“From beginning to end, Hudl is involved somewhere along the line,” says Nottingham Forest’s new Head of Analysis, Steve Rands, as he discusses workflows at elite clubs.

Rands is one of the most experienced analysts in the whole of English football, having started out with Barnsley in 2007 before going on to head the analysis departments at Scunthorpe United, Manchester City, Derby County and Swansea City. Last month he joined Championship side Forest along with Head Coach Steve Cooper, with whom he had worked at Swansea. 

Rands says Hudl covers most elements of the analysis ecosystem, from opposition analysis to live matches to post match. And, not only this, but more of the staff are now involved hands-on in the workflows, including coaches and players. 

“The majority of coaches I’ve worked with recently all know how to use Hudl,” explains Rands. “And players come from the Academy having used Hudl Online, so I can put a template in front of them and they can clip and code themselves. 

“Millennials want more and more information and for the power to be in their own hands. They just want to get better and better. Tech and analysis really fit that and I think that’s why you’ve seen a big boom in that.”

Online servers now house “all the games we want, whether it be best practise or the whole league,” says Rands, and they are coded using Hudl Sportscode. Training is recorded, digested and “pushed straight to the coaches’ machines,” while opposition analysis is all done using Hudl as well. 

“We use one template that covers training, opposition analysis, match day live and post match analysis,” says Rands. “Everything is covered in that one template, which means it’s so much simpler for any analyst to pick up the tool and do any job.”

Telestration has become an increasingly important part of the analysis process, particularly because players are accustomed to seeing it on TV shows like Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.

Following the launch of Studio earlier this year, telestration has become part of the Hudl suite of products. 

“Telestration is of such a high level in broadcast, that the players want that at their clubs as well,” explains Rands. “If they don’t get that they could switch off. It’s really important that we match whatever is going on out there, because there’s so much at stake to try and grab the attention of the players.”

Steve Rands in the Swansea City dugout during his time as Head of Performance Analysis at the club.

Data has added another extra layer of depth to analysis, while saving time on manual tasks as well. 

“You can use it to affect behaviours but also to save time,” says Rands.

“Say, for example, that we want to understand how a certain formation plays and want to copy that formation, we can go get the best clubs that are playing that way, overlay our data, put it into Hudl, digest it, and it’s already clipped up for us, which will save time.”

During the matches, the analysts use the industry-leading Sportscode to categorise video clips and data, while Hudl Replay now gives coaches and analysts live video on the bench. 

"Being able to use Replay on the bench is a quick win for the coaches,” says Rands. "It’s now also more common to see an analyst sat on the bench, giving instruction directly to the player instead of having to go through a coach. There is that pattern now where each is crossing into the other’s domain and it’s working.

Again, data - and particularly tracking data - has opened up a new world of possibilities for analysts and coaches during matches.

“We can influence the game as it’s ongoing,” says Rands. "We can get alert systems directed to us to say, ‘this pass was on but we never played it, why?’ 

"We can understand, using the philosophy the manager has set out, if we’ve outperformed in a certain area or underperformed live during a game and that can impact decision-making, so it’s really powerful."

"Being able to use Replay on the bench is a quick win for the coaches. It’s now also more common to see an analyst sat on the bench, giving instruction directly to the player instead of having to go through a coach".

Post match, the video and data can enable detailed analysis which is bespoke to a particular team.

"I’ve had a past coach who wanted to understand why we hadn’t won certain games when we’d been hitting all of our metrics,” remembers Rands. “ We found another metric, which was ball tempo. 

"So we’d hit the positive possessions but were moving the ball too slowly. Them (the Head Coach) being inquisitive had forced us to go down the path and find a new metric that could really affect winning or losing.

"That then got transferred into training, so we could understand how long a striker has from when he receives the ball to when he’s shooting and we understand, ‘Ok, there’s an x amount of time that will be more or less successful.’"

For more information on how to take your analysis workflows to the next level, check out our High Performance Workflows ebook. 

We also have hours of expert presentations from leading figures in the performance analysis industry to view in the Hudl Elite Webinar Series.