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Performance analysis: can bringing together biomechanics and notational analysis benefit coaches?

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This presentation will consider what performance analysis is, what biomechanical and notational analysis have in common and how they differ. The main focus will be how they have helped, and can better help, coaches and athletes to analyse and improve sports performance.

Biomechanics and notational analysis both involve the analysis and improvement of sport performance. They make extensive use of video analysis and technology. They require careful information management for good feedback to coaches and performers and systematic techniques of observation. They have theoretical models- based on performance indicators - amenable to AI developments and strong theoretical links with other sport science and IT disciplines. They differ in that biomechanists analyse, iinnffine-detail, individual sports techniques and their science is grounded in mechanics and anatomy. Notational analysis studies gross movements or movement patterns in team sports, is primarily concerned with strategy and tactics and has a history in dance and music notation.

The practical value of performance analysis is that well-chosen performance indicators highlight good and bad techniques or team performances. They help coaches to identify good and bad performances of an individual or a team member and facilitate comparative analysis of individuals, teams and players. In addition, biomechanics helps to identify injurious techniques while notational analysis helps to assess physiological and psychological demands of sports

. Drawing on a range of sports examples, I will argue that performance analysts require a unified approach, looking at interactions between players and their individual skill elements. Of fundamental importance is the need for us to pay far greater attention to the principles of providing feedback- technique points that a coach can observe from video and simple counts of events are unlikely to enhance individual or team performance. We should also address the role of variability in sports skills and its implications for coaching. We must pay more attention to normalisation of performance indicators to aid coaches. Finally, further development of IT- and AI-based coaching tools by performance analysts is a high priority.


Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2001

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