Working in professional football I'm sure is a lot of peoples dream job, however is it really as good as it sounds?
For many, working in professional football or sport in general is a dream job and let me start by assuring you all that I know how privileged and lucky I am to have a role in professional sport. However there is a lot of work and commitment that goes into the position that I feel any aspiring performance analyst should be aware of before starting out on this career path.
For those of you that don't know, the role of an analyst is in my opinion and experience to provide the team / coach or management team with factual informational that can aid in improving future performance. A lot of research has shown how managers and players alike can only remember around 20-30% of actions in a match accurately without the aid of video feedback. This to me highlights why so many clubs now, even within non-league football, have started to employ performance analyst's - if a manager can only remember certain actions in the game, then they are potentially missing out on improving other areas that may have been forgotten about, and with the standards - again even within non-league football become ever more equal, having this ability to watch back and analyse games in minute detail could make that 1% difference between success i.e. promotion or failure i.e. relegation.
The main roles that any performance analyst is associated with would include: . The filming or recording of matches & sometimes training sessions . The coding of footage to produce post match video presentations for the team and management.
. Producing post match statistical reports on all aspects of the game.
.The upkeep of statistical and video databases to allow for trend analysis.
. Producing pre match opposition reports and video presentations.
The challenges of working as a performance analyst:
As I'm sure is the case with every job in life, working as a performance analyst in professional sport has a number of limitations or challenges that any aspiring analyst should be aware of; Firstly and probably what most people are interested in beyond anything else is the question regarding wages and income, The short answer is, no the wages are not excellent especially as you can imagine in non-league football where clubs do not receive the massive amounts of television money that we see in the Premier League! However for me its about finding that balance between finding a job which you love and enjoy doing but getting paid less, or working in a job which you hate but getting paid more. For me that decision is simple. The 2nd most challenging aspect would be the unsociable working hours. You have days off when everybody else is working, you'll undoubtedly be working at weekends and every bank holiday - even over Christmas and new year which some people will find hard and especially as an analyst your job doesn't stop when you leave the training ground or stadium....there will 100% be times where you will be working from home. Finally, would be the 'holiday' situation. This point probably applies more to those of you with families and young children, as most clubs will not allow you to take or book holiday time off during the season. This of course means any holidays you have planned will have to wait till the end of May or even June. This of course doesn't fit in with the academic calendar where children usually get the summer months off - come August your well into pre-season training or even the new season itself.
However having said all that, if you can work around those limitations you get a number of things that I believe you will never experience in any other job role in life. The opportunity to travel the country and visit cities you would otherwise never see - even in non-league!, the feeling of camaraderie you get from working in a team environment and of course the buzz of a 3pm kick off on a Saturday afternoon.