SuperCupNI 2022 with Glenavon FC Academy
The SuperCupNI, one of Europe’s premier youth competitions, made a welcomed return this past July. We at Performa Sports were delighted to assist local club Glenavon (Youth Section, 2008s) at the tournament, where the Mid-Ulster side became the last Northern Irish team standing as they reached the final, finishing as runners-up to English side Charlton Athletic. Watch behind the scenes at their opening group game:
Our work with Glenavon 2008s began long before the tournament as the coaching staff implemented a six week training schedule, including various friendlies and a training camp to get up to speed. Pre-tournament friendlies were captured by our PIX4TEAM Soccer Robot Camera, whilst our analysts captured the live-game data using the Performa Sports iPad app to track an agreed set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Shown throughout their ‘pre-season’ and tournament fixtures, Glenavon are a front foot team, keen to press fast and win the ball high to create chances. Therefore specific KPIs focused around possessions lost, ball re-gains in the attacking third, attacking third entries and opportunities created through these. Training sessions were tailored to improve on these KPIs with drills focused on winning the ball high, playing in wide areas, counter attacking, etc.
Additionally, there was great buy-in from the players regarding the use of Performa Sports. The young players were always keen to know at training in the build-up to games - if upcoming games would be filmed so they could see their clips. For players initially less quick off the mark with the use of the cloud platform, being amongst others who were more engaged and keen to interact with the wider group regarding video clips and stats helped get everybody on board.
During the week previous to the SuperCupNI, the coaches organised a three day, all-day, training camp for the squad. The camp allowed coaches to train, build camaraderie between the players, work on set-pieces and hold analysis sessions.
As seen in the image above, the coaches connected their iPad to a projector and used the Performa Sports app during analysis sessions to show playlists and clips with drawing tools to highlight certain events. The coaches implemented homework tasks to get the players to come more prepared and when asking questions or asking players to discuss in small groups, they would be more engaged with the topic. Each day the analysis session would be focused around a certain topic/game scenario, e.g. set pieces. The coaches would show positive and development examples from previous games and then apply this to the pitch session. By displaying clips, this visual-aide gave the players a better understanding of what they were going out on the pitch to put into practice, highlighting the practicality of Performa Sports as a learning tool.
Fast forward to the week of the tournament, Performa Sports provided the team with filming and analysis services for each game of the tournament.
Live-game analysis gave the coaching team real-time insights into how the game was being played and relevant data to refer to when giving player feedback at half time and full time. As the game was also filmed, this meant that clips were automatically created once game data and footage were synced on the iPad app and cloud platform. This was done incredibly quickly and allows for a quick turnaround period in which players can see their clips.
Typically during this week Glenavon players would use their downtime in the evening to watch back clips of their performance or they would group together to watch the game back in accommodation common areas. The quick turnaround was also beneficial to coaches as each evening it allowed them to prepare coaching clips from previous games that needed to be addressed from positive and development viewpoints, whilst also contributing to in-possession and out-of-possession tactics for upcoming games. Before leaving for each game, the squad would meet in the coined ‘Analysis Room’, where clips/playlists would be shown, the starting team announced and tactics for the game outlined. This gave the young players a true taste of professionalism that they experienced whilst away together as a team.
Matchdays 1 & 2 saw Glenavon secure two victories (1-0 vs Ballinamallard & 3-0 vs IDA Bermuda) which set up a group decider on Wednesday against domestic rivals Dungannon Swifts. Dungannon had a much higher goal difference which meant for Glenavon it was a must-win game. With Glenavon leading 2-1 in the dying seconds, see what happens next:
Thursday saw the team face-off against Surf Select, a U.S. team with outstanding technical players. Glenavon saved their best performance for this game, walking away convincing 4-0 winners and with a place in the SuperCupNI final.
Friday’s final proved one-step too far with Glenavon appearing sluggish in comparison to Charlton Athletic, who with a larger squad appeared more fresh. Glenavon at times were in ascendancy during the game, however two Charlton goals, one immediately before half-time and one not long after half-time, killed any spirit Glenavon had left.
Despite defeat in the final, what Glenavon 2008s achieved during this tournament was tremendous and we at Performa Sports were proud to assist in the effort. Glenavon coach Jack Ross had this to say about Performa Sports;
“Performa Sports allowed our players to perform at higher levels during the tournament as the software provided players with instant feedback and self-reflection of performances. We have no doubt that using Performa Sports helped achieve a greater possible success and was a contributing factor towards reaching the final.”