From a 2019 Unrivaled Article...
Why do we see a high rate of inconsistency game-to-game at the professional level? While there are many reasons for inconsistent play – one that we do not address often is the overall lack of individual development during the season. How can we improve this problem?
Information: Quality is King
Organizations that can harness the power of valuable, targeted data to drive key decisions will have a natural advantage to those who continually operate off of ‘feel.’ Elite football teams compile game data on what plays work, which do not, and strive to find any tendencies in their play calling. Breaking down a game will include information valuable to any team: play win/loss as defined by the staff, situation, personnel, etc. Teams use this outcome based information to prepare for the upcoming opponent, change tendencies, and find ways to incorporate the best schemes into new personnel packages and formations. We call this self-scouting.
This information may come from inside the building, or through a third party vendor. The amount of ‘ outcome based information’ available to every team is at an all-time high. Despite this, rarely do teams understand the reason why a play continues to fail, or how we should address correcting it – particularly during the season, when time is at a premium. I am not suggesting on a broad level this information is difficult to ascertain for professional teams. The root cause of many athletic issues comes down to details, and the details are often overwhelmed by the complexity of the regular season. What is missing is a detailed measurement of the process.
Information overload comes when the data delivered to headquarters does not directly create action items to promote positive change. When this occurs, the information becomes a distraction and is quickly marginalized. Knowing which information is valuable, and how to use that information, is worth a couple of wins every season.
I have spent years pouring over film to gain insight to why teams struggle running sound scheme plays. Schemes are designed to combat specific weaknesses in the opponent or highlight one’s own strengths. Schemes are generally created in a vacuum – the play assumes everyone executes their job and wins their individual matchup. My findings are that when an offensive play goes sideways, there are two major reasons as to why: opponent called the right defense (guessed right/read a tendency) and had more players to the ball than the offense could handle. The other reason is that someone broke down on their individual matchup. As time goes by, the numbers start to create a pattern. When win/loss data is combined with process (technical execution) information, teams can identify the source of the issue and go directly to solving the problem.
Unrivaled Development Data (UDD) has been designed for elite teams to ‘shine a light’ on why plays ‘go sideways,’ and how the situation can be improved. Tied into their current data flow, UDD creates action items for coaches to improve their players. Facilities that can quickly identify the root cause of an issue and correct it will display more on-field consistency week to week.
With Unrivaled Data integrated with outcome based data, organizations can quickly identify the root cause of any issues and determine how to best address it. Examples:
- Professional linebacker giving up too many yards after contact early in the season because of a wide base into contact. Arming the team with hard data and corrective exercises reduced the occurrence by 18%.
- Offensive lineman struggling with combination blocks because of negative first step creating poor leverage. Hard data created opportunity for transparent communication and extra focus. Problem reduced to minimal impact.
- Offensive system struggling on specific situations in part because of tipping plays by offensive players. Information to coaching staff allowed for intervention, correction.
- Defensive unit continuing to make the same mistakes with their in-game tackling. UDD uncovered two major areas of opportunity for the coaching staff to focus on during preparation. Resulted in 20%+ improvement in tackling efficiency.
Unrivaled Development Data drives information to benefit the individual and group. Information will help maintain top talent and develop new players throughout the season. Anyone who receives game reps will benefit from targeted insight.
With the margin for error small in professional sports, the key is to deliver information that creates opportunities for real progress by treating the process. If we can trust the process, we will be satisfied with the outcome.
- Targeted data can drive change
- Understanding the why can improve the how
- Data is only as good as it can create action items driving progress