Groundbreaking analytics expert joins The Sports Office

Leading sports analytics expert Professor Bill Gerrard has joined The Sports Office as they continue to enhance the Analytics module of their performance management software.

Gerrard – who is Professor of Business and Sports Analytics at Leeds University Business School, and holds a UEFA ‘B’ coaching licence – will provide strategic leadership in this specific area , ensuring the Sports Office continues to enhance its coach-led approach. He is well known for his pioneering activity within this rapidly developing discipline, and has worked with US baseball icon Billy Beane, who himslef is regarded as the man who first embraced a more analytical, evidence-based approach in elite sport.

“We are delighted that Professor Bill Gerrard will join The Sports Office team, to work with us as a consultant”, commented Phil Clarke. “Bill is rightly regarded as a pioneer and one of the pre-eminent thinkers in this area.

“He will oversee our programme at three levels from initial exploratory data analysis to more forensic investigation and ultimately the development of bespoke analytical tools to assist performance management at all levels.”

Clarke added ”At The Sports Office, we have always recognised the significance and growing importance of analytics in elite sport and we want to assist our clients as they seek to benefit from it.”

“The online performance management systems we supply to elite sporting organisations have previously offered functionality in the area of analytics, data mining and information management. Our partnership with Bill will enable us to develop this even further and remain at the forefront in this field; and to identify and incorporate emerging trends and ideas that will positively influence the high-performance environment.”

Professor Bill Gerrard also added: ”I’m excited by the opportunity to work with The Sports Office and their clients to develop coach-led analytics to use performance data as effectively as possible.”

Gerrard pioneered statistical analysis in football in the 1990s, using evidence based methods to value players. In collaboration with Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland A’s, Gerrard explored the feasibility of applying the “Moneyball” approach in Major League Soccer.

Bill has also worked with several of the leading football clubs in the UK.

In the world of professional rugby, Professor Gerrard has also worked for the last five years as technical analyst with leading Aviva Premiership club Saracens. Again his approach and methods were credited with significantly enhancing coaching, preparation and performances.

Brendan Venter, the World Cup winning South African rugby player and former Director of Rugby at Saracens described Gerrard’s work as “seen by the entire club as a unique point of difference that has made Saracens one of the leading clubs in European rugby.”

To learn more about how The Sports Office’s powerful online performance management systems can support sports analytics, as well as the full range of funcationality they provide to support preparation and performance at elite level, please contact our Client Management Team.

The Sports Office to attend IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition

The Sports Office is to attend the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) second World Rugby Conference and Exhibition (IRB World Rugby ConfEx) – which takes place on November 17th and 18th in London.

The company will be represented by members of its Client Management team, within the Exhibition area.  The event will also feature the IRB Medical Commission Conference, alongside various group discussions and workshops.

“We are delighted to be participating in the IRB World Rugby Conference and Exhibition”, commented Phil Clarke, Director of The Sports Office.

“With the start of the Rugby World Cup less than a year away, this prestigious event will provide a great opportunity for us to meet with many key figures and decision-makers in world rugby, and understand the important, emerging trends within the industry.”

Clarke added:”We look forward to discussing the key issues relating to optimising performance in elite rugby and outlining how our powerful performance management systems can support this.

“We are also relishing the opportunity to gain further insight from the Medical Commission Conference which  will no doubt be an important element of the wider event.  We currently work in partnership with the RFU to support their cutting-edge sports medicine and injury monitoring programmes and thus we have a significant interest in this area.”

RFU Chief Medical Officer Simon Kemp also commented: “The Sports Office provides a whole-league comprehensive electronic player medical record with an integrated injury surveillance function. It’s fundamental to the delivery of sports medicine care to our Premiership and England rep team players.

“Our players, medical staff and performance teams all derive significant benefits”.

The World Rugby ConfEx was launched by the IRB in 2013 with the aim of bringing together the global Rugby family and maximise opportunities for all involved in the sport. The inaugural event saw representatives from over 100 National Unions among the 600 delegates, and over 30 international exhibitors.

Speakers including Patrick Hickey (President of the European Olympic Committees), George Gregan (former Australia captain), Agustin Pichot (IRB Council Member for Argentina) and British Olympic Association Chairman, Lord Coe have previously appeared at the event.

