Interview with Pablo Arévalo, video analyst of the Spanish National Rugby team
“Without video analysis we would miss much fundamental information for rugby”
Pablo Arévalo (Valladolid, Spain, 1987) is one of the pioneers in Spain of Video analysis applied to rugby. He works for the Spanish Federation for the Rugby’s Sevens male and female teams, as well as the Women's Rugby XV National team.
Arévalo sees the sports video analysis as an indispensable source to provide security to the players and explain strategic changes to win the games.
How did you career as video analyst start?
Last season, the National Women Sevens team did some training in Valladolid and I did some collaboration as video analyst. This season I have already joined the staff of the Women's Olympic Sevens. Then we have also started to implement video analysis on the Male Sevens National team and female XV mode. Before this stage as video analyst, I had been coach thanks to my National Certification. I had trained all categories from the Sub14 team to lower teams at the Honor B Division.
In 2013 I joined the Spanish team as one of the assistant coaches for the U16 and U17 categories.
How many years have you been using LongoMatch PRO?
About three years ago I started using it as user level when I was training lower categories of the VRAC. The knowledge I gained I put into practice in February for the 2014-2015 season, with the Spanish team, and early that season I introduced myself in the professional video analysis to provide the level of professionalism required by an international competition, as I saw in England when I was there for my coach education. The video analysis with LongoMatch PRO is being the first experience of the Spanish team in this area.
When did you first heard about our software?
It was the program that everyone was talking about and it was really easy to access it. Then it has become a professional development program and I use it everyday.
To what extent is consolidated video analysis in the rugby worldwide?
Perhaps the rugby is one of the leading sports in this area along with field hockey. It is a sport with a lot of complexity and variables.
In the Sevens mode, several games are played in a day, so you must do quick live analysis to give immediate feedback before the game is about to be played.
Is there still a long way to go to Spain?
Yes, although we are among the best teams in world for Rugby Sevens for both men and women. Until this season there have been no full-time analysts. This year it has been a challenge for us.
And we have finally achieved the qualifying for the Olympic Games for both teams.
How is a normal day as video analyst when matches are played?
In rugby sevens category, three games are being played daily for two days. We work in a room that reminds me of the United Nations as each country has its own video analyst and there are 12 or 16 teams per tournament, everyone's around a large table with all the necessary technology at our disposal. We receive images from different camera shots provided by the professional TV broadcast, we then code the games of our selection and of our rivals. A total of 34 games are played during the World Series tournament.
If Spain plays, I speak with the National coach Jose Antonio Barrio by walkie talkie to give him precise information that I find through the analysis, this is mostly done during half-time. Before the next game I meet with our technical staff, we divided our own information and also the one of the rivals as well as all strengths and weaknesses detected. Then we went down to the changing room, where we have a projector, and we review the analysis with the players as well as the weaknesses and strengths of our next opponent.
Some players, such as those that kick in the kick-off, ask me for some specific information. When we are back to the hotel, the coach and myself enter the information details of the day.
The way we work with so little time margin is based on establishing an order of priorities. On site, I make a general sweep and during the following week I analyse into a level of detail that it can be millimetric, depending on the layers of information that need to be provided, either tagging players or reeleding trends that have been identified.
What do you think video analysis using LongoMatch PRO provides to the Spanish National teams?
Without video analysis, we would no have access to many critical information. Rugby requires many levels of study and LongoMatch PRO gives us a deeper understanding of the game that can transferred to the players. It is also a constant source of innovation that allows us to change strategies overnight. It also generates statistics and constitutes a database that can be quickly accessed.
To what extent is palpable the national team’s performance improvement thanks to video analysis?
The words of both the players and the coach are comforting. Players are grateful to have the information after games and workouts to review every action and receive an answer to their questions. The truth is that players apply what we discuss in the meetings and there are players who are achieving high performance. The analysis provides them calm and shows them that for every problem there is a solution. It also teaches them to value all its positive involvements to generate them confidence.
What are the expectations for the women's team over the coming years?
The female Rugby Sevens is already qualified for the World Series next year and for the next World Cup in a couple of years. Besides, achieving the qualifying for the Olympic Games will for sure open us many doors. We have a group of veterans who have developed the National women rugby team in Spain along with coach Jose Antonio Barrio. They are the standard of the national rugby and are mixing with Young players, 18- and 19-year-old, who are very prepared and they will standout in a great generational change. A sensational scenario is already arising.
About LongoMatch PRO
LongoMatch PRO, a product of the Spanish multimedia company Fluendo SA, has more than 6,000 users worldwide. It is a powerful, intuitive and customizable tool that allows video analysts and coaches of any team sport to analyse both their own players and the weaknesses of rival teams. It makes it possible to create playlists and presentations for each type of action or player in a match, generate statistics and easily share the information with the team. LongoMatch PRO allows users to store a team’s historical performance data, creating a long-term database that can be revisited in the future. The tool also aims to satisfy three basic needs: saving time in analysis, facilitating the work of the technical team and supplying information on the evolution of the team’s performance over time.
More information about LongoMatch PRO here.