Performance analysis software that helped Germany win the 2014 soccer World Cup will soon be available to sports clubs all over the world.
On Monday, SAP unveiled its Sports One solution, at Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena. Sports One is a sports specific, cloud-based unified platform for managing things like business operations and fan engagement, both already used by Bayern, who won their twenty fifth Bundesliga title, last weekend.
It’s Sports One’s performance analysis software, Insights, that’s really got Bayern’s coaching staff and player jazzed. This software crunches thousands of pieces of real-time data about players’ training performance. Coaches can then work on players’ skills, tactical behavior and effort. Medical staff can see that a player is under physical stress and take action before the player gets injured.
The Insight system includes eight cameras that surround the training pitch and software that tracks players’ movements. The system gathers data on key performance indicators: number of touches, average possession time, distance travelled, movement speeds and directional changes.
“You can place all this data on a cloud or a central platform and transmit this in real time to players and other users on their own devices,” says SAP Executive Board member, Bernd Leukert.
Sports One is powered by SAP’s High-performance Analytical Appliance (HANA) platform, a relational database management system designed to simultaneously handle high transaction rates and complex query processing.
“In just ten minutes, ten players with three balls can produce over seven million data points,” says Germany manager, and former star striker, Oliver Bierhoff. “The SAP HANA platform processes this data in real time, enabling our coaches to customize training and prepare for the next game.”
Bierhoff adds that at the World Cup, the Germans put up a big screen in the players’ lounge at their training camp, with all the data on it. “Players are used to working with data and video sequences,” he says. “This technology puts together the information in ways that is interesting for the player to look at. The answers they find there help improve their performance.”
At the 2010 World Cup, German players took, on average, 3.4 seconds to release the ball, much longer than the likes of Spain, Italy and Brazil. German head coach, Joachim Low, was convinced that this is why Germany had come up short against the very best sides in 2010, and again in the 2012 European Championships. In Brazil, last summer, with the help of Insights, the German players reduced their average possession time to 1.1 second.
Insights is spreading to other sports. The Czech national hockey team plans to use an adapted version of SAP Insights at the upcoming World Championships. SAP also provides performance analysis software for the Women’s Tennis Association.