George Murray: Analysis data is a vital tool before and during games

George Murray: Analysis data is a vital tool before and during games
As a performance analysis team we tend to work at least ten days in advance to prepare for our opposition.

The math behind basketball’s wildest moves

At the moment I’m taking the Math in sports course at edX/University of Notre Dame and since you tend to see the things you focus on, math related sports or sports related math, seems to be everywhere right now.
The other day I stumbled across this fascinating video from TED: The math behind basketball’s wildest moves, where Rajiv Maheswaran talks about analysing movement. Wow! I try to extrapolate into the future and imagine where this kind of technology will take us in, say rugby in a couple of years and it’s… well, fascinating! And a bit scary too.
Have a look and see for yourself. Where do you think this technology will take us and our sports?

Bring that screen – Roccat Tusko

Having a big, rugged trunk filled with all your technical gear transported safely across the continent would be nice when you travel with your team. But it’s expensive.

So what do a small club, with limited funds, do when it’s analyst needs to have a bigger screen with him on the road, than the one that’s already on his laptop?

Look no further. Roccat Tusko are bags for transporting LED screens. It’s mostly kids attending LAN parties who uses them, but they are just as handy for a analyst on the road.

Roccat Tusko

And they’re not too expensive. I bought my 24″ version (They come in two sizes – 15-19″ and 20-24″) for $55. A bargain compared to the big trunks to keep your screen safe.
Of course it’s nothing like those big, padded trunks since you can safely check them in on an airplane but the Tusko can be brought as carry-on-luggage on some airlines and be checked in as fragile goods at the rest. and the screen is protected by the padded case. Still a nice solution to the problem.

Check out the bags here:

Disclaimer: This is not an ad for Roccat and I haven’t been paid to write anything. It’s just my thoughts about a bag I recently bought.

DIY $20 stabilizing rig

When you’ve spent a small fortune on a good camera and you find that watching the movie clips you shoot with it makes you seasick, since it’s shaking so much, what do you do then?
Camera equipment can be ridiculously expensive, so you’re wondering “How can I fix this problem without spending too much money?”.

When I want to come really close to the rugby action and want to study individual technique in, say breakdowns, or want a good wide-angle view of the defense from behind, I use my GoPro.
To keep it from shaking when I move I need a stabilizing rig for the camera. Buying a metallic rig -even a fairly cheap one – like the Fotodiox GoTough Wedge (though certainly not the only option available) can set you back a hefty $150 or more. So instead I’ve built a small rig from plastic sewage pipes which you can get in any hardware store for around $20.

Since I built it last summer, lots of people from both local amateur clubs as well as players and PAs from major professional european rugby clubs have asked me about it and encouraged me to patent the design.
Well, to be honest, I got the idea from YouTube (where else!?) so I can’t patent it and it’s really so simple to make that anyone can do it.

This is how you make a DIY $20 GoPro stabilizing rig:

Just cut a sewage pipe into 6 parts and use 2 90° connectors, 2  45° connectors and a T-shaped connector to put it all together.

I also added some padding just to make it nicer to hold (and it also floats in water, making it easier to stabilize if you dive with it. Just make sure to seal it well to keep the water out of the pipes.)






BJ Botha of Munster Rugby coaching young talents at Munster Talent Camp, Rockwell College, Ireland
BJ Botha of Munster Rugby coaching young talents at Munster Talent Camp, Rockwell College, Ireland and of course – a DIY stabilizing rig in action!


Improve tackles using a Wii remote control

Sounds weird?
Well, not all teams have the economy to buy “G-force measurement gadgets” to use in analysis of forces involved in tackles. So they haven’t been able to use that kind of data when they’re working to improving tackle techniques….
Unless they’re ready to think a little outside of the box.

The Wii remote control has an accelerometer built into it and can send data about it’s pitch, yaw, roll and acceleration in X, Y and Z over a bluetooth connection. Usually the receiver of that data is a Wii console. That is, of course, the whole idea with the Wii remote – to be able to play the games based on how you move the control.

But – if you connect that remote to a computer and record the data it sends, you can graph the registered acceleration and visualize the G-forces the remote is exposed to when moving it around.
A bit nerdy? Yes! And useful for a PA with a tight budget.

So fasten the remote to a tackling bag using some classic duck tape, connect the remote to the computer and then record it’s data while performing tackle drills. You would then get the G-force data onto your computer, and the rest is up to your usual analysis and coaching process…

I’ve tested software from Eziosoft to record the data and it works just fine. A little unstable sometimes, but at no cost at all, what can you expect? Info on how to connect a Wii remote can be found either at the Eziosoft webpage or at the Wiimote Project.
I’m sure there are other Wii remote solutions, or other cheap ways of measuring impact force/acceleration/G-forces out there. Please let me and the rest of the PA community know by telling us about it in the comments below or tweet about it.
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