Analysis and the PAOK Academy
Statistical and video analysis is changing the way we perceive and watch football. As much as this may «kill» the romance, we can only take into account the statement of the man who gave us more than a fair few «erotic» football nights. «The most important part of my staff is the Performance Analysis team,» says Pep Guardiola.
It is obvious that no matter how much data one collects, data analysis is not the «Holy Grail». You always have to watch the players and the game with your own eyes. Analysts, then, are not just people good at math, but mostly coaches and scouts. A machine without a human filter there simply does not work properly. Perhaps the ideal approach to this rapidly evolving «football science» is a mix of American logic – which is addicted to statistical and quantitative analysis, and the Mediterranean way, which is more field-based, tactical, and qualitative.
Technology improves decision-making processes in a multi-billion euro industry such as football, and there are only advantages for teams when they’re making important decisions based on the best information and methods available.
A coach can remember, on average, between 30-40% of the events of a match. A small percentage indeed. That is why the analysis department is now an integral part of the coaching staff of football teams. The use of video and statistical analysis actually helps towards a better and more accurate preparation for teams. Analyzing football matches, players and training sessions through the use of video and statistics is part of everyday football. After all, the scientific progress of the study of the game allows the recording – in addition to simple statistics – of movements on the pitch, direction, speed, strength of sprints, and even how long the ball remains at the players’ feet after the first contact.
The playing characteristics and data are analyzed and, in collaboration with the technical teams, it is decided in which areas and with which players certain adjustments and interventions are needed.
The PAOK Academy Department of Analysis
The analysis department at the PAOK Academy is now in its third year of operation in the form it has today. It’s made up of four executives: the coordinator and head of the program, Giannis Vlachos, and three analysts, who are in charge of the various age groups that play in the Super League championships. For the Under-19s it is Giannis Ambatzidis, for the Under-17s there’s Alexandros Theodoridis, and for the Under-15s it’s Ilias Galanopoulos.
The department is in charge of the daily recording and videotaping of matches and training sessions. They handle the analysis and evaluation, in collaboration with the technical staff of each age category.
In addition to the rest of the actions of the department, this year Live Analysis is being tested experimentally, which is an application for the analysis of the game as it is happening.
Giannis Vlachos is the head of the analysis department at the PAOK Academy. This is his third term at PAOK FC, where he has also worked as an opposition analyst, coach in the developmental ages, and a member of the scouting department of the academy and the first team.
Apart from PAOK, in the past he has worked as an analyst and assistant coach at other Super League clubs, such as Iraklis, Xanthi and Platanias, the latter of which he also had a term of 16 months as technical director. He was also a coach and technical director in the Football League with Aeginiakos for three seasons.
He has attended seminars about the analysis of the game in Greece and abroad, has created the Live Analysis program for the video analysis of the match, and holds a UEFA B diploma (he also participated in the first phase of the UEFA A diploma).
Giannis Ambatzidis arrived at PAOK in 2014, and worked with the Under-14s, before continuing with the same players at Under-15 level in the 2015-16 season. He also contributed to the Under-20 category, and he now works mainly with the Under-19s technical team, as well as the video analysis department of the PAOK Academy.
He is a graduate of TEFAA, holds a UEFA A diploma, and from 2007 to 2011 he was the coach and technical manager of PAONE. In addition, he was also a volunteer referee at the first mini Olympics, also known as the Games of the Small States of Europe. He speaks English and German.
Alexandros Theodoridis has been working for PAOK since 2011. For a number of years he was the coach and assistant coach at Under-17 level (2011-14). After that, he worked with Vis Track, before returning to the PAOK Academy, as a video analyst for the Under-17s.
He has been working as a coach since 1992. Among other things, he was a coach and fitness coach of the men’s teams of Thermaikos, Ethnikos Meteoras, EPS Kilkis, and PAOD.
He is a professor of Physical Education, a graduate of DUTH, holds a UEFA A diploma, is a Vis Track analyst for PAOK, and is now an analyst for the PAOK Academy. He is a married father-of-two.
Ilias Galanopoulos has been with PAOK since 2013 and for three years he coached the talented generation of 2002. He is a technical school graduate, holder of UEFA B Futsal diploma, and a UEFA A diploma. He is also a certified match analyst from AUTh, while he holds a soccer analyst level 1 from videobserver academy, as well as a coerver coaching diploma level 2.
He started as a coach at Marathon of Kalamaria and also worked at Agios Georgios N. Krini and Hermes Kalamaria. He played football for, among others, Keravnos Agiou Pavlou, both Marathon and Poseidon from Kalamaria, at AE Ampelokipi, and for Ethniki N. Malgaron. He is married and the father of three children.