In this article, we explore how video analysis ties into the playing identity of the Houston Dynamo, the key metrics their analysis team looks for in assessing performance, and how an upgrade in technology has streamlined their analysis processes.
Houston Dynamo implement video analysis throughout their club from the Under-13 age group, all the way up to first team level. This allows for a consistency of methodology across all areas of player development. Dynamo Head Video Analyst Carl Edwards explains how technology fits into this approach:
“The goal for us as a club is to create a consistent analysis approach throughout the club, and the reason for that is we are able to track and monitor player and team development from our academy teams, all the way through to the first team,” said Edwards. “Technology is huge for us in our academy as it allows us to mirror our philosophy across all of our teams by using the same platforms of software across the board.”
In Edwards’ own words, the Houston playing identity is, “to keep the ball, play a nice looking game, and capitalize on the pace we have up front.”
In order to maintain that identity, the coaching and analysis team at Houston identify certain key performance indicators (KPI’s) to create consistency in the way performance is measured across the club.
Chance quality is one of the key metrics that allows the team to identify what kind of chances are being created on the pitch.
“Technology is huge for us in our academy as it allows us to mirror our philosophy across all of our teams by using the same platforms of software across the board".
“With chance quality we can measure how many goals we think we should have scored in a game,” explained Edwards. “A game could finish 2-1 to us, but our chance quality could say that we should have three goals and the opponent two, for example. It’s better to say it this way and it allows us to measure both chances we are creating and chances we are conceding as well.
We also look at how many times we regain the ball in attacking third, as we are a team who want to press high. So how many times do we press the ball? How many times do we press the ball carrier? These metrics relate directly to our style of play and it’s the data we provide our coaches that can confirm or challenge what they see with their eyes.”
Houston use the full Hudl Pro Suite of products, with Hudl Sportscode being the most prominent in day-to-day use at the club.
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“In one click of a button in Hudl Sportscode you’re able to upload a playlist of clips of a player, you’re able to upload the full training session or game within 3 or 4 minutes,” said Edwards.
“In one click of a button in Hudl Sportscode you’re able to upload a playlist of clips of a player, you’re able to upload the full training session or game within 3 or 4 minutes".
“Hudl Sportscode integrates perfectly with the Hudl.com platform and it saves us so much time as we are uploading a lot of training footage, broken down by exercise, into the platform for players, staff, academy staff and our general manager to review.
“On a daily basis I use the organizer tool and I create my code window to populate the organizer or drop clips in to a from a row, this is a really easy process. If we want to add titles and drawings, we’re able to do that quickly as part of the comprehensive presentations that we share to the players from Hudl Sportscode. It all looks very presentable, the presentations look like something you would see on TV.”
Houston are one of the teams with the lowest wage bill in the MLS, so for them, player development is important in order to generate new players for the first team. The Hudl.com platform (which integrates seamlessly with Hudl Sportscode) fits into this development process especially well with the younger generation of players.
“It’s huge for our academy players, especially now with the rise of digital and social media, where our young players are so comfortable with technology,” said Edwards. “We have them taking responsibility for their own learning like they would in the first team, coding their own clips and sending to the coaches - for example, they have to send three positives and three areas to improve from each game by midweek.
Because the coach has 30 players to look after, if you can create your own clips and make your own highlight reels, you can do everything that you need from an analysis standpoint to help you move up to an elite level.”
Having multiple Hudl Sportscode licences at your club allows a number of your staff to be able to access the software on different machines, this meaning each member of staff can manage their own area of analysis independently, but also have the ability to share quickly and easily between each machine.
“Every staff member at Houston Dynamo has their own Hudl Sportscode license” said Edwards.
“Head coach, assistants, goalkeeping, and all academy levels from Under-19 to Under-13. We are one of the very few clubs in the United States that have every coach with a license which is a lot of money to invest into a club where we are one of the lowest paying clubs in the MLS. So for us to be able to invest a lot of money into analysis shows it’s importance to our club.
Every coach works differently. They may want to work with three players during the week and they'll go away and they'll code some clips for those three players using their license. Then with my license I can focus on other areas like opposition analysis, while other staff members work on individual skills. We’re able to share the load with multiple licences and it allows every coach to manage their own analysis.”
Houston tie all of their analysis products together into one integrated platform - called Hudl Pro Suite. Hudl, Hudl Sportscode, Wyscout and Hudl Replay are key solutions that operate here.
“For us, it’s so important for us to be uniform and unified across the whole club in our analysis, to have everyone club wide working on the same software and using the same code windows,” said Edwards. “It's fantastic for us to have a set suite of products that we're able to work with on one platform.”
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