the final quarter, then this could indicate a lack of fitness or tiredness. The data can also be sychronized with dartfish if you are also taking a video analysis of the match. With the EasyTag app, you can discretely track the team stats, and easily relay them to the coach and team without having to tally up the number in your head when you are asked how many frees the team have conceded.

Overall, the EasyTag is a nice neat app, that’s free, and that allows for simple match analysis, and pain free stats counting that allows for immediate feedback to the coach and team. I would recommend that coaches download this app and use it with their teams as a method of focusing their training, setting goals, and improving their team. This app also has an application for parents who are watching their children playing, or for individual players with a friend in the crowd. Some simple post game data can make playing more fun, and training more focused. See more info on the EasyTag App here.