Please tell us about yourself
Aadhithya Chakravarthy graduated with an MSc in Sports Biomechanics in 2011. Beginning a part of his career at Loughborough University following his studies, and moving back to India to work on Performance Analysis with teams there, Aadhithya details his journey from being a postgraduate to working with some of the best hockey players in India.
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Why did you choose to study for a Master’s degree in an offbeat, unconventional and uncommon career such as Sports Biomechanics?
I did my undergraduate degree in Bio-medical Engineering in India at Sathyabama University, and wanted to pursue a postgraduate degree. I was very passionate about sports since my school days, and wanted to be associated in the field in the long run. I went through the brochures of a number of universities in the UK. A bit of research told me that an MSc in Sports Biomechanics was offered at Loughborough University. Having studied a few modules of Biomechanics during my undergraduate degree, my inclination was towards applying it in the sports field. With Loughborough being one of the front runners in sports research, I had no doubts in choosing Loughborough.
How did Loughborough University inspire you?
Fantastic university. Overloaded with sports. Being at Loughborough, you just can’t miss sports. I was playing cricket for one of the clubs in Loughborough, made some contacts, and got my first voluntary work opportunity with Loughborough Student’s Union Men’s Hockey Club (LSUMHC). Loughborough University in itself is an inspiration, as you meet a lot of international athletes and sports professionals here, who are a big motivation and a guidance.
What advice would you give to yourself if you could go back in time before you came to Loughborough?
Don’t change the script and do it all over again.
How did your roles at Loughborough as an Intern and a Performance Analyst assist you in furthering your career following graduation?
It was the launch pad for me to launch myself into a career in Sports Performance Analysis. The then coaches, David Ralph and Jon Bleby, taught me the game and the skills involved in analysis. I used to travel to all the home and away matches, film and code them. In the week I would do individual player impact stats. I learnt all the nuances of analysis there. I worked with the club for two years, and the experience helped me to get to the next – an opportunity at England Hockey.
Can you tell us about working as a Performance Analyst for England Hockey? How did this work alongside analysing the Loughborough Students’ Hockey Team at the same time?
Again, LSUMHC played a vital role. During my second year at the club, England Hockey advertised a vacancy for the post of Performance Analyst for the Under 21 Men’s team. When I read the job description, I ticked all the boxes. Fairly confident, I applied for the role, and with good references from David and Jon (who were already part of the England Hockey set up), I was offered the role.
I was called up to assist England U-21 Men during their training camps and tournaments. For the rest of the time, I was working with LSUMHC. The club were aware of my commitments to England Hockey and were flexible whenever I had travel commitments with them.
How did it feel to be part of the World Championship India Junior Hockey Team win in December 2016?
I’m normally associated with the Hockey India Senior Men providing them with analysis support. As this was a high profile tournament, I was asked to assist the Junior team at the Junior World Cup. I have known the players for the past 3 years, and have been part of their development every now and then.
Going into the tournament, I was fairly confident about their performance, and knew what inputs might help them. I am happy that I could do my part in helping them win the championship.
What role does Sportsmechanics India Pvt Ltd. play in your career?
In 2013, when I came back to India, I started working for Sportsmechanics India Pvt Ltd. They have been pioneers in performance analysis in India. Through them I got my first assignment to work with Jaypee Punjab Warriors (Hockey India Legaue Team) in 2014. Since then, