Tuesday 13th January 2015

TECHNOLOGY may not yet be used for refereeing decisions, but coaches around the SPFL are embracing the modern way, including our own guys at DFC.

In fact, Sons are pioneers amongst their part-time peers, using high performance analysis tools to aid the so far sucessful campaign to remain in the SPFL Championship.

Mark Spalding, who joined up at Dumbarton last summer, is the club’s technolgy guru and he forms an essential part of Ian Murray’s match day preparations.

‘Spalders’, as he is known amongst the staff and players, works with the Sonstrust Sons TV media team, in particular cameraman David Jenkinson.

The process of video analysis is challenging but a crucial role, and it’s one that Mark is relishing.

He said : “Since arriving at the club I have been working with the manager to develop an up-to-date analysis system that will allow us to evaluate individual and team performances.

“With thanks to the Sonstrust and David Jenkinson who films the games to a very high quality for Sons TV and to the specifications that we require, we can use the game footage to identify strengths, weaknesses and trends within the game which can allow us to develop specific training sessions.”

Modern methods then. Mark (pictured above) is convinced that using this additional method of preparing the Sons players has practical benefits.

And manager Ian Murray is fully behind what is a new perspective on training.

Mark continued: ”The manager has been looking at developing many areas of the footballing provision which has included a real focus on sports science.

“Things like focussing on diet and nutrition and medical provision. The boys have really benefitted

“In addition to my experience and qualifications as a coach I have worked with analysis software and the gaffer has encouraged me to bring this to DFC.”

Drawing on his ability to extract data from the footage shot by David, Mark is using state-of-the-art technology.

“By using the Focus X2 Performance Innovation Software which is the same software used by the English FA, Andy Murray and the team GB Olympic team among many others, we look at the various performance indicators we have set and tag those moments of the game accordingly,” said Mark.

“This is used to deliver back to the players individually or as a group and can highlight key areas of the game.

“The coaching staff continually use the footage and information after the previous game to analyse performance and to use it to develop the weekly training schedule.

“The medical staff also use the footage for further information to determine the cause of injury.”

Looking to the future, Mark hopes that the service can continue to be used.

“The video analysis is now a fixture within the footballing provision at the club and further enhances what we are delivering for the players.

“The footage that is filmed by David isn’t only being used for analysis purposes and is now also being used for Sons TV and have showing positive footage of the players in action on the TV in the changing room before games.

“Without David this wouldn’t be possible and we can’t think him enough as the footage is the main thing in order to do this and he does such a fantastic job.

“Almost instantly after full-time we have the footage to get the ball rolling on analysing it.”

David’s highly-regarded service, offering professionally edited highlights of Sons matches is being well received the world over and the transfer of the footage to You Tube means less space being used on the club’s website.

The initiative is a volunteer one operated through the Sonstrust and David is delighted to be involved.

He said: “I responded to a plea from the guys at the trust at the beginning of the season to help get Sons TV back up and running. I have experience in video photography and with time on my hands I volunteered.

“When it became clear that the club through Mark were looking to get what we were filming for pleasure for actual analysis, we were only too delighted to help.

“As the weeks have whizzed by, we’ve added to various bits and bobs of how we actually capture and transfer the footage.

“Our set-up is very professional and it’d been great to be part of the team that is helping keep the club progressing.”

Alan Findlay

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