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Scholar interview

Interview with 2013 AIS Performance Analysis Post-Graduate Scholars - Jamie Bahnisch and Amanda Xuereb

As the Performance Analysis scholars at the Australian Institute of Sport this year, what has your role been?

Jamie: Working as a Performance Analyst is our main role. However, we have also been able to assist in Biomechanics, Physiology and Skill Acquisition projects.

Amanda: We’ve worked on so many different tasks throughout the year from filming and coding training sessions and games, to helping coaches with software and computer problems as well as setting up training and competition feedback systems, just to name a few things.

So what are your backgrounds? Where did you live prior to moving to Canberra?

Amanda: I lived in Sydney before moving to Canberra and I studied exercise and sports science at the Australian Catholic University at Strathfield in which I graduated from at the end of 2012 and was lucky enough to get this role straight after.

Jamie: I’m from Adelaide and lived just outside of the city. I studied a Bachelor of Applied Science (Human Movement and Health Studies) at the University of South Australia.

Had you studied or undertaken any related work with Performance Analysis prior to the AIS?

Amanda: Whilst I was at uni I was lucky enough to have 2 intern positions one at Blacktown Spartans Football Club where I helped the head Trainer to conduct fitness training sessions as well as collecting RPE data from every training session and game where we tracked each individuals weekly training loads and monitored for injury. My other internship position was at the Australian Institute of sport Canoe/Kayak slalom program in Penrith. My role was as a performance analyst where I filmed training session and competitions and then coded key events using Sportscode and re distributed the footage back to the athletes and coaches.

Jamie: I had done a lot of work within field hockey especially as a coach where you need to do the performance analysis yourself. That involved coding the games post match and analysing the footage for yourself which in some aspects made it easier, as you knew exactly what you were looking for at times. I would focus particularly on areas including outletting, pressing, score involvements and defensive and attacking corners. I had also done some work at Port Adelaide, working in multiple areas but in terms of PA, coding all our games and opposition and focussing on stoppages, inside 50, patterns of ball movement etc. Goal in seeing Australia achieve sporting success is a dream.

What examples of work have you undertaken this year?

Amanda: We have both been involved in a wide variety of tasks throughout the year, from filming and coding, to producing live statistics and even creating daily training and competition feedback systems just to name a few things.

Jamie: We’ve done work with Canoe Slalom, Swimming, Triathlon, Field Hockey, Basketball, Netball, Alpine Skiing, Cricket, Rowing and Athletics, just to name a few.

Any highlights from your experiences so far?

Amanda: One highlight for me was going back to Penrith to help the Canoe/Kayak team out for the Australian Open. I had been a part of it last year as an intern but this year was exciting as we upgraded from a hard wired system to a new wireless system and could therefore now produce high definition footage. The technology allows for video to be streamed wirelessly from 3 different cameras to a main substation, where the footage is combined and coded into one whole run for each athlete. The footage is then distributed to the Australian and international teams as well as the judges who use the footage for any penalty discrepancies. This was a highlight as we (the AIS) were the first team to provide high definition footage for any canoe/kayak event worldwide and allowed my skills to rapidly grow.

Jamie: Working with field hockey has been a fantastic opportunity as I have played since I was 6 years old. The work we did was focussing on player tracking and using multiple cameras capturing the locations to analyse distances travelled and speeds of players but more importantly, looking at where players are located on the pitch and who is on the pitch when positive and negative outcomes occur. It has allowed us to collect information without having to interfere with athletes and allows information to be collected from opposition with no invasion either.
Working with Netball has been another great experience as it was a sport I wasn’t too familiar with. We worked at the U/21 National Championships in collecting footage of all games and coding live statistics. These included examples of centre possessions and who and where they passed, circle feed counts and location of entry, fouls, shooting accuracy. This work developed into national junior camps at the AIS where we supported the training and selections of some of Australia’s best junior athletes and allowed us to develop some innovative techniques to capture and distribute information.

What type of skills have your learnt and developed over the year?

Amanda: I have learnt to use many different PA software such as Sportscode, Dartfish and Kinovea as well as many useful iPad applications, as well as this I also improved skills such as multitasking where I was required to sometimes work on 3 or 4 tasks at one time and had to prioritise the most important things first. I have also learnt a lot about many different technologies and equipment, and now have a love for new gadgets.

Jamie: A lot of IT skills that have been invaluable. Things that seem simple now, but learning how to establish wireless networks, troubleshoot problems, being able to liaise with coaches in helping them solve IT issues abroad, and discover these intricacies within software, especially Sportscode. I have developed more skills from using software like Sportscode and producing greater statistical information which can be very powerful when combined with the video footage and codes we already create.

I understand a scholar’s year is only for 1 year in duration, what do you hope to take away from your experience at the AIS?

Amanda: I hope to take away hands on, industry experience in a professional environment. It is not often that you get to work with so many different sports with so many different requests all in one year and so I hope to take on each and every experience as a learning curve that can help me in my future endeavours.

Jamie: It is very short and I admit the time has flown by already. I hope to take away as much as I can which sounds pretty obvious in itself, but trying to learn as much as possible and taking away life experience at an elite level that can be adapted to many other elite areas within sport. It isn’t everyday that you can work at the AIS and by having this opportunity, I want to take away all I can.

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