Monthly Archives: October 2013


Workshop: Social Media – Facebook for Business

Social Media – Information Evening and Workshop – Facebook for Business

The Ballybane Enterprise Centre will host an evening seminar, free of charge on Thursday 24th October at 6:30pm, on Social Media, with particular emphasis on Facebook for Business.

The seminar will provide a broad outline of the role and value of Social Media in society today with a particular emphasis on how businesses can positively impact their performance by engaging with customers through social networking.

This evening session will be a precursor to a full day workshop on Saturday November 9th. The full day programme will provide a more in-depth and comprehensive knowledge of Facebook for Business and the opportunities and resources which can be deployed.

This evening seminar and full day workshop is the first in a series will be followed by further events which will focus on Twitter & LinkedIn & YouTube, Blogs & Other Social Media.

The Social Media seminars & workshops will be delivered by Pete Kelly of 15 Eleven Communications and Gary Mullin of Ion Connect. Gary and Pete have developed a series of workshops to illustrate, particularly to small business, how the medium of social media can best be employed in a cost effective fashion.

There is an almost ‘mind-boggling’ set of options open to individuals and companies today when it comes to using social media to promote their business. Gary and I have crafted a series of workshops that we feel will cut through much of the complexity and allow the user to identify a set of tools that best suits their particular needs.” according to Pete Kelly.

Pete Kelly is founder of 15 Eleven Communications with over 30 years’ experience in a variety of management, training and advisory roles, predominantly with multi-national companies. He is a member of the Irish Institute of Training and Development.

Gary is the Co-Founder and Creative Director of ION Connect. He has completed a Masters in Strategic Marketing at J.E Cairnes School of Business and Economics NUIG and is an expert in all aspects of social media.

Performance Analysis at Grassroots level – FAI connection

Start off as you hope to continue is an often used and sometimes abused adage. Until very recently performance analysis, using video, in soccer was only used at the professional level and in the professional academies, writes Pete Kelly.

In Ireland the first exposure young players would get to this methodology would have been at youth level and even then it would have been patchy. However the FAI have taken a huge leap forwards recently when they signed a partnership agreement with Avenir Sports for the provision of a suite of software products to establish Performance Analysis as an integral part of the emerging talents centres throughout the country.

Avenir Sports have been supporting Giovanni Trappatoni’s senior squad for several seasons with software provision, analytical training and professional services at tournaments.

The future generations of Irish internationals at all levels are nurtured in the emerging talent centres. It is the departure point on the great conveyor belt that leads to international recognition. Past accusations about “objective” talent recognition can be a thing of the past – as trial games, training/coaching sessions and friendly matches can now be filmed and properly analysed. Additionally, archives can be built up and promising players progress can be charted and objectively assessed.

The Football Association of Ireland are very aware of changing trends and the need to up-skill their coaching staff and develop their coaching materials to stay current with the best there is. The appointment of Ruud Dokter as High Performance Director is a statement of intent. Another indication of the FAI’s commitment to continuous improvement is decision to in include video footage of the various drills and small side games as part of the Kickstart 1 & 2 basic coaching awards.

Avenir Sports have been working with the FAI recently developing the video material for the new Kickstart programmes, see a sneak preview in the previous article in this series. The advent of video content for the Kickstart programmes and the imminent availability of the analytical technology to the emerging talents centres is seen by the FAI coach staff as a real step forward.

Nigel Keady is Head Coach and coordinator of the FAI Regional Emerging Talent Centre for players U15 to U17 (boys) and Galway League Centre for players aged U12 to U14 (boys) and U12 to U16 (girls) and he sees the collaboration between the FAI and Avenir Sports as a major leap forward. Nigel is seen here speaking to Avenir Sports.

Coach Education – the importance of video analysis

The development of coaching in the game of association football or soccer as it is now widely known worldwide has changed the nature of the game in many respects, writes Pete Kelly.

Gone are the days when the game was played ‘completely off the cuff’ with a more organised approach to team play being the norm. The notion of a group of gifted individuals being able to get the better of a well drilled outfit is virtually unheard of today. It would be highly unlikely that any professional club for instance to indulge in the tactic of Fulham in the mid 70’s when they signed Bobby Moore, George Best and Rodney Marsh and just played ‘off the cuff’.

In those days club managers were the norm and club employed ‘trainers’ rather than coaches, as the manager made all the decisions and players were traded on their individual ability rather being able to fit into any predefined system. Perhaps Sir Alf Ramsey was one of the first of a new breed when he essentially introduced a new system to England’s world cup winning squad in 1966 – they were known as the ‘wingless wonders’.

The Dutch set the world alight when the great Johan Cruyff was in his heyday with their ‘total football’ concept and anyone who was lucky enough to be alive and witness the Brazilians in 1970 was in awe of the individual prowess. These three squads of players however, while possessing iconic players had one thing in common- “The whole was greater than the sum of its parts.”. This implies that they played to a predetermined system, with each player understanding their role with the good of the team being their primary objective.

Roll the clock forward to the modern era and with ever increasing money being available to the top clubs, the demands for success is almost overpowering. Video analysis is now a vital aspect of prepare teams at the highest levels – Manchester City have committed significant resources to video analysis at all levels.

Manchester City match day setup video

There is also now a big push among national associations to ensure that video is a key element in the coaching education programme.

The Football Association of Ireland are no different. They are in the process of revamping their ‘Kickstart programme’ with all drills and small sided games available on video, where previously they would have been depicted diagrammatically in printed volumes. Avenir Sports are producing the video footage for the FAI for the new programmes – get a sneak preview here.

