LaLiga strengthens its position as a leader in cutting-edge technology during Matchday 27 in LaLiga Santander and Matchday 34 in LaLiga SmartBank by launching an innovative system called the “Video Review System“. Through a powerful Surface Pro device equipped with Microsoft technology that LaLiga will make available to all clubs, their technical teams will be able to review actions in great detail from different camera angles in the technical area and the home and away benches at every fixture from this matchday onwards. The service will have a dual medical and tactical function, which, among other things, will allow for more effective action or intervention in the event of injury. The initiative is part of the work that the Mediacoach area of LaLiga has been carrying out for years to help protect the health of players.
The Video Review System (VRS) is a service that simultaneously provides a large portion of live video feeds from those used for broadcasting (TV production picture, master camera, close-up and tactical camera), via a Microsoft Surface Pro touchscreen device. The device also enables time-delayed playback to review a move immediately, zoom, looped replays for analysis of an action, multi-screen to view up to 4 different angles simultaneously, and other new playback controls. A multidisciplinary team of analysts and technicians will also be at the service of the clubs, both on the field and remotely, to resolve technical issues, in addition to the support provided by LaLiga’s Audiovisual and Match Directors departments.
The new system has two key functions:
- Protecting the health of players and preventing injuries: allows for better diagnosis and intervention, and offers a tool for medical staff to better and faster manage and intervene in case of injury, with real-time access to review all available images and angles. This capability is complemented by Mediacoach Mobile and Live, which send alerts to the coaching staff in real time during the match to warn them of the risk of injury.
- Technical and tactical analysis used by the coaching staff: the live TV feed allows the review of moves and positions from several different cameras, making it easy to supplement this functionality with Mediacoach’s performance data and tactical camera feed.
This dual function is the differentiating factor that makes LaLiga a pioneer in being the first to implement it collectively, i.e. across all clubs, with the dual purpose of performance and medical care, together with the support of the Mediacoach platform. This initiative also gives continuity to the efforts made in the development of a domestic concussion protocol, thanks to the cooperation and coordination of the working group formed by LaLiga, AFE and Javier Barrera (chief physician of the project), and following the framework cooperation agreement at European level between European Leagues and FIFPRO.
The initiative, carried out by HawkEye, is part of the LaLiga and Microsoft: Beyond Stats project, which promotes the use of advanced statistics and video analysis tools for fans and club technical staff. Under the agreement between the two organisations, strengthened in May 2021, work is being carried out on different projects with the aim of digitally transforming the sports and entertainment industry. The technological capabilities provided by Microsoft Azure’s artificial intelligence and machine learning, and the integration of Mediacoach and the TV feed on Surface Pro devices, now further boost the platform’s power and speed of use for video assets.
“At LaLiga we are determined to do our best to provide club professionals with tools to help them perform their duties, with the conviction that, through the use of these tools, all clubs and SADs affiliated to LaLiga will help to improve the competitiveness and level of our competitions. And especially in all matters related to the performance of the teams and in particular the health of their players,” states Luis Gil, Director of Competitions at LaLiga.
“In recent years, the Mediacoach division has placed special emphasis on helping to prevent and monitor the risk of injury, making resources, such as real-time alerts, available to clubs and carrying out scientific studies with universities using club performance data, so that clubs have all the information they need to plan their training sessions and matches, thus helping to reduce the risk of injury. The Video Review System is a further step towards minimising this risk even further and provides a leap in quality for medical services and technical staff, such as fitness trainers and coaches, in their work,” notes Ricardo Resta, director of the Mediacoach division in LaLiga.
Mediacoach and LaLiga: player health and injury prevention
LaLiga created its Mediacoach platform 12 years ago, designed by an in-house multidisciplinary team in 2010, in order to serve the 42 clubs, making the competition the only entity to have a platform of this type integrated in each professional club. Shared access to the more than 900 pieces of data generated per match has contributed to the democratisation of the competition, as well as providing the technical staff with differential data that has helped, among other things, to ensure that even with the increase in the intensity of play in Spain’s LaLiga, which leads all European leagues in this respect, there has been no increase in the number of injuries.
The platform makes it possible to detect what specialists call the “Injury Risk Zone” thanks to the convergence of data on sprints, acceleration and distance covered, provided by the 16 optical tracking cameras installed in the 42 LaLiga stadiums. This data, complemented by video analysis, which allows us to examine what is happening on a biomechanical level or to examine the technique used in running, helps to plan the conditioning, physical preparation and training to improve a specific technique or physical condition according to the demarcation and the characteristics of each player. In addition, coaching staff often quantify training loads between weeks and competitions to generate alerts on the platform in order to prevent certain types of injuries.
Likewise, both the Mediacoach Sports Research division and the clubs have collaborated in recent years, providing data and talent, both with Spanish and foreign universities, which contributes to the advancement of sports science around the world, as well as facilitating the work of all the clubs in the competition. Some of the latest noteworthy joint scientific publications on injury prevention have included a study on how well clubs work to avoid increased incidence of injuries after the break due to the COVID19 pandemic; another on the relationship between workload in training and injury risk which is particularly useful for planning training sessions; and a longitudinal study on physical reconditioning and players returning to competition after a break.