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Interviews

KNOW YOUR ROLE: JAMES BECK

11 April 2020

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Getting to know an important member of the Academy staff

- New ‘Know Your Role’ feature
- Town introduces you to the Club’s First Team and Academy staff
- Today we look at Head of Academy Performance and Analysis, James Beck

With the coronavirus currently postponing Town’s fixture list, we’ve decided to introduce you to some of our First Team and Academy Staff – today we look at Head of Academy Performance and Analysis, James Beck!

James joined Huddersfield Town on a sports science and performance analysis placement during his second year at university and has been with the Club ever since, working his way up to become the Head of Academy Performance and Analysis.

The role involves bringing the Academy’s coaching programme to life for the Young Terriers’ players and staff, as well as attempting to consistently implement the ‘Terriers Identity’ throughout the season.

“My role is to consistently supply the players with content whether that’s from the First Team, the world’s best teams and players, or academy games,” James explained to htafc.com.

“Giving them this platform to work from allows them to always further their development and prepare for first team football.

“Other day-to-day responsibilities consist of filming training and games for the academy age groups. Filming is probably the most important part of the job - yet the most tedious!

“Without the footage, there’s nothing for the coaches or players to review, which is a massive part of the players’ development.”

Assisting with the Young Terriers’ development is a vitally important part of James’ role at the Club. But what does an average day look like for Town’s Head of Academy Performance and Analysis?

“The most interesting part about our Academy is that every day is different.

“Typically, there’ll be a number of analysis sessions put on throughout the day. These can range from the players using a tool called Hudl to create their own clips based off objectives set by the coach or analyst, or sessions led by the coach to deliver a team review from a game or training session.

“My role is to facilitate these sessions for the lads by trying to make them as engaging/interactive as possible.

“Then a match day can look a lot different. The role of the analyst is to help prepare the coach on what they want to deliver to the players in the format of a pre-match presentation.

“These can take a day or two to prepare and with the amount of games played, especially in our academy programme, preparation is key. After the presentation obviously comes the game which is my responsibility to film.”

Working as the Academy’s only performance analyst in recent months is something that James has taken in his stride but is also something that hasn’t come without its challenges.

“It’s been quite a challenge to work with over 40 players with just one pair of hands for the past couple of months.

“It’s something I haven’t had much exposure to on a consistent basis. I’d say I’ve embraced but has come with its tests.

“The main test has been balancing the work between all of the players and the coaches whilst keeping to a set structure.”

With all challenges come rewards; but what the most rewarding part of James’ job?

“I’d say seeing the players developing over time when you have worked with them. From the day they come in, to even being in the building for less than six months, you notice the improvements that have been made on and off the field.

“Something else I enjoy about the role is trying new and inventive ways to make the content provided for the players as engaging as possible.

“Creating new immersive ways to get their attention when in reviews with the coaches or the content we provide for them is something I enjoy doing.”

If becoming a performance analyst is something that you’re interested in, James has some words of advice for you!

“The role of the analyst isn’t just about filming training, games and focusing on opposition. You’ll find that there are responsibilities and tasks you’ll face that won’t even relate to your job role, which can feel like tedious tasks but will help to develop you in the long run.

“Having coaching badges in your arsenal will also help you to progress as an analyst.

“Even if you don’t want to be a football coach, the role of the analyst is becoming more tactical every year. Having this will help you to further enhance your knowledge of the game and tactical understanding.”


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