The importance of video analysis in coach education increases as an individual progresses through the levels.

At the basic level the coach is using video for demonstration purposes as young players grapple with varying systems of play. At youth and adult level the emphasis is more on the analysis of performance in games or training. The professional game, operating at the highest levels will be using ‘live analysis’ where competitive advantage can be balanced on a knife edge.

The coach must have an in-depth understanding of what they want the analyst to produce and to do that they themselves should be au fait with all the analytical technology and practices. Growing your coaches through the levels with an ever developing understanding of the importance of video analysis and an ability to use the technology will only increase their effectiveness.

Performance Analysis at elite level – Trapattoni connection

Almost all of the world’s leading clubs and International teams use video analysis as an integral part of the match day preparation. It has become one of those ‘under the radar’ activities that underpins everything the spectators see on the field of play, writes Pete Kelly.

More than half the current Premiership clubs employ at least one video analyst at the highest level, with other resources deployed in their academies. Virtually all the championship clubs, many of whom have also played in the premiership in recent seasons also use video analysis, exclusively using SportsCode software.

Middlesbrough for example has long been regarded as having a very ‘go ahead ‘academy, headed up by former teacher David Parnaby. They have seen the value of using the Sportstec Gamebreaker as this brief Case Study shows.

Moving further afield some of the iconic European clubs are heavily committed to video analysis. Pep Guardiola the legendary manager of Barcelona and a former star player at the club himself created the FootballLab for the first team of FC Barcelona. We all know what impact his great squad has had on the Champions league over the past few seasons on the field of play. Experience teaches us that none of this success would have been delivered without exhaustive work at the training ground where video analysis was vital cog in the well oiled ‘Barca’ machine!

Given the outstanding results of the ‘FootballLab’ Barcelona expanded the project to embrace the Recruitment department, the Academy and the second team. This venture was paralleled with their basketball section with the BasketLab.

Giovanni Trapattoni

Giovanni Trapattoni took over the Ireland job just over five years ago and he has made the use of Video Analysis a corner stone of his preparation for games. Trap’s emphasis on using video analysis is carrying on the work done under previous Irish managers in that area, but in reality he has embraced it with both hands and is a firm believer in the technology and the value of it.

Brian McCarthy braving the elements in Malahide at an Ireland session earlier this year.

Brian McCarthy the FAI analyst with the senior squad has worked with all the Irish managers for the past 12 years while also working with the elite underage squads as well. He has been the ever present link and has developed an excellent working relationship with Avenir Sports the Galway based company that supplies the world leading Sportstec software.
On the home front the Airtricity League of Ireland is a microcosm of the world game with its ups and downs, financial challenges and a never ending struggle to succeed. Innovative coaching methods, evolving attitudes towards better preparation and a realisation that performance analysis can be a useful tool in your kitbag is beginning to gain some traction in the league.

Limerick FC, recently promoted and making every effort to become established see performance analysis as key element in the game preparation. Moving their home games to Thomond Park, while being an initial risk seems to be pay dividends with good home attendances. They see using Performance Analysis as an investment rather than a cost and their leap of faith deserves success. In addition to Limerick, Bray Wanderers are also using the technology, while Salthill Devon from the first division have also invested and will use the software throughout the club for both match analysis and coach education.

In the next article in this series we will look at how video analysis is used in coach education.

Performance Analysis in Soccer

Ask any number of people involved in the game of soccer – or any other team game for that matter – to define what Performance Analysis is, you are likely to get a variety of answers. Go one step further and ask a number of individuals to analyse what has just happened in a particular game and the range of answers is guaranteed to cover a much broader spectrum, writes Pete Kelly.

The very fact that you will get a plethora of responses points to traditional methods being anything less than precise.

Performance Analysis is a relatively new discipline in sport, only really coming into focus in the last ten years or so. However the rapid deployment of Performance Analysis across a range of sports has been facilitated by the advances made in software and video equipment in the past few years.

Alan Kelly

Alan Kelly sets one of his three cameras for a goalkeeper’s session prior to Ireland’s friendly with Greece, earlier this year.

Essentially Performance Analysis is an invaluable aid to the coaching process. It provides, through the use of video an accurate record of ‘what happened ‘, ‘when it happened’ and ‘what were the consequences’ in terms of either individual or team performance.

Coaching process


Traditionally the above coaching process was practiced using what many called the ‘back of a fag box’ method. This involved the coach/manager of teams making hastily scribbled notes (or not) and subsequently delivering his/her observations to individuals or squads whose memory of what happened was at best a little hazy.
In these situations personal preferences are impossible to ignore, allowances are inadvertently made and the overall result is a flawed picture of performance. In essence this approach amounts to not much more than statistic gathering; with very little emphasis on understanding what they might mean. If a team gets several corners, umpteen free kicks, ‘X’ number of ‘offsides’ what does it really mean?

However the camera does not lie and if you have footage from several angles to examine, then both team and individual performances can be evaluated objectively so that improvements can be effected.

In this series of articles Avenir Sports Soccer Solutions in association with, will examine how Performance Analysis is used at the highest levels of the game – be it at Senior International, Premiership or Champions League.

Additionally we will examine the role that Performance Analysis will play in the developing ‘Grassroots Game’ here in Ireland and the collaborative efforts with The Football Association of Ireland to further develop the Coach Education programmes.

Avenir Sports Soccer Solutions is also supporting the Emerging Talent and League Centres where the next generation of international players are being identified and nurtured – thus feeding the various underage international squads. Next week we will look at Performance Analysis at the elite level.

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