How can you engage with your local community to get help with performance analysis? Here’s how Southampton Football Club does it.

Natasha Patel offers insight into a holistic approach to video analysis in this three-part series.

Sports clubs at every level face the challenge of finding quality staff to make the most of any new technology at their disposal.

Natasha Patel, former head of performance analysis at Southampton FC, explains how the club built strong links with their local university to capitalise on the increasing numbers of analysis degree courses they offer.

“We have a big work placement student programme at Southampton Football Club,” said Patel. “We’ve worked with local universities for the past five years and branched out more nationally as analysis has gotten bigger, not only in undergraduate degrees but also master degrees.”

The power of Southampton’s intern programme lies in giving students specific job roles, ownership of those roles and treating them like a regular member of staff.

“Six [of our] full-time members of staff have come through the work placement programme,” Patel added. “Working with Chichester University on their masters, they [the analysis interns] will be with us full-time for the season, but also study alongside so they can get information from our football club and apply it into their research. It gives them more practical experience.

“[We are] also working with the universities to develop their programmes for the industry as a whole.”

Natasha recognises the rapid growth of performance analysis as a career path in its own right and has some pretty clear views as to why.

“The intake for students at universities to undergo analysis at undergrad or post-grad level has gotten bigger due to analysis as a whole, as an industry, getting bigger and bigger—whether it be statistically, video analysis, or from Monday Night Football, for example,” said Patel.

“Information that was kept in house is now available on a commercial level and it’s enticing people to want to know more about what is going on behind the scenes.”

Want to learn how the international sports industry is using video analysis? Check out our resources page for more.