The Sports Office mobile app enhancements

The Sports Office is finalising the development of a number of enhancements for its mobile app for smartphones and tablets.

This new functionality makes the powerful features of the app even easier and quicker to access for coaches, performance staff and players. The improvements have been added by our experienced programming team after an extensive research and development process.

The app allows players to view personalised videos at a time of their choosing, on their own devices. This flexibility and convenience improves the effectiveness of these key elements in the preparation cycle.

Athletes can also use the app to provide information such as daily well-being and to view training schedules and diary commitments. Coaches and performance staff can gain access to key data and management information regardless of their location and can monitor athlete usage of the system, giving them reassurance that their squads are adhering to agreed personal development plans.

The Sports Office mobile app is compatible with iOS, Android and Windows devices. It is already widely used by clubs in Premier League football, International football federations, Premiership Rugby Union clubs and a range of other elite sporting organisations.

Any of our current clients or anybody with an interest in understanding more about the new functionality should contact our client management team.

Toronto FC choose The Sports Office

Toronto FC are the latest club in global professional football to choose The Sports Office’s online performance management system.

The club which competes in the Eastern Conference of the Major Soccer League (MLS) will use the system to support their teams and playing squad.

The Canadian based organisation will benefit from a wide range of functionality offered by the system including athlete monitoring, sports science, sports medicine, data analytics and information management as well as coaching and scouting.

The Sports Office Operations Manager Rob Jackson said: ” We are delighted to be working with Toronto FC as they seek to continue their development as a major force in the MLS.

“We believe our Performance Management system – which is widely used across elite soccer – will provide many benefits and add great value to their football department.”

The Sports Office supply performance management systems to several elite football clubs who play in the world’s most high profile competitions. These include Manchester City in the Barclay’s Premier League and Melbourne City in Australia’s A-League.

The Scottish FA have also chosen to use The Sports Office’s software at all seven of their Performance Schools throughout the country.

The Sports Office to supply Melbourne City FC

The Sports Office is delighted to be chosen to supply Melbourne City FC with an online performance management system.

The club – which is part of the global network of organisations owned by reigning Barclay’s Premier League champions Manchester City –  compete in Australia’s rapidly developing A-League.

Neil Holland, Client Manager from The Sports Office, commented: “Our online performance management systems for football offer a wide range of functionality which we believe will provide excellent support for Melbourne City FC’s coaches and performance staff.”

“Like many high-profile football clubs in elite competitions, Melbourne require access to high-quality management information which creates insight and intelligence.  The Sports Office system will enable them to generate this and allow evidence based decision making at every stage of their performance cycle.”

The Sports Office supply performance management systems to several elite football clubs who play in the world’s most high profile competitions. These include Manchester City in the Barclay’s Premier League and Toronto FC in the MLS, in the United States.

The Scottish FA have also chosen to use The Sports Office’s software at all seven of their Performance Schools throughout the country.

The Sports Office attends Soccerex

The Sports Office attends Soccerex

The Sports Office (TSO) is attending the 2014 Soccerex conference in Manchester.

The event, which is widely regarded as the world’s largest convention of its kind in global football, is being staged at the city’s GMEX arena, from 6th to 10th September.  Members of the TSO team will be available to meet existing and potential clients and offer demonstrations of the company’s online performance management systems.

Rob Jackson, Operations Manager at The Sports Office said:”We are very much looking forward to Soccerex. It will be great opportunity  to catch-up with many of our current partner organisations from the global football industry, as well as speak to potential new clients, who have an interest in optimsing all aspects of performance and preparation.”

During the convention, The Sports Office team will be located on stand 419 which is to the right as deleagtes enter.  Soccerex is attended by world football’s leading administrators, decision makers and legends from the sport. It is used as a platform to engage with the latest developments in the global football industry.

Anybody attending Soccerex who wishes to contact the The Sports Office team during the event can use the Twitter handle: @SprtsOffice

The Sports Office works with Widnes Vikings

Widnes Vikings – who have recently climbed to fourth place in Rugby League’s Super League – are among the growing number of elite rugby clubs using The Sports Office performance management system.

The Vikings adopted the system in 2012 and have used it to maximise all aspects of preparation and performance, as they develop themselves as a competitive force in the 13-a-side code’s elite division.

The Sports Office works with Widnes Vikings

The club’s coaching, team administration and strength and conditioning staff make use of the system’s wide range of functions, using it in areas such as sports medicine, sports science, video analysis and various coaching activities.

The Sports Office Mobile App also allows for vastly improved information management, with the Vikings’ players able to remotely submit key wellbeing data for analysis by coaches and medical personnel. Specifically in the area of sports medicine, Widnes’ use of The Sports Office system has been credited with playing a role in helping the Super League club maintain a low rate of injuryin the pre-season period.

“We are delighted to be working with Widnes Vikings and we are pleased that they are experiencing so many benefits from using our system”, said The Sports Office Client Manager Neil Holland.

“The Sports Office has the power and capability to help elite rugby clubs and organisations to improve in many areas which are critical for high performance and we look forward to seeing the club continue to develop their use of the system.”

Vikings Head Coach Denis Betts said, “The Sports Office is such a versatile piece of software that forms a big part of what we do on a daily basis here at the Vikings. From monitoring players daily wellbeing right through to match analysis tools, it allows us to cater for the high performance demands of the sport on the players.”

Betts added:”A real strength of The Sports Office is the accessibility of the information to the players through ipads, iphones and computers.

“All users are able to log in and analyse performances, have schedules synced straight to their personal calendars and many other capabilites, which allows them to plan and review often in the comfort of their own homes. We also have the ability to build in custom aspects to the software to ensure we, and the system continues to develop and improve.”

Elite Rugby Union clubs which use The Sports Office’s dedicated performance management systems include Bath, Harlequins, London Irish and Sale Sharks. They are all enjoying current success in Aviva Premiership.

The Sports Office also works with the RFU and recently supplied two teams in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

In both rugby and football, The Sports Office provides client support for implementation and training , meaning that clubs and organisations can easily begin using the systems without additional staff recruitment.

Hartpury College becomes first academic client for The Sports Office

Hartpury College becomes first academic client for The Sports Office

The Sports Office is to supply leading academic institution Hartpury College with a performance management system.

Hartpury is recognised as a centre of excellence for sport and land management and offers one of the world’s largest equine education facilities. Hartpury have also regularly won national university titles in rugby, and football, as well as college titles in rugby, football, netball and golf.

The college will use the Sports Office system for a range of its sports, including men’s and women’s rugby, football, rowing, netball, golf, modern pentathalon and equine.

“Hartpury is our first client in the college and education sector and we? are delighted to be working with them to support their continued successful delivery of sporting and educational excellence”, said Stuart Jones, Client Manager at The Sports Office.

“The Sports Office performance management systems have the power and functionality to enable the Hartpury staff to optimise the performance of their athletes across the diverse range of sporting disciplines they offer.

“The system also has the flexibility to be used for sports with differing demands for teams and individuals, such as modern pentathlon. Hartpury will use the system for key activities such as athlete monitoring, sports science, sports medicine as well as video analysis and squad management.”

Hartpury’s Director of Elite Sport and former England Rugby Union international Phil de Glanville, said: “Hartpury always aims to be at the forefront of providing cutting-edge facilities and support to elite young sportsmen and women to be the best they can be.

“We were the first specialist sports college to bring in a dedicated lifestyle performance manager for our elite athletes and now we’re leading the way in implementing an online performance management system.

“This will be of huge benefit – not just in enhancing the performance of those students on our elite programmes but also as a learning tool for all of our sports students.”

The Sports Office Client Management team have worked closely with de Glanville during the implementation and integration of the system into the college.

Hartpury currently has 1500 students studying degrees, honours degrees and postgraduate qualifications. It also has has 2,000 students studying A-levels, BTEC Diplomas and short courses.

To learn more about the power and capability of The Sports Office systems please contact a member of the Client Service team via the contact section

Is this the age of information management for elite sport?

Sport's 'Big Data' Challenge Highlighted

OPINION by Phil Clarke, Managing Director, The Sports Office.

“Many of us would recognise that advances in technology and the breath-taking growth of the so-called connected world mean we now live in an era like no other.

A basic example is that in the year 2000 there were 200 million people with email accounts. Today there are over 3.5 billion. Since the start of the new millenium, a whole generation has grown-up using social media as well as shopping and consuming a range of content online. The way we live, communicate and even behave has been transformed.

Another facet of this is the vast amount of data that we are now presented with or informed that we could have access to. This can certainly be overwhelming and the individual can feel bombarded with information.

However, all is not lost. If managed and used intelligently, these vast volumes of data can help us focus our endeavours into the right areas and give us a significant advantage in whatever we are seeking to achieve. We are told, for example, that weather forecasting has improved by over 350% over the last 25 years by using computer systems to intelligently analyse climate and meteorological data.

This principle certainly applies in the world of high performance sport and here at The Sports Office our aim is to help you with the collection and the management of these huge quantities of data and information so that it becomes something useful and indeed very powerful for sports performance management.

We have developed a range of online-based systems which enable sporting organisations to analyse their performance data. They can ask the key questions, find the right answers and make critical decisions quickly and easily.

Our systems can show what has happened and what is happening during the course of performance activities . They enable the setting of objectives, viewing progress against these and gaining insight to help understand what is most likely to happen in future.

This is SPORTING INTELLIGENCE and creates a competitive advantage.

Many sporting teams and organisations simply strive to collect more information than ever before. We believe their focus should be on gaining greater knowledge and generating such SPORTING INTELLIGENCE from this to help them do what they do even more successfully.

There are some in sport who are sceptical about the usefulness of such an approach and regard it as an over-reliance on IT. To them, we would say we do not suggest becoming a slave to technology.

Computers are very good making calculations, doing this consistently and doing it without becoming tired or emotional. However, what they are not good at is tasks that require creativity or imagination. So we should not worship at the altar of technology nor be frightened by it.

We believe the best approach is one that does not create a competition between science and art, rather it is one that supports and empowers those with ideas and critical thinking to use data management technology to test, inform and refine their new approaches and methods of delivering elite sporting performance.

Leading sporting organisations are already encouraging their staff to do this and do what people do much better than computers, which is producing the ground-breaking ideas about how to improve the performance of players and athletes and then using their data to test whether or not this works.

Anybody with a pension or investment will have read the line that ‘past performance is not indicative of future results’.

Is this true in sport?

Intelligent information management can help us find out.”

The Sports Office Supports RL World Cup Teams

The Sports Office Supports RL World Cup Teams

Papa New Guinea coaches, left to right, Mal Meninga and Adrian Lam with Sports Office MD Phil Clarke.

Two teams competing in the current Rugby League World Cup are benefiting from a performance management system provided by The Sports Office.

The system is being used by both the Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Wales squads, as they play their part in the 13-a-side code’s most important international tournament.

The Sports Office’s powerful system brings together all team operations, coaching and management functions and supports all aspects of preparation and performance. This includes key elements of video analysis, such as the delivery of preview and review video footage to players. Coaches and players can also access the system via a mobile app and use it via a range of mobile devices.

During the tournament, PNG and Wales will use the Sports Office system to monitor and collect critical data generated by their players during training and matches; such as information from heart rate and GPS monitors. The powerful software will offer both teams the ability to generate insight from this data, in order to get the most from their preparation and training activities.

“The Rugby League World Cup represents a significant challenge for both Papua New Guinea and Wales and we are delighted they have chosen our system to support their campaigns”, said The Sports Office MD Phil Clarke.

“We believe our performance management system will provide comprehensive support for all aspects of their preparation and training”.

Clarke added: ”Our systems offer many invaluable benefits for squads competing at elite, international level.

“We also work with several clubs in Rugby League’s Super League and with leading clubs in Rugby Union’s Aviva Premiership”.

The Sports Office provides performance management systems, used across elite sport, which offer a range of functionality to support coaching, athlete/player performance, administration, health and wellbeing, recruitment, squad management and a mobile app for players.

The Sports Office’s dedicated software for elite football is also currently used by leading clubs in the Barclay’s Premier League, the Sky Bet Championship and major football governing bodies including the Scottish FA.

In both rugby and football, The Sports Office provides client support for implementation and training , meaning that clubs and organisations can easily begin using the systems without additional staff recruitment.

To learn more about the power and capability of The Sports Office systems please contact a member of the Client Service team via the contact section.