Sunday, February 28

Analyse and innovate to boost performance

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Amirul (second left) engages the participants during a workshop. – Photos by Teo Chi Wei and courtesy of SCC HPU.

PERFORMANCE analysis is a systematic observation aimed at enhancing performance and improving decision-making delivered primarily through the provision of objective statistical (data analysis) and visual feedback (video analysis).

In sports, it provides the athletes and coaches with objective information that can help them understand performance.

Performance analyst Mohd Shahril Abdul Rahim, who mans the Sarawak Sports Corporation High-Performance Unit’s sports performance analysis unit, evaluates the athletes’ progress based on their specific skills, physical fitness and outcomes of their performances via statistics and video recordings.

“The most common equipment used is the video recorder and statistics template. Some coaches like to look at statistics while others, the video recordings. The sports performance analysis is based on the coaches’ programmes,” he said.

Shahril adjusting the video recorder during a training session.

Shahril’s analyses are based on the coaches’ training regimens and requests.

“Some coaches focus on the techniques and skills of their athletes while some on improving their physical and mental fitness,” he noted.

Out of 30 sports, he is now working with nine sports.

Not easy

He admitted that getting the athletes to attend a sports performance analysis session was no easy matter as most of the state’s elite athletes were still young and schooling – some in secondary schools while others in colleges and universities.

He said for team sports, the athletes were scattered all over the state with some even studying outside Sarawak, adding that the best time to gather the athletes for a session was during centralised training.

Analysis templates

Shahril has created game analysis templates for lawn bowls, athletics, rugby, petanque and football, among others.

Shahril explaining the benefits of performance analysis.

“Different sports require different analyses and some coaches may need help in certain areas. For example, in men’s rugby, the coach wants to focus on support play and I will provide the analysis and feedback in that particular area.

“My focus is on high-performance sports, elite athletes and coaches who need my services. Our services now are geared more towards game analysis. In future, we will try to extend performance analysis services to cover sports physiology,” he explained.

Shahril accompanies the athletes to competitions where he can analyse their performances and those of their opponents.

From the analyses, he provides feedback to the coaches on the strengths and weaknesses of not only their own athletes but also of their opponents’.

New outfit

According to him, the High-Performance Unit is a new outfit and the manpower is still small.

Hence, time management is very important to ensure smooth-running and quality services for coaches, athletes and sports development officers to boost performances.

The HPU had organised a few workshops in 2019 and also for SSC and MSNS coaches this year to improve coaching methodology and analyse skills and technical training programmes to generate more information and feedback on the programmes’ effect and progression status to support the next training intervention.

Shahril said the workshops were held to create a system for the coaches to analyse specific skills training on improving performances.

“This is one of our initiatives in working with coaches to improve our sports science and increase the quality of coaching methodology to develop athletic performance and achieve our goal to become a sports powerhouse in the country.”

Hot topic

Research and Innovation unit coordinator Mohd Amirul Zaini said research and innovation in sports was a hot topic nowadays to help athletes get better results.

Amirul speaking at a train-the-coach session with HPU manager Andre Richards in the background.

“Our unit is one of the pillars helping to boost performance by applying sports science. Strength and conditioning, psychology, nutrition, performance analysis and research and innovation all work together to achieve high performance.”

According to him, research has shown it’s possible now to improve athletic agility in four weeks as against six weeks previously.

“In future, agility may even be improved within a week. As for innovation, sprinters and distance runners can run faster wearing special suits or shoes. It has been shown that sportsmen and women can perform better with innovative gears.”

Faced with limitations in certain aspects, Amirul is presently working to take the development of the state athletes to the next level.

He believes development at the grassroots level is key to realising Sarawak’s vision of becoming the nation’s sports powerhouse.