Data plays an increasing role in elite sports performance management. We chatted to Jesus Perez, assistant manager to Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham Hotspur for five years, and Zone7’s Tal Brown about data informed decision making.
Both set out that context is king. Someone needs to analyse the data. Coaches, like Perez and Pochettino, are the point at which data sets merge and decisions are needed. If done well, clubs can save money because their players are not picking up wages while injured, estimated at £35m a year in the Premier League. They discuss how managers have to be held accountable for players getting injured if the data said they needed a rest.
Tal said: “when I'm asked by investors in Silicon Valley ‘why are you in sports, it's not a very big market? There are no sports teams in the Fortune 500.’ My answer is that if you want to create technology for human performance, you need data about it and going back 2, 3, 4 years, the only the only industry that had this kind of data at scale consistently is sports.”
Jesus discusses how he has used data to understand players and gives examples from his time at some of the biggest clubs in England and Spain.