Athletes at any level continually need to improve and search for an extra edge or they stop moving forwards and start to go backwards. The same is not always said about the coaches who train them, but it is just as accurate.

When it comes to the increasingly vital role that performance analysis plays in elite-level sport, Chua Yong Joo – a former national badminton coach, now charged with enhancing coaching skill across sport in Singapore – explains that it can mean the difference between victory and defeat.

“At the high-performance level, it plays a very important role,” Yong Joo says. “Because at the elite level, technical ability and tactical awareness can often be around the same.

“This is where performance analysis comes in and gives the coaches and teams an extra edge; to identify what are the weaknesses, what are the strengths of your opponent or an opposing team. It allows coaches and players to come up with a strategy in approaching games and matches.”

The Singapore Slingers, a professional basketball team in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), learned this in 2015 when they first began utilising Hudl’s video analytics tools. “Technology did not have any significant role in Singapore basketball in the past. The Slingers have been working to try and change this,” explains the team’s deputy general manager, Jiaren Low.

The Singapore Slingers are the countries only professional basketball team and have been using Hudl since 2015. (Image credit: Singapore Slingers).

But it is not simply about making data quicker to access and easier to convey, it is about ensuring that coaches can extract the most from the technology. “Basketball is not very different from most sports. 

In order to improve, coaches review the team’s performance and they need the tools to do so. They also need the skills to get the most out of a technology and analysis programme,” says Jiaren, himself a former national basketball player.

“Basketball is always evolving with new strategy and tactics, training and recovery methods, and performance technology. In the area of technology, it is advancing every year, so if teams want to keep up with the new technology and continue to improve, coaches need to have continuous training and education. There is no value in having the best equipment if you don’t understand how to use the technology.”

"In the area of technology, it is advancing every year, so if teams want to keep up with the new technology and continue to improve, coaches need to have continuous training and education". Jiaren Low - Deputy General Manager, Singapore Slingers.

This is where the Hudl Academy comes in. The online portal offers a series of qualifications recognised within the performance analysis world, provided free of charge.

Although the pandemic meant the ABL could not take place last season, the Singapore Slingers – finalists in the 2019-20 competition – used the time to allow four of their coaches to develop using the courses available on Hudl Academy, enhancing their understanding of analysis and analytics.

“There are limited learning opportunities when it comes to analytics training in Singapore,” says Jiaren. “Through the Hudl Academy and our work with Hudl, the Slingers have used the past 12 months while Covid has shut down most sports to get four local coaches certified through the Hudl Academy.

“This is not only great for the Slingers as it gives the team certified coaches to help with our video and data analysis in future, it will also help the local basketball scene as these coaches share their knowledge with other coaches and players within the community.”

Hudl Academy certifications are industry recognized and cover the full range of Hudl's analysis solutions.

The Singapore Slingers head coach, Neo Beng Siang, was one of those involved in using Hudl Academy to improve his use of performance analysis. However as Yong Joo, senior manager of Coach SG observes, the point of video analysis and data is not to supplant traditional coaching methods. Instead, it can provide greater depth and understanding to something that a coach’s own instinct might be telling them.

“A lot of times when coaches do analysis, they base it on so-called coaches' eye – so they are unable to quantify the things that they observe or they analyse during a training session,” says Yong Joo.

“With performance analysis, they will be able to quantify what they have seen, what they have observed. And with the data and statistics that they have obtained, they will be able to design a better, more holistic training programme.”

Taught by Hudl’s own industry experts, the teaching modules in Hudl Adacemy will take you through the basics of analysis, then progress onto more advanced work to reach professional endorsements.

While the ultimate goal is always transferring that information to the athletes and improving in-game performances, each coach continuing to improve their education is crucial to that overall target.

Coaches who now complete Hudl Academy Level 1, 2 or 3 certification in Singapore will be rewarded with Continuing Coach Education (CCE) hours.

“It's very important that our coaches continue to upskill themselves, because there are always new training methodologies, new sports science knowledge out there,” says Yong Joo. “There are new programmes, new software, which will help coaches to become better in their field of work.

“Because what was effective in the past – or even what is effective right now – may not be effective, two or three years down the road. So that's why it's so very important for us to know: what is the latest possible technology out there that can help coaches? What is the latest research in terms of coaching practices out there? That way we can equip our coaches with all the knowledge that they require.”

“It's very important that our coaches continue to upskill themselves, because there are always new training methodologies, new sports science knowledge out there". Chua Jong Yoo - Senior Manager of Coaching Development, Coach SG.

For Yong Joo, altering people to the fact that analytics can be effective across all levels of sport is also a key message.

“A lot of coaches think: ‘OK, performance analysis is applicable to the higher, professional level’,” he says. “I want people to know that performance analysis can be applicable to coaches who are coaching at a community level as well. 

Then after that, once they know that there is this performance analysis out there, we can offer these courses. And, if you’d like to acquire more knowledge, you can learn how to apply it to your daily training.”

Chua Jong Yoo is leading the initiative for increasing coaching education within Singaporean sport.

This is where the courses at Hudl Academy can come in. With a range of certifications launched in 2019, the qualifications are available across the industry with the aim of developing the skills of analysts. After all, having all of the data regarding your own team - and the opposition - at your fingertips is only really effective if you can extract the most from it.

As Jiaren Low explains: “The ability to analyse, scout and critique individual player and team training as well as game performance is invaluable.

“The better you understand the technology and how to utilise it, the better the overall performance outcome will be. With the speed of change these days, it is very important to upskill and keep up with the latest advancements in video analysis to take full advantage of any improvements in the technology.”

Industry recognized certifications taught by our experienced analysis professionals - Check out the full range of Hudl Academy courses here.