KPI’s, Comparative Coaching & Classrooms

Mark Upton
Aug 18, 2017

I’m very much looking forward to facilitating ‘relearn Team Sports’ with Ric Shuttleworth from next month onwards. Whilst I expect many of the challenges and curiosities people bring will relate to on-field practice and learning design, there is an increasingly urgent need to address the role of video analysis, KPI’s, data visualisations etc – how do these things help or hinder learning & performance? That is a question that intrigues me and an area where I’ve learned plenty from getting things wrong in the past!

On Stuart Armstrong’s podcast, Ric made some interesting comments and observations of current trends – these could serve as a useful provocation for the group…

KPI’s & Comparative Coaching

“Your KPI’s and measures will generally constrain players to be more externally organised – ‘am I running the right line?’…’am I doing the right thing?’ – they’ll be playing in fear that they’re not doing the right thing. And that tends to breed comparative coaching…coaching that forces a model to be compared to what the players are doing and then you look for error and try to detect it and correct it. Rather than looking at the player in the moment and looking at – ‘have they adjusted in the moment?’…’how did they adapt?’ – and thinking how could they be more effective next time”

Classroom Learning

“There is a lot of so-called ‘learning’ in the classroom or a hotel…(but) the learning should take place in context. So in effect learning has to take place in training or a match, and then you come out of that context and start to see ‘ok, what information can we use to transfer back into the moment so we can learn better when we’re back in the training or match?’. We’ve over-emphasised it (learning) in the classroom or hotel room before training and there is a lot of time spent there.”

My own experiences and observations suggest there can be a disproportionate amount of time analysing, editing and preparing video clips for the “classroom”, in comparison to the time spent thinking about and designing purposeful (perhaps even creative!) on-field activities and sessions. Given the time constraints we are all subject to it is important to understand how you can generally get the most “bang for your buck”…perhaps having the coaches ponder & critically discuss these couple of questions will help them…

  • “what is your theory of the learner and learning process in relation to developing a high-quality player/team?”
  • “are you trying to develop players knowledge ‘of’ or ‘about’ the game?”