At the Liberty Stadium, the Swans are setting up a world-class performance analysis team. Their head of performance analysis Steve Rands talks us through the value of a clear analysis philosophy and having, the right people in the right roles.

It’s no secret that player and performance analysis has become a specialized science within the football industry, with clubs trying to establish world-class workflows to enhance the coaching staff’s capabilities of evaluating, forecasting and analysing player performances. 

Steve Rands has been working in performance analysis for more than a decade, with previous spells at Barnsley FC and Scunthorpe United, before joining Manchester City in 2011 and becoming Pep Guardiola’s lead first-team analyst. He then worked with Frank Lampard at Derby County, before moving to Swansea last summer.

Before the Covid-19 lockdown, Swansea were entering the final stage of the 46 game campaign, with 53 points reaped in 37 games in the Championship and still chances to achieve promotion to the Premier League via the playoffs. During such a long campaign, it is critical to have a well-functioning and efficient performance analysis team.

“During such a demanding season, it’s really important to have clear communication between the coaches and the analysis department,” said Rands. “That allows us to achieve a clear insight into the philosophy of the coach. We are really fortunate that we have coaches who are open and clear on their philosophy.”

“This has allowed us to define a clear player profiling model, one which has now evolved into data, and into which we can monitor concurrently throughout the season. Essentially monitoring, correcting and then reviewing our players throughout the season.”


So, a clear lead is very helpful when it comes to unifying different minds under the same collective goal. And if the coaches’ philosophies can be of help, Rands’ job as head of performance analysis has no lesser value.

“Being a ‘head of’ means I’m the one that will set the vision of the department and this vision should rarely change from club to club. It’s something I always can attach to our work,” said Rands.

“I think it’s also important to get the right staff in your department, performing the right roles. Quite often analysis can become grey at times in terms of the duties, particularly when coaches are known to throw the odd request in. So having specific staff, performing their roles at an optimum level is important. For me, that means assessing their qualities and giving them exposure to what they are good at.”

With evolving analysis departments, Rands’ job is also shaped accordingly, becoming what he defines today as “a little bit of a hybrid”.

“I sit somewhere between the management team (coaches) and the analysis department,” said Rands. “This can become quite a juggling act at times, it’s really important to have clear, transparent communication strategies.”

“Being a ‘head of’ means I’m the one that will set the vision of the department and this vision should rarely change from club to club. It’s something I always can attach to our work”

Those strategies find their output during the weekends when Swansea displays a world-class analysis workflow during its games. Either home or away, Rands’ team boasts an impressive range of men and tools to grant the coaching staff with the best possible analysis.

In terms of matchday, the Swans have a strong setup, that’s primarily composed of cameras - in order to record every aspect of the match with the most useful angles, and manpower, tasked with coding and analysing data.

“We usually have someone filming our game from our wide-angle broadcast quality camera. This will feed both ours and the away analyst teams, along with our high-resolution broadcast,” said Rands. 

“Alongside this, we run three other cameras: two behind the goals and a super-close-up directly behind our defending goal. This is for the action of our build-up, but more importantly defensive issues. It also captures sound – which is important for communication from set-pieces. The bench has a tablet with all angles streaming to it with a 1-second delay.”

Attached to this whole process, there are coders in the stands. “We have two coders on matchday, each with different coding roles,” said Rands. “We also have our data specialist inputting the data live and flagging any areas of importance, either directly from our game plan or from our usual methodology. I will sit on the bench, capturing multi-angle review clips for half-time/full-time review.”


As a professional with years of experience in football, Rands has lived through the many stages and advancements of video analysis, which have developed hand-in-hand with his career.

“Anyone who has worked in performance analysis over a number of years will undoubtedly have had their role entwined with technology,” recalls Rands. “For example, when I started, you had to phone up an analyst for a game, wait for the DVD to arrive in the post, then had to export to your Macbook via a Canopus 110 box!

“As time moves on, technology gets better and better. I find embracing it can really lighten the load of what is still an evolving and demanding role.

Take for example the reporting mechanisms. Initially, everything was done in the meeting room, a lot of this was standard coaching off the pitch. But looking at it now, with the Hudl online platform, you’re giving players and coaches more chances to interact directly with one another in their own time.

“Overall technology is a huge aspect in helping us achieve our role as an analyst, it is so important to embrace it.”