Brazil is a soccer-mad country. As the host country of the upcoming 2014 World Cup, it is even more obsessed with the beautiful game. The love for the sport permeates Brazilian culture and has reached the labs of software engineers, who have created a virtual platform to replace the traditional tactic boards used by coaches to analyze and improve strategies for players.
Called TacticalPad, the software was developed by ClanSoft and has been used since 2010 by professional teams and amateur teams alike. But now it is entering Phase II, which will see it expanded to become a tool for the technical management of trainee teams of major clubs, which can number up to 400 players. The designers are also going to integrate the electronic pad into social networks so that technical staff who cannot be present during training sessions can have remote access to data about the entire squad.
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TacticalPad runs on Windows, Android and iOS and can be used to set up the tactical positioning of the team, as a kind of virtual board. It can customize all the elements, including uniform colors and names of players. It enables 3D visualization and can also record video images that can be analyzed from a tactical point of view.
“The software features simple video editing functions. After videoing game plots of their own or the opponent teams, the coach can, for example, choose free kick scenes to analyze positioning,” software engineer Pedro Henrique Borges de Almeida said. “The coach can make freehand notes on the video itself, highlighting the most important points of the move. He can also use a special projection mode whereby only the relevant content is shown in the projector,” he added.
The guiding principle behind the TacticalPad is ease of use. Along with his partners Danilo Lacerda and Fernando Loss, Almeida realized that coaches were resistant to available software due to their complex interfaces and incomplete functionality. They also realized that the use of the mouse and keyboard also made it impossible to use applications for pep talks. Besides, graphics were, in general, amateurish and unattractive.
Although the software has been used mostly by Brazilian clubs, it has also made its way into some clubs abroad, such as Sub-21 in Portugal and South Korea’s main team. It will soon be a standard instrument for all minor league teams affiliated with Brazil’s soccer governing body, Confederação Brasileira de Futebol (CBF).
It’s not only coaches who are using TacticalPad, though. Some well known Brazilian sports journalists have been resorting to it to make more insightful commentaries on matches.
Besides soccer, ClanSoft has created TacticalPad versions for basketball, handball and indoor soccer. The company is now looking to expand into the U.S. basketball market.
And on a final note, we realize that there is much disagreement floating around the internet at the moment regarding the use of the term "soccer" to refer to what is known in many parts of the world as "football" – we won't be drawn into this debate.