Learn from the Best: How the Sale Sharks Use Video Analysis

Learn from the Best: How the Sale Sharks Use Video Analysis

Hugh Jenner, the Sale Sharks Head of Performance Analysis, gives insight into how video analy­sis improves his play­ers and his team’s performance.

Formed in 1861, Sale is one of the old­est clubs in English rug­by and have long set the stan­dard for the sport in the north of England.

The Sharks are one of only five teams to win the Premiership in the past 20 years. Their Head of Performance Analysis Hugh Jenner is at the fore­front of facil­i­tat­ing an analy­sis pro­gramme that’s reap­ing rewards in both train­ing and on-field performance.

Jenner has honed his craft across the world, from Georgia to the Russian nation­al rug­by team. 

After being part of the Russia’s first ever qual­i­fi­ca­tion to the Rugby World Cup in 2011, he fol­lowed coach Steve Diamond all the way back to the U.K..

Diamond has been some­what of a rev­o­lu­tion­ary fig­ure at Sale since his appoint­ment, with video being one aspect that has become an increas­ing influ­ence over the past sev­en years.

For us, video is the foun­da­tion of every­thing we do dur­ing the week,” Jenner said. It’s a mas­sive part of how we plan for our oppo­si­tion and iden­ti­fy trends and sta­tis­tics in prepa­ra­tion for our upcom­ing fixtures.”

Preparation starts with train­ing, and Jenner’s analy­sis team utilise Sportscode at every oppor­tu­ni­ty to quick­ly pro­vide play­ers with the analy­sis they need. 

We cap­ture train­ing live and code live,” says Jenner. Rather than tak­ing it from a cam­era and import­ing man­u­al­ly, we can quick­ly have the cod­ed footage avail­able from both a pitch­side angle and from an aer­i­al drone view as well.

We then upload footage from both angles to our inter­nal servers and to Hudl for play­er review.”

Without video I don’t think we would have any­where near the per­for­mance improve­ment that we have had” Hugh Jenner

Any rug­by coach worth his salt will drill the impor­tance of the set piece — line­outs and scrums.

A list of the line­outs the team will run dur­ing the week will be organ­ised and uploaded to Hudl. Players can then use the Hudl app to view via mobile device.

In the past we used a pri­vate link on YouTube, which was uncod­ed footage,” Jenner said. With Hudl it’s rapid to upload and play­ers can watch cod­ed footage with text over­lay feed­back to review.

It’s real­ly one of our key plat­forms, the play­ers love it.”

On game day, the Sharks have a live set­up involv­ing one ana­lyst on the side­line and four coach­es with shared time­lines allow­ing them to relay mes­sages through­out the game.

Our side­line ana­lyst is focused on set-pieces, so if our scrum or line­out guys want to watch some­thing, that’s already there clipped up for them to analyse,” Jenner said. We can also quick­ly export clips for half­time analysis.

A game of rug­by is 80 min­utes long, but can go by in a flash, so it’s impor­tant for us to have these capa­bil­i­ties at hand.”

The Sharks have improved from a 10th place fin­ish last sea­son, to fin­ish­ing in the top half of the table in the 201718 edi­tion of the Aviva Premiership. Video analy­sis has no doubt played a cru­cial role in this rise up the table.

Without video I don’t think we would have any­where near the per­for­mance improve­ment that we have had,” Jenner said. Video is now one of the key foun­da­tions for our club as a whole.”