Performance Analyst Spotlight: Ricardo Sales, Brazilian Women’s National Soccer Team

Longtime per­for­mance ana­lyst drops knowl­edge about the future of video analy­sis and how his work helps the Brazilian women’s nation­al soc­cer team succeed.

Performance Analyst Spotlight: Ricardo Sales, Brazilian Women’s National Soccer Team

Longtime per­for­mance ana­lyst drops knowl­edge about the future of video analy­sis and how his work helps the Brazilian women’s nation­al soc­cer team succeed.

With over 14 years of expe­ri­ence in fit­ness and ath­let­ic per­for­mance, Ricardo Sales is a valu­able asset wher­ev­er he goes. 

This sum­mer, Sales lent his exper­tise to the Brazilian women’s nation­al soc­cer team, help­ing them reach the bronze medal game at the Rio Olympics. As the team’s per­for­mance ana­lyst, a posi­tion he’s held since 2013, Sales plays a cru­cial role by assist­ing coach­es in putting togeth­er win­ning game plans and help­ing play­ers improve.

Next Level Analysis

Though Sales serves a crit­i­cal role in cap­tur­ing images and video, his diverse back­ground in the field of sports sci­ence and tac­ti­cal behav­ior – which includes expe­ri­ence as an exer­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist for the City of São José dos Campos, fit­ness coach at a sports med­ical cen­ter and own­er of an exer­cise phys­i­ol­o­gy con­sult­ing busi­ness – also gives him the abil­i­ty to cre­ate the staff’s desired quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive reports.

Sales believes his work not only aids the team from a strate­gic per­spec­tive, but the types of find­ings he unearths help the play­ers stay engaged with game plans. 

The pos­i­tive impact of my work main­ly comes from the judi­cious and qual­i­ty infor­ma­tion I pro­vide to the coach­es and ath­letes,” Sales said. “(My work) helps play­ers become more engaged ath­letes since they receive dai­ly foot­ball knowl­edge, whether con­cep­tu­al or practical.”

How exact­ly does Sales pre­pare effec­tive game plans for the team?

Sales pack­ages the infor­ma­tion gen­er­at­ed from video analy­sis for group meet­ings and indi­vid­ual film review ses­sions. He cre­ates audio-visu­al aids for every­one on the team, leav­ing no doubt as to what they need to do to improve. Sales and the rest of the coach­ing staff also process infor­ma­tion gath­ered from Sportscode on a dai­ly basis so ath­letes can access the video and stats at any time.

Unmistakable Progress

The count­less hours of scour­ing for crit­i­cal teach­ing moments is all worth it for Sales as he gets to see the fruits of his labor through play­er improvement. 

The most reward­ing things to me are the bonds I build with the team and see­ing the ath­letes become tac­ti­cal experts because of tech­nol­o­gy. Having ath­letes rec­og­nize the impor­tance of their role with­in the mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary team is real­ly reward­ing,” said Sales.

The Evolution of Performance Analysis

With expe­ri­ence that spans mul­ti­ple decades, Sales has seen it all.

In recent years, the evo­lu­tion of video analy­sis has been immense, espe­cial­ly in Brazil. Understanding how quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive data works has improved the under­stand­ing of the game for every­one,” said Sales. 

As to what per­for­mance analy­sis will become, Sales believes there is no turn­ing back for the sports world. 

Generating impor­tant infor­ma­tion to ensure play­ers and the team improve each game is the new real­i­ty. There’s no return­ing to how things were, only evo­lu­tion­ary improve­ments lie ahead.”

Tricks of the Trade

With years of expe­ri­ence, comes insti­tu­tion­al knowledge.

When asked about what it takes to suc­ceed as a per­for­mance ana­lyst, Sales was quick to point out that knowl­edge is power. 

An ana­lyst must under­stand the com­plex­i­ties of the game and turn any infor­ma­tion gath­ered into some­thing func­tion­al, sim­ple and deci­sive,” said Sales. 

As for advice for any­one try­ing to break into his pro­fes­sion, Sales was adamant about apply­ing exten­sive knowl­edge about the sport to prac­ti­cal use. 

The biggest advice I can give to prospec­tive sports ana­lysts is to deep­en their sci­en­tif­ic knowl­edge as much as pos­si­ble and cre­ate prac­ti­cal solu­tions with the infor­ma­tion obtained through analy­sis,” said Sales. Be cre­ative and responsible!”

To fol­low Sales’ expe­ri­ences as a per­for­mance ana­lyst, fol­low his Twitter account here.