Which sports use data analysis?

Basketball, American Football, Soccer (or Football), Baseball, Lacrosse, Golf, Cricket, Rugby, Netball, in fact most team sports use data analysis to help improve team and player performances and to gain the competitive edge.

What is data analysis?

Data analysis is the process of recording the exact movements of players, and using software to provide meaningful insights based on the recorded data. The insights can help to optimise team performances as well as improve players’ fitness levels and techniques.

Basketball is one of the best examples of how data analysis has changed the way player performance is measured. NBA (National Basketball Association) teams are now using data analysis to help evaluate the efficiency of teams by analysing athletes’ movements.

Real-time metrics

In 2014 the NFL (National Football League) started to use RFID (Radio-frequency identification) chips to gather real-time performance data from their players. This provided metrics about the players’ speed, acceleration, deceleration, distance travelled and alignment while the matches were happening. 

The data captures where players are on the field, where they move to and how their speed or acceleration impacts their performance.

This is part of what the the NFL calls “Next Gen Stats“. These metrics provide coaches with powerful analytics which can help with training, match performance, and can power effective decision making.

GPS tracking devices

Australian Football, at AFL level, are leaders in utilising data analysis. Players wear GPS tracking devices that not only track distances covered, acceleration, deceleration and impact data, but also heart rate information – in real time!

Players can be monitored during the match and even substituted when they are near to exhaustion.

Injury prevention

Having data analysis information at hand, means coaches know exactly how hard their players’ have worked during a match, or a series of matches. Metrics such as recovery time will demonstrate how fatigued an athlete is, giving coaches the option of resting them so as to prevent injury.

It is also very obvious from the data analysis metrics to spot under performing team members, once again leading to data driven decisions by the coach.


Which sports use data analysis? All of them, and if they don’t yet they soon will. Further more, combining data analysis with performance analysis is something we will see more of in the not so distant future. If teams want to stay competitive they will have to use modern technology which enables the coaches to make data driven decisions.

About the Author: Anadi James Taylor

About the Author: Anadi James Taylor


I am expert in helping sports clubs, schools, colleges and universities improve their sporting performances using Sports Video Analysis and GPS Performance Analysis.

I developed iSportsAnalysis.com with world class sports scientists, coaches and trainers and university lecturers to help optimise, maximise and realise the performance of athletes and teams.

iSportsAnalysis has helped over 120 universities, private schools and clubs to reach their true sporting potential; whether that has been from them using the iSportsAnalysis online video streaming services, our online sports video analysis, coaches corner or our GPS performance analysis, the results speak for themselves!

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