Scout, Develop, Improve: How Hudl Ties into GB Hockey’s Olympic Campaign


Throughout a suc­cess­ful Olympic qual­i­fi­ca­tion cam­paign for both men’s and women’s teams, GB Hockey have used video analy­sis as a key part in the scout­ing, devel­op­ment and improv­ing the per­for­mance of play­ers. Here’s how Hudl is help­ing them in their push towards Tokyo 2020.


The first area where analy­sis is vital to the pro­gres­sion of GB Hockey is the scout­ing of play­ers which is exe­cut­ed through a tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem rang­ing from 13-year-olds all the way through to expe­ri­enced ath­letes being mon­i­tored dur­ing their play­ing careers. Performance direc­tor Ed Barney explains this impor­tant sys­tem and how video analy­sis ties in. 

Talent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is a crit­i­cal part of our pro­gramme and our work here, it’s all the way through from the work we do with young ath­letes through to then still some of the tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion that we are doing in and around the senior pro­grammes,” said Barney. 

The Hudl plat­form pro­vides us with an absolute­ly fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­ni­ty to improve both our tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and tal­ent con­fir­ma­tion process­es. Particularly around our ath­letes that are with­in our pro­gramme and are play­ing domes­ti­cal­ly, it allows us to keep tabs on them and see them in match environments.” 

The Hudl League Exchange is a key tool in the obser­va­tion of tal­ent, as it pro­vides a data­base of footage for all domes­tic hock­ey match­es in England that Barney and his team need for view­ing play­ers of interest. 

The League Exchange is a great mech­a­nism for us to get an insight and over­sight from the envi­ron­ment of the play­ers who we are inter­est­ed in,” said Barney. We have a num­ber of play­ers who are part of our senior pro­gramme and in a tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sense, it gives us the oppor­tu­ni­ty to observe and look at how they are per­form­ing in a non-inter­na­tion­al envi­ron­ment, but ulti­mate­ly a fun­da­men­tal and crit­i­cal environment.”

It’s not just the play­ers in the GB Hockey pro­gramme that ben­e­fit from the League Exchange. High-per­form­ing tal­ent from the domes­tic game that aren’t cur­rent­ly in the sys­tem can be scout­ed through the bank of game footage that exists online.

There are also a range of oth­er play­ers who are high­light­ed on a longlist, but per­haps are out­side of our pro­gramme, and the League Exchange pro­vides us with the abil­i­ty to log onto any fix­ture, any game, and look at their per­for­mances on a week-to-week basis in the domes­tic envi­ron­ment,” explains Barney. 

As a team sport GB Hockey have spe­cif­ic tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion process­es to make sure they iden­ti­fy and recruit the high­est poten­tial play­ers. Barney out­lines how video analy­sis fits into this key process.

The Hudl plat­form pro­vides us with an absolute­ly fan­tas­tic oppor­tu­ni­ty to improve both our tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and tal­ent con­fir­ma­tion processes”

What’s most rel­e­vant to us in a team sports basis is the con­cept of super strengths’,” explains Barney. This could be from a men­tal, phys­i­cal, tech­ni­cal or tac­ti­cal per­spec­tive. The abil­i­ty to see super strengths, the things that put them out­side of the bound­aries of the oth­er play­ers, is some­thing that the Hudl plat­form pro­vides our coach­es and tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion staff with.

Barney goes on to out­line an exam­ple giv­en of a play­er with super strengths’ — Women’s play­er Lily Owsley. 

In the women’s pro­gram, she is a play­er that is out­stand­ing in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent areas, but her phys­i­o­log­i­cal capa­bil­i­ties and speed on the pitch is some­thing from a tal­ent iden­ti­fi­ca­tion sense that sets her apart from almost all oth­er inter­na­tion­al play­ers,” said Barney. The oppor­tu­ni­ty for us to dis­cov­er that through video is extreme­ly cru­cial to us. Another exam­ple would be using video to find a play­er who can read the game con­sis­tent­ly well and make strong deci­sions both on and off the ball. We can derive this lev­el of analy­sis from Hudl.” 

For senior per­for­mance ana­lyst Ander Rodoreda, Hudl and Sportscode are vital to his role in pro­vid­ing top-qual­i­ty tac­ti­cal insights for play­ers and coach­ing staff. 

As an ana­lyst, my main respon­si­bil­i­ty is scout­ing and gath­er­ing footage,” said Rodoreda. In hock­ey the set piece, main­ly the penal­ty cor­ner, is one of the most impor­tant aspects of the game. In prepa­ra­tion for match­es, we use Hudl and Sportscode to gath­er all of the footage of the oppo­si­tion team and cre­ate data­bas­es that the play­ers and coach­es can go back to and tar­get cer­tain set piece instances.”

Rodoreda goes on to pro­vide an exam­ple from the recent Olympic qual­i­fy­ing suc­cess against Malaysia.

My work­flow for the Malaysia games was to code all of the games that Malaysia has played this year and extract data for set plays and gen­er­al plays that pow­ered our ana­lyt­ics that we used for plan­ning for the games,” explained Rodoreda. We could use this data to plan our tac­tics, and the prepa­ra­tion obvi­ous­ly paid off as we won the series 9 – 3 on aggre­gate. Analysis is absolute­ly essen­tial as the cod­ing through Sportscode gives coach­es the quick sign­post they need, the cru­cial moments of the game, and then they can quick­ly build up an image and idea of how the oppo­si­tion play.

For video analy­sis to work at its best, there needs to be buy-in from coach­es and play­ers to what the ana­lyst pro­vides. This is a key strength of GB Hockey’s analy­sis programme.

The coach buy-in is incred­i­ble, they are big users of Sportscode them­selves, they will put togeth­er pre­sen­ta­tions to show to the play­ers and each oth­er,” said Rodoreda. It runs the meet­ings, it runs the pre­views, and we will take four lap­tops to the games on week­ends on which the ath­letes will be watch­ing footage them­selves on Hudl and Sportscode.” 

Analysis is absolute­ly essen­tial as the cod­ing through Sportscode gives the coach­es the quick sign­post they need, the cru­cial moments of the game, and then they can quick­ly build up an image and idea of how the oppo­si­tion play”

In con­clu­sion, it is obvi­ous from the per­for­mance director’s view that GB Hockey have huge aspi­ra­tions for their senior inter­na­tion­al pro­grams and per­for­mance programs.

Every day, week on week, month on month we are striv­ing to deliv­er bet­ter and bet­ter results,” said Barney. Most specif­i­cal­ly, as a gov­ern­ing body, we are push­ing to be in a posi­tion where we are con­sis­tent­ly deliv­er­ing medal win­ning per­for­mances event on event, year on year. That’s cur­rent­ly what we are striv­ing for — to put the best pos­si­ble peo­ple into our pro­gram with the best pos­si­ble resources around them to max­imise the oppor­tu­ni­ties our play­ers have on the pitch and the val­ue we can add for them day to day.”