Scouting Your Opponents During COVID-19Scouting Your Opponents.

Widespread lockdown is slowly being loosened in certain parts of the world. And the excitement about a possible return to sport, or at least the opening of training facilities, is building. A lot has been said about using the unplanned break positively. Other than staying fit and healthy, scouting opponents is at the forefront of tactics that athletes are using to prepare for things to come.

But what is scouting and how do you go about it?

The term scouting describes the process of analysing opponents prior to competing with them. Imagine how much easier it would be to compete with someone when you know their moves and what to avoid or aim for. Effective scouting reveals an opponent’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as their patterns of play and success probabilities. This, in turn, helps you to push all the right buttons to win the face-off.

Some tips to guide your opponents’ dissection.

  • Success –Find what they do best. Identify the top players on the team, and the plays they work most often and most successfully. You can then plan to defend and counter this effectively
  • Rematch –Rewatch any previous match-ups with the opposition from a new, more objective point of view to assess what you could have done better.
  • Link stats to video –Instead of being intimidated by numbers link these numbers to video extracts. This will enable you to have a clear picture in mind and will validate what the numbers do or don’t say.
  • Find the sweet spot –The real trick is to make sure you are as prepared as possible without being overwhelmed. Keep target points short and simple so that your focus is on playing, and not on over-thinking
  • Play your game -The biggest danger when preparing for an opponent is to over-adjust your own game. Play to your own strengths while adjusting only slightly to exploit their weaknesses and minimise their strengths.

Use this time to for scouting your opponents and, in doing so, prepare to win!

Amy Bathgate
About the Author
Amy Bathgate is the Operations Manager at VS Sports, playing an integral role in product development, innovation, and design, and heading up a team of enthusiastic analysts working towards transforming the way sport is analyzed, scouted, and experienced. With over a decade of expertise in consulting, biomechanics, and performance analysis across various disciplines and levels, she understands that the little details make a big difference. One of her passions and specialties is swimming, and she assists and drives athletes and coaches to achieve their performance potentials using stroke and race analysis to better their understanding of the complexities of the sport in order to go faster and train and perform more efficiently. Amy is also a Dartfish Certified Instructor, certified in Functional Movement Screening, and a former lecturer at the University of Pretoria.