Team GB’s curling team adds new tech-dimension to sports analysis
AnalysisPro providers of performance analysis solutions and training, has completed the installation of innovative network cameras at the home of British Curling with the aim of helping athletes improve performance and gain a winning edge in time for the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing. The range of IP cameras from Axis Communications, the market leader in network video technology, will provide an integrated visual sports analysis system to help training staff stay one step ahead of the competition.
Following great success at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, British Curling, the organisation that manages and develops elite curling in Britain, received funding to build a new £3.15m National Curling Academy at the Stirling Sports Village in Scotland. As part of the investment made by UK Sport, it sought new technology to improve on a previous portable sport analysis solution.
The new visual sports analysis solution comprises 16 innovative network cameras, including eight overhead 4K network cameras with full pan, tilt and zoom capability. Eight additional fixed position 1080p network cameras installed at a low level, capture side-on views of the curlers in action. Prior to the installation of Axis’ cameras and AnalysisPro AP Capture software, coaches would either film sessions on their mobile phones, distracting them from their coaching responsibilities, or rely on the on-site Performance Analyst to deliver post-training feedback.
Along with the ability to capture footage and control the cameras via the AP Capture laptops, all of the cameras are constantly recording onto network drives, for easy access both during and after a training session. If a coach identifies an area that an athlete can improve on, they are able to provide real-time feedback to correct the techniques while on the (ice) sheet, helping to reinforce when an athlete is performing well and increase their confidence.
Kenny More, British Curling Performance Analyst commented: “Not only do the cameras enable us to identify problem areas and correct them immediately, but the analysis system also helps us reinforce what the athletes are doing well, which increases their confidence in match play. The coaches are finding it easier to get on with their core job. Being able to provide feedback live while the athletes are on the ice also means any problems with technique can be rectified immediately.”
Kevin McHugh, a High Performance Manager at sportscotland, commented on the ease of installation: “We had to find innovative ways of trying to nurture talent that existed, and that meant coaches needed to focus solely on training techniques, rather than doing the filming themselves. The installation was incredibly smooth. All parties bought into the project as a whole and were able to oversee the installation work carried out. In addition, on-site and remote support was provided so we didn’t have to concern ourselves with maintenance issues.”
The contribution of the Axis system is recognised by coaches and athletes alike. British Curling’s National Academy is confident that the new analysis tools will go a long way to prepare them for what is ultimately the most important performance of their lives, at the Olympic and Paralympic games. Josh Bryan, Manager at AnalysisPro said of the partnership with Axis, “We utilise Axis technology because of its smooth movement controls, great image quality and open architecture which enables us to deploy different software. The system British Curling is using means they can keep themselves ahead of the competition.”