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Dartfish Team Pro Aids U.S. WNT Coaching Staff


As part of our continuing effort to service and educate our membership, each Thursday U.S. Soccer will provide an informative article from one of its departments. Once a week, we will bring you an article/paper/essay that will hopefully enhance your enjoyment and knowledge of the game of soccer - on and off the field.

This month, we take a look at Dartfish Team Pro, a video editing and sorting software package, and how it is used by the U.S. Women’s National Team.


DARTFISH TEAM PRO AIDS U.S. WNT COACHING STAFF
Software Helps Coaching Staff Analyze Games Mid-Match,
Expands Training Options Technically and Tactically


At halftime of the U.S. Women’s National Team game vs. Brazil on July 13, 2003, U.S. assistant coach Phil Wheddon headed to the locker room from his perch in the stadium with laptop underarm.

As the team trickled into the locker room from the 80-degree heat, Wheddon was already showing head coach April Heinrichs and the balance of the technical staff a handful of video clips on his computer. 

With the score 0-0 at the half, the U.S. attack could not solve the Brazil defense. But using Dartfish Team Pro, the coaching staff was able to spot a key trend with Brazil’s back line, which enabled them to find more space on the field.

Dartfish Team Pro is a video-editing software designed specifically to analyze athletes and teams in action. During games, a video camera can be linked directly with a laptop. As the action unfolds, the user – or Wheddon in the case of the U.S. – can “tag” specific moments of action. The clips then get dropped into a playlist that can be accessed easily at any point.

“Their two central defenders were dropping very deep,” Wheddon explained, describing the Brazil backline during the July 13 match. “There was room to play in front of their sweepers if our forwards could get into that space.” 

The U.S. made the adjustment, which resulted in creating more chances and eventually helping them pull out a 1-0 win.

Ten months later on April 24, 2004, the U.S hosted Brazil for an international friendly once again with a much different result, a 5-1 win. Continued video analysis with the Dartfish software in the first half enabled the team to stay on the attack throughout the game.

In every game the WNT plays, Wheddon works with the software until halftime and then the coaching staff views a handful of clips before showing the players and explaining what adjustments to make. After the game, the coaching staff can also go into the program and add the second half to the video archive.

“The biggest advantage it provides is a clear visual,” said Wheddon. “Some people learn better with visual aids. The program allows us to show them, ‘This is what you are doing; this is what they are doing.’ It helps players to understand the game better, to see more things that they may not see from the field, and to better organize the team to exploit the opposition.”

DartFish Team Pro provides more than just analysis of on the field action.

"The software can offer a coach help on two levels,” said Victor Bergonzoli, President and U.S. General Manager of Dartfish. “On the tactical level, coaches can tag and record full games and turn around video very quickly. On the technical level, it can be used during training to help players improve their skills. It can become like a new assistant coach as it allows coaches to communicate to their athletes with video clips.”

On any given day, the video camera and computer can be found at U.S. Women’s National Team training sessions. The coaching staff uses Dartfish to analyze many team drills from marking in the box to ensuring that the team keeps a good defensive shape.

The program can also be used to create individual clip libraries of players for one-on-one instruction. Wheddon, who works primarily with the U.S. goalkeepers, likes to use the clips generated by Dartfish to isolate players and provide direct feedback.

After traveling to every venue for the 2003 Women’s World Cup, the camera and computer loaded with the Dartfish software will be making the trip to Athens in August for the 2004 Summer Olympics. During those two weeks, it will be used by the U.S. to break down Germany, Sweden and the rest of the field as the U.S. looks to reclaim the title of best team in the world.

Dartfish, which was featured in the Global Business section of this week’s issue of Time, has a staff of more than 50 and is headquartered in Fribourg, Switzerland, and has offices in the Atlanta, Germany, Australia and South Korea. In addition to their breakthrough sport training applications such as the ones used by the U.S. Women’s National Team, their technologies are widely recognized in the sports world for providing exclusive televised broadcast footage and interactive Internet content.

Dartfish applications have been used to enhance the broadcasts of several world class events such as the 2002 FIFA World Cup Championships, 2002 Winter Olympic Games, 2000 Summer Olympic Games, the 2001 and 2002 World Figure Skating Championships, and the 2001 Indianapolis 500.

More information on Dartfish is available at www.dartfish.com and on the U.S. Soccer Web site here

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