Atlanta United shares sports performance analysis strategies with students

Atlanta United’s Head of Video and Technical Analysis Lucy Rushton is a jack of all trades when it comes to sports performance analysis. Individual analysis, seasonal analysis, league-wide analysis, opposition analysis and player recruitment analysis — she does it all.

Rushton shared her expertise with students in Associate Professor of Marketing Mike Lewis’ Sports Marketing Analytics class.

“Research has shown when coaches watch a game, they recall only 15 to 20 percent of what happens in the game, and it’s either the really good or the really bad so the average performance in between just gets completely forgotten or missed,” Rushton said.

That’s why sports performance analysis can really be helpful in giving feedback to coaches after a game. Rushton said performance analysis helps the coaches have a more realistic view of a player’s performance while taking the emotion out of it. She explained two ways of doing the analysis.

The first is feedback through watching a video, which is subjective. Key members analyze the game and ask questions like, “What should the coach have done to win the game?”

The second way of doing performance analysis is looking at the statistics. The numbers are objective. The emotion is taken out of the analysis because it’s only based on data.

Rushton has helped build a large video database of everything that happens in United’s soccer games.

After every game, Rushton said she does a post-match report showing how the players performed in a specific game and how the team was in line with their tactical approach. She also provides individual player and unit feedback.

“We do a lot on that because we want to be successful,” Rushton said. “We’re new to this league, and we want to know what has gotten teams success in the past.”

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