Video analysis for self assessment by officials

Video camera
Author:  Australian Sports Commission
Issue: Volume 5 Number 1

Video analysis is used for a variety of purposes in sport.  Some of the more common uses include coaches using video analysis to review athletes’ performance and to analyse opposition play as part of match preparation.  Sporting organisations use video analysis in coach and official accreditation programs for assessment of coaches or officials in remote locations.  Some sporting teams are even using video analysis to analyse the referees or umpires who control their games in an effort to adjust their play to anticipate decisions that the referee might make in the game.  It is also not unusual for coaches to use video analysis for self-reflection.

The use of video analysis for ongoing performance review and assessment is not as widely used by officials as it might be.  There are many aspects of officiating performance that can reap significant benefits from post-event review by video analysis. 

Officials may receive valuable feedback from their umpireor referee coordinator or a mentor, but this can be supplemented by reviewing the previous match or event on video.

Part of the umpire performance analysis system used by the International Cricket Council at the conclusion of every Test match and One Day International Series is the provision to umpires of DVDs containing video footage and replays of each decision made, which can be viewed frame-by-frame for in-depth analysis.

This system provides an effective means of identifying both strengths and weaknesses in an umpire's performance and enables the ICC to work with the umpire to provide feedback on his performance and identify ways of addressing any areas of concern, as well as monitoring improvements or changes in performance.

Not all officials will have access to this level of professional support, however the principles can be applied at any level.  If an official can find someone to video them in action, they can then use the video footage to assess their performance in a range of areas such as:

  • Positioning – was the official in the best position to make the call on each play and were they in the appropriate position in relation to other officials?
  • Missed calls – how many infringements did the official miss in the event?
  • Accuracy of calls – were all of the calls that the official made the correct ones for the circumstances?
  • Timeliness of calls – did the official take too long to make the call after the incident occurred?
  • Nonverbal communication – did the official display appropriate body language when delivering rulings; did the official use hand signals and body placement consistent with the requirements of their sport?
  • Verbal Communication – were rulings delivered in a clear and concise manner?
  • Interaction with players/coaches/managers/spectators – was the official’s interaction with all ‘participants’ appropriate in terms of language, timing, duration of interaction and information imparted?
  • Impact on flow of the game – did the official have appropriate control of the event in terms of eg allowing the game to flow or calling too many stops to play?
  • Concentration – was the official focussed on the event at all times or were they distracted by other people or activities occurring around them?
  • Teamwork with other officials – how did the official interact with other officials involved in the event, eg linespeople, judges?

Once an official has video footage of their performance, they should attempt to analyse their performance in an impersonal manner to identify learning opportunities and potential areas for improvement.  They can then be aware of their areas of strength and weakness, and how particular aspects of their performance have developed over time.  They will be in a position to try to improve on any areas of weakness in future outings, or to seek assistance from someone with appropriate expertise in a particular area.

With regular use, video analysis can provide significant assistance in improving performance.


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