Video analysis has become more and more prevalent within elite level sport, as athletes at the top of their respective fields strive for marginal gains over their rivals. Although this level of analysis is now commonplace at the elite level, this has not always been the case. The first examples can be traced back to 1985, where some NFL teams would record training sessions and play them back during team meetings, allowing the coaches to dissect both individual and team play.
By the 1990’s, due to the ongoing advancements and increased availability, video technology was gradually being implemented right across the sporting world. Arsene Wenger was one of the main protagonists for the use of video analysis technology when he took over as Arsenal manager in 1996. Known as a forward thinking manager who was perhaps quite ahead of his time back then, Wenger revolutionized the way Arsenal operated in more ways than one.
He introduced many science based rules and regimes, such as strict diet plans and new coaches for specific areas such as stretching, fitness and of course video analysis. He would then present his findings, alongside his staff members, to the team in pre match meetings. These meetings would often consist of opposition reports and tactical advice on how to beat them. Although Wenger’s methods were initially met with skepticism, he won the Premier League and F.A Cup double in his first full season in charge silencing his doubters and prompting the rest of the league to follow suit.
At the time, the Premier League was lagging behind the rest of Europe when it came to harnessing the power of technology for analysis. The rest of the league soon cottoned on, witnessing Wenger’s Arsenal sides success first hand and realising the scope for development whilst using video analysis technology and employing area specific coaches was too great to ignore.
Although this is all commonplace in the modern age of the Premier League, Wenger was a true pioneer for this shift and is partly responsible for the staggering depth of detail and analysis that goes on behind the scenes at every club in the modern era.