Interview with Jose L. Lopez Becerra, Video Analyst of the Spanish National Handball Team
"Without LongoMatch PRO we could not do what we do. It helps us to improve our performance, which is important in competitions like the World or the European Cup in which we play every other day for twenty days."
Jose Luis Lopez Becerra (49 years) is the video analyst of the Spanish Handball National Team. He has always enjoyed training teams of his favorite sport and thanks to his specialization in sports video analysis with LongoMatch PRO, he has been able to start working with the elite. He is currently advisor to both the absolute male and female handball teams. He also supervises junior teams. He says the program developed by Fluendo is necessary to do their job and has helped the team to achieve success in recent years.
How did you start your career as a video analyst?
I have always been dedicated to training and I have been national handball coach. Ten years ago, when it hardly existed software for handball and I was the second coach in the Handball team Malagueta Malaga, I began to use simple programs of video edition: cut videos and made presentations for players, but it took me a whole week to make a video presentation. These were my first steps on video analysis. I was fascinated and two years later I stopped training. Now I am focused on video analysis 365 days a year. When I'm not tagging videos, I investigate and improve my analysis dashboards. Thanks to video analysis I have started working with the elite.
What motivated the change of coach to video analyst?
I started training when I was fifteen, when I was a player. I loved it, but there was a point in my career when I felt more passionate about analysis. Now it takes all of my time and I do not know how to watch sports as a spectator; I always do it with the prism of a video analyst. The more I work with LongoMatch PRO, the more I see possibilities, because it is an open process in which everything evolves very fast.
How long have you used LongoMatch PRO?
I heard about the program for the first time when Andoni Morales released the first versions as his final degree project. I was among the first people to used it and became a fan from the very beginning. LongoMatch PRO has evolved a lot and it has ranked among the best video analysis solutions. It is essential to do my job.
How did you hear about the software?
By chance, searching a video software on the Internet. I was not looking for a specific video analysis software, because it was a concept not consolidated yet.
When and how did you get to be part of the technical team of the Spanish Handball team?
I started working as a coach in the Spanish Handball Federation in 1995. I was in the youth selection, first as assistant coach and then as a coach. In 2010, when the women's team disputed the European in Denmark, the technical director offered me to be part of the men's team as director of scouting.
Do you think that professional video analyst is a job with future?
Video analyst courses have proliferated enormously. But at the moment only professional football leagues have complete teams of video analysts.
How do you assess the coordination of your work with the coaches priorities?
Both with women's coach Jorge Dueñas, as with male's Manolo Cadenas, we quickly connected. The fact that I was a former coach supposed an advantage for me. They are clear about what they want and I have clear that I am at their service, but I try not to be a mere video cutter and advise the coaches. We do seven to eight different analysis, summaries or pre-game videos, which is the most important material we show to the players.
What do you think that LongoMatch PRO video analysis provides to the Spanish handball team?
Without the software we could not do what we do. It helps us to improve our performance, which is extremely important in competitions like the World or the European Cup in which we play every other day for twenty consecutive days. LongoMatch PRO has a good learning curve. Besides, I can do the analysis for the team from home or anywhere. Jorge Dueñas has also become an unconditional fan of LongoMatch.
What are the features that you use most?
In LongoMatch PRO we have sixteen different analysis dashboards. I'm always researching and making changes, but I have five dashboards that are untouchable and are very optimized. We analyze issues such as the rival passes, tactical aspects and the opposites game tactics. The objective is to detect patterns which the team repeats, we analyse them to anticipate to their game, be aware of their strengths and detect their defects.
Would you recommend the software to a video analyst colleague?
In fact, I recommend it a hundred times a month. When I do lectures at universities and federations or I teach training courses on video analysis, we use LongoMatch PRO in practice. Some of my students are national qualified coaches, not just handball, but football as well as and students of Physical Education and Sport. The program can also serve as an evaluation tool for classroom teachers.
How the video analysis influenced on the success of Europe Cup second place earlier this year?
In competitions so demanding, there are thousands of variables in play, the line between success and failure is very thin. LongoMatch PRO was absolutely decisive. Manolo Cadenas had never worked with video analysis before and last year he hired me for his Polish team because he saw the program's potential.
What are the main challenges the team is facing in the coming months?
With the women's team, we want to repeat or exceed the bronze medal at the Games in Rio. With the men's team we did not qualify for only one goal after a difficult pre-Olympic. However, both the senior and junior teams had plenty of podiums in the last five years.
More information about LongoMatch PRO here.