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Digital & Data in Decisions

With all Australian teams now selected, we go behind the scenes of selection to showcase how data and digital has become the new selector!

Upon her appointment, Kelpies head coach Nerida Stewart was given the challenge to uplift the selection processes for the men’s national netball teams. Her plan was three-fold.

Firstly - the task was to embed a consistent national athlete screening process across the ages, measuring each talent identified athlete against the high performance (HP) pillars of match impact, skilling, conditioning and behaviors.

Secondly, and an adjunct to the first, was to ensure we centrally stored the data captured from screening so an athletes pathway performances can be used to track their growth as they climb.

Lastly - it was to improve the digital channels and interfaces selectors use to make decisions. This ensures critical match play footage and data taken from it is digitally stored and accessible so selectors can cut whatever insight they need to make decisions, and view anytime, anywhere.

The 2023 international season and selection process was the first that passed through this new digital and data-informed selection process for all touring teams, and Coach Stewart assembled the dream team of HP to execute it.

Stewart refers to her Kelpies HP Analyst Katelyn Jones as her brains trust. Jones has taken on the enormous task of turning every Kelpies selection game, training session and test match into visualized performance data so selectors and coaches have an intimate profile of every players patterns and performances.

“Think of any possible insight you want on a player and Katelyn can code it. Which phases certain players join the play in. Where the goal assists launch from. Where in the court our penalties amass. Where bad passes start and where they were intended to find the missing connections. I ask the questions and Katelyn uses visualized data to show me the patterns for a player, combo or whole team both for us and our opponents.” Stewart said.

Jones joined the HP program in 2022 as the Kelpies were integrated alongside Diamonds tours. Jones coded the majority of matches for the Mens Opens Division at this years National Champs, building a profile on every player that would help Stewart and her selectors use data alongside observation to make final squad decisions.

“We certainly don’t let data drive the decisions, but it’s proven to help us guide our thinking. Nothing replaces that human element of observing a player and their impact that statistics just can’t keep count of. But it sure does keep our line-ball decisions honest as the data doesn’t lie.” Stewart said.

Keep your eyes on the sideline as the Kelpies brains trust is put to work this October when the Aussies compete against NZ in a three test series. Details in our bio.



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