The appliance of science helps coaches stay ahead of the game
Swansea academics are using the latest digital technologies to develop a unique software coaching package to help train up the next generation of top athletes in Wales.
Experts from Swansea University’s computer science and sports science departments are using video visualisation technology for sport performance analysis and say nothing like it currently exists.
Video visualisation technology is a software innovation developed at the University that can distil vast amounts of video data collated to analyse games and convert it into easy-to-use information.
They have teamed up with software specialists and sports related businesses and concentrating on video visualisation and data analysis for snooker and rugby, which are seen as the most appropriate test beds for the new visualisation software.
Dr Iwan W. Griffiths, who is heading up the project, said that data-visualisation is expected to deliver a quantum leap in sports analysis and coaching across a wide variety of sporting applications.
"We hope it will establish Wales as a centre for innovation in sports coaching and data processing. The production of new and world leading software tools and programming knowledge will create a new sector in Wales specialising in sports data visualisation."
The two year collaborative industrial research project is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Academic Expertise for Business programme, which is funded through European Structural Funds.
The team’s initial work is to be presented at a specialist research seminar titled ‘A revolution in Video: advances in analysis in sports science and coaching’ on April 6 at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.
An audience of sports scientists, sports engineers and technologists and computer scientists from around the UK will be given an update on the latest developments in the technology, applications and innovations of video technology.
Dr. Griffiths said they are working with the Welsh Rugby Union Centre of Excellence, which provides a unique platform to help the national team and regional sides with their analysis.
He explained that rugby, in common with many other sports, relies on a high level of performance analysis to inform coaches and players.
"Most of the important games are analysed from video pictures of whole games, with teams of specialists inputting relevant data into analysis software for later analysis. All events, such as line outs, scrums, turnovers, tries, penalties etc are annotated onto the video stream so that particular events can be called up and scrutinised in detail.
"Assimilating the copious amounts data produced can be a daunting task. The work we are undertaking will help the analysis team to display their data in new informative ways so that the effectiveness of the operation can be improved."
They have also teamed up with Terry Griffiths Matchroom in Llanelli to extend and improve the video analysis associated with this sport.
Dr Griffiths said high-speed camera coverage of the table provides unparalleled analysis capabilities in terms of shot analysis with feedback being provided by data projectors onto the snooker table itself.
"Special software written by specialists will display visualisations of the action on the table, opening up the possibility of internet snooker coaching and Welsh snooker expertise being used all over the world.
"The technical developments from the project, together with some of the best snooker coaching in the world, will ensure that Welsh snooker players will continue to be represented amongst the world’s best."
The collaborative industrial research project is supported by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Academic Expertise for Business programme, which is funded through European Structural Funds
Please contact Dr Iwan Griffiths, College of Engineering, Swansea University, Singleton Park, Swansea, UK. Tel: 01792 513311 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) is a six year project funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and European Structural Funds, and geared to ensure Wales maximises the economic impact of its academic institutions.
A4B supports a range of activities in higher and further educational institutions to develop more effective knowledge transfer mechanisms, to commercialise their Intellectual Property, develop new products and processes, increase business investment in R&D and develop and exploit the research base.
Funding is available to academic institutions for projects that involve collaboration with businesses.