Future 50: Real Projects course taken to the next level
- Credit: Real Projects
Future 50 member Real Projects has released a key online course for the Professional Football Scouts Association. Going live now, the level two Technical Scouting course builds on the success of the level one module – which was the PFSA’s most successful online course.
Technical scouting is the process of using data analysis to find players who bring something to a team. “This is transforming the way that elite football clubs – all football clubs – recruit players and the way they review performance,” explains Real Projects’s Scott Hewitt. “It allows people to query data on thousands of players to identify a very precise performance profile. The result is a massively expanding talent pool.
“Now, technical scouts can query data on thousands of footballers playing worldwide, and identity the players who fit a precise performance profile. The result is a vastly expanded talent pool, and the possibility of finding star players at a comparatively low price.”
The level one course explains what kinds of data clubs can access, how this data is used to create objective measures of performance (“metrics”), and how metrics are used to query a database of players. The course is fully interactive, giving learners the chance to manipulate data for themselves.
The new level two course builds on this by showing how these processes are applied at elite football clubs. The course positions the learner as the new Head of Technical Scouting at a Premier League club, and plunges them into the workflow. They have to develop their own set of metrics, based on the manager’s playing philosophy and the needs of the team, and use these metrics to complete a talent search. They then have to study data visualisations in depth to determine how far a player’s metrical values reflect his real level of performance.
“It’s not linear, with screen after screen after screen. It puts you in the workflow and simulates the process,” says Mr Hewitt. "It has some cause-and-effect and will say you got this right or you got this wrong and it contextualises the data for people. It’s not gamification, but it is as engaging as a video game.”
The course includes dozens of real examples, showing how football professionals actually use data models like the Expected Goals metric, and data visualisations like heat maps and passing maps. It helps understand – and avoid being misled by - statistics commonly heard on Match of the Day and Sky Sports.
Developed with experienced technical scouts from top-flight clubs, the new Real Projects course not only provides a uniquely realistic and engaging learning experience but also delivers the kind of insight and training that would-be football professionals could only otherwise obtain from degree-level courses.
As well as launching the PFSA level two Technical Scouting course, Real Projects has developed a series of interactive resources for Encyclopaedia Britannica and is just finishing a bespoke learning package for Roche.
As well as moving on to develop a level-two Performance Analysis course for the PFSA, the Norwich-based firm is looking to expand into the American sports market. “As well as the custom courses, we have our own library of courses that has already been localised and sold into the US,” Mr Hewitt explains. "Now we’ve got more conversations with potential customers in the US about sports-based e-learning courses.”
For more information, see www.realprojects.co.uk