It goes without saying that when the power went out in the analysis suite during the first day of competition at the Olympics, it presented Callum Morris with a less-than-ideal situation.
But the performance analyst for the Canadian women’s rugby team wasn’t flustered. He and his staff had readied themselves for potential issues, bringing along extra staff to film the matches if need be. Thanks to Morris’ preparedness, the crew’s workflow was only slightly interrupted, and their efforts helped the Canadian team secure a bronze medal.
“Technology at times can be temperamental and the ability to adapt to plan B and C is vital when you're in high pressure situations,” Morris, a member of the Canadian Institute for Sport, said. “Things don't always go as planned, and therefore you need to be able to adapt.
“Focusing on the necessities of the environment allows you to tailor your analysis to the coaching staff needs, and gives a clear direction of what role analysis plays and where it's headed towards.”
Morris and his crew coded and analyzed every game with Sportscode Elite, creating databases of opposition tendencies. This information was shared with the coaches and players, who made their own analyses to compare notes.
The Canadian team also looked at statistics to review the opposition’s tendencies, getting a feel for how they play and what strategy they were likely to employ.
The emphasis on performance analysis has grown exponentially in recent years, and Morris is pleased at that progress.
“The most rewarding part for me has been coming into an environment where analysis wasn't present before and watching the team grow, using analysis more and more as time goes on,” he said. “Seeing players actively want to be involved in analysis of themselves and opponents has been quite rewarding. To me it means that the analysis we're doing is helpful and sought after.”
The importance of performance analyst roles is increasing, but so is the number of individuals competing for those jobs. Morris stressed that anyone seeking to join the field should be very proactive. The opportunities are out there, but hopefuls must pursue them vigorously if they hope to land one of the coveted positions.
“Be willing to reach out to a local club to get the necessary experience, it doesn't matter if it's grassroots or professional sports,” Morris said. “The exposure to different environments will only give you more experience and a better understanding of the role analysis plays in a sports environment.”
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