Cahn Leads Brisbane Olympic into the Future with Video and Data Analysis
After a Grand Final appearance in 2018, Brisbane Olympic FC coach Ben Cahn is taking the Queensland club in the right direction.
Learn how he combines advanced data and statistics to improve performance and gain key coaching insights.
After finishing as the runner-up in the top level of state football in Queensland, Brisbane Olympic FC are using Hudl Assist to streamline their analysis workflow and provide quality data for their coaching team.
Hudl Assist is a key tool for statistical analysis as it gives teams match breakdowns within 24 hours of the final whistle. Hudl’s expert analysts allow head coach Ben Cahn to reinvest time where it matters most.
“We’re quite new to the Hudl Assist program but it’s really easy to send our games across and everything comes back within 12-24 hours,” said Cahn. “It’s been really efficient, really easy to use, and it’s really helped us speed up our processes in terms of what we want to do.”
Cahn and his coaching team aim to be as detailed as possible with the match data they collect, whether that’s subjective or objective data. The time Hudl Assist saves allows them to do a more in-depth analysis of their games.
“We’re quite limited on staff, it’s really only our analyst Nathan Muir and myself, plus a couple of other volunteers when possible,” explains Cahn. “We save time off the tagging and the coding process because we now receive that straightaway from Assist, which frees up those guys and myself to do any of the other work that we want to do.”
“It’s been really efficient, really easy to use, and it’s really helped us speed up our processes in terms of what we want to do.”
Recently linked to the head coaching role at the Brisbane Roar, the 31-year-old coach has 13 years of coaching experience, including key expertise in using data to improve football performance. Hudl Assist complements this advanced, specialist area of coaching.
“On a team level, we’ve created an advanced expected goals model which is a metric that is usually based on location of the shot,” said Cahn.
"We have advanced that to a new level by taking into account how many opponents were in the area, what was the goalkeeper’s position, and who was the player taking the shot, so one of the big things that we’re really enjoying about Hudl Assist is the shot map.
“We can pull up any shot from the game and that will help us to run our expected goals model on ourselves, on our opponents, and actually on every game we play in the competition.”
To add another level to this advanced data analysis, Cahn produces detailed spreadsheets to analyse upcoming opponents in detail.
“We basically have a profile on every team in the competition that includes about 30 different data metrics,” said Cahn.
“All of them are derived from video analysis so everything we receive from Hudl goes directly into these sheets either subjectively or objectively analysing those moments.”
This data analysis extends beyond team analysis to individual player breakdowns, another example of an innovative approach using Hudl Assist game data to generate coaching insights.
“Expected goals is one of the metrics we use but there are many others. Aside from a profile on every team, we then have a data profile of every player in the league as well,” said Cahn.
“This means we have really good insight into which players are influential for their teams, which players are potentially weak for their teams in certain moments of the game, and once we’ve collected all of that at the end of each week, we actually have a league table that we can filter in which order the table is done in.
“Rather than just looking at score lines and subjectively analysing the game, we’ve got about 30 different metrics that can contribute to our analysis process and paint a really clear picture of how things are actually going based on their performances, based against which type of teams we play, and within that which players are making a difference and which players are potentially holding things back.”
“Rather than just looking at score lines and subjectively analysing the game, we’ve got about 30 different metrics that can contribute to our analysis process and paint a really clear picture of how things are actually going based on their performances."
After coaching the youth section of the A-League’s Central Coast Mariners, Cahn’s ambition is to coach full time in Australia’s top competition. Keeping up with latest trends in data and statistics is one area that he recommends to coaches with aspirations to reach the top of the game.
“One of the most valuable things for a coach at any level is to keep up with trends. But not just keep up, it’s important to try and stay ahead,” said Cahn.
“In regards to data analysis, you know it’s something that’s moving very quickly. It moves at a rapid rate, something that we were doing a month ago might be old somewhere else now.”
“There’s a real focus on staying ahead, and sometimes that means using the data we get from Hudl to experiment and try things that may have not been done before.”
Cahn’s coaching journey has seen a change in the way statistics, data and video analysis are received in the game. From initial skepticism, it's now a vital component of any serious football team.
“I think there are some really good football brains and people that can pick things just by watching, but I think it’s really important to clarify and back up what you’re seeing with what the numbers are telling you,” said Cahn.
“There are a lots of skeptics in the game and believe me I was one of them, mostly because at the start of my career I was quite scared of data when I was not particularly technologically gifted.
“I know that there are people that are skeptical and probably fearful of the rise in analysis. But without a doubt at any level if you’re serious about analyzing yourself and your opponents, it’s a non-negotiable for me.”
To learn more about how Hudl Assist is helping teams reinvest time where it matters most.