Analysis program contributes to Olympic victory

Laura Ludwig (l.) and Kira Walkenhorst won the Olympic beachvolleyball contest.

Laura Ludwig (l.) and Kira Walkenhorst won the Olympic beachvolleyball contest. (photo: FIVB)

Research news

Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst became the first European women’s team to win the gold medal for beach volleyball at the Olympic Games in Rio. The Technical University of Munich (TUM) also had a part in the commanding 2:0 victory over the Brazilian duo Agatha/Barbara: The analysis methodology and the ‘BeachViewer’ software for match analysis were conceptualized and developed at the Chair for Training Science and Sport Informatics.

As in many other team sports, match analysis is becoming increasingly important in beach volleyball. ‘BeachViewer’ helps collect data, find connections, and present them to the coach and the players in optimal fashion. ’Just as with match analysis for soccer, which is also one of our research focuses, it’s about recognizing tactical structures within large data sets’, said Prof. Martin Lames , who holds the chair for Training Science and Sport Informatics at TUM.

‘A typical question that we can answer is whether a certain defense starting position has an effect on the direction the block will take. The players can take this into account and increase the chances of success for their plays’, added Dr. Daniel Link , who initiated the project seven years in collaboration with national coach Jörg Ahmann and supervises it at the Chair together with Sebastian Wenninger.

The TUM software was already in use when Brink/Reckermann won the Olympic beach volleyball contest in 2012. The German Federal Institute for Sport Science has provided consistent funding for the project since 2010. ‘The innovative methodology and software implementation is one of a kind in the world and secures us a competitive advantage over the other nations’, said Ahmann, who is responsible for the project at the German Volleyball Association (DVV).

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