Patricia Lynch is a high-performance analyst. In 2019, she worked as part of the backroom team of the Kerry senior footballers and after reaching the All-Ireland final, she switched codes and is now the High-Performance Analyst with the Kerry hurlers.
She takes us through a typical match week in the life of a GAA high-performance analyst.
“During the match, I’m reporting on ‘exceptional numerical happenings’ so that they can be addressed during the game as required. For example; puckouts, scoring chances, turnovers etc.
“At half-time, we show some team stats on the TV and players can view these if they wish. There might be something that I see during the game that needs to be highlighted, it could be a positive, more than likely it’s a positive as we try to focus on them. The software I use, generates pitch maps so I can show, for example, where puckouts landed and whether they were successful or not successful.
“After the game, I would get the match footage from our cameraman and upload it to the ‘Hudl’ platform so every player has access to the footage within two or three hours after a game. Then I go home and ‘code’ the game using Sportscode software. I can break down the footage into the clips that will be useful for us to highlight to players in our sessions during the coming week. Then I get an xml file of all the information and link it to the footage on Hudl so players can go in and see these specific clips broken down without having to go through the full 70 minutes of the game.”
Sunday: Match review
“I try to have a match code up on Hudl within 24 hours to make viewing easier for the players and management. Then within 48 hours, I would have an individual code. I’d go back into my software and I would break down the game player by player, for example, every time a player is involved in a play or gets the ball, or if I think anything else should be highlighted, I would also include it in there.”
Monday: Individual review
“Every player will only have access to their own clips. So for example, Shane Conway will be sent a file with all his interactions during a game and he can only view it himself. It’s easier that way that they don’t have to be sitting through the full 70 minutes, if they have a spare 10 minutes in the day, they can just go in and view their own individual clips. We can track their usage to make sure players are engaging with their material, we can monitor how long they view and engage with it. Players love using it, as it makes life a little easier for them.
“And management can make notes underneath each clip with feedback without having to meet the player in person. It means that the players aren’t just learning and interacting at training, you can teach them when they’re on a day off, also it means that if you have a player who had a poor game, you’re not calling him out in front of the 34 other players.”
Tuesday: Present findings at training
“As a management, we try and break down the video so that the sessions are short and they have a key agenda. You have to be mindful that certain players are travelling from college, they might be out on the pitch for an hour and a half to two hours and the last thing you want after training is to keep them there for another hour. We try to keep our video sessions to 15, 20 minutes max.
“We always have a key tone to the session so it’s not all over the place and we focus on one or two areas. The first night we have training after a match, before the players go out to the pitch, we will do a little post-match review of basic stats on the TV in the dressing room for five minutes, we don’t overload them, they don’t need to know everything. The management would have received a full set of stats including an individual player breakdown as well as match statistics at this stage. So we chat about what went wrong, what went well and we see if we hit all the markers we outlined before a match. It gives the training a purpose, shows why we’re doing a certain drill for example and the lads appreciate that.”
Wednesday/Thursday: Opposition breakdown
“The last portion of my week involves the opposition so everything I have done for ourselves up to this point, both team-wide and individual, I would do something similar to that for the opposition. So you try to obtain footage of the team you’re playing. We are probably at a slight advantage in that we play a number of the same teams each year between Division 2 and the Joe McDonagh Cup so you would have quite a lot of footage of each other.”
Thursday/Friday: Present opposition review
“We put the opposition games up on Hudl so players can go in and see footage of the opposition if they wish. It’s like anything, some players like to focus on the opposition, others don’t so we leave it up to each individual player. You get the key stats on the opposition as well, so you can identify who their key players are, what their strengths are and what their weaknesses are. So on the Thursday/Friday night before a game, we present that to the players with just a few clips so they’re ready for the match ahead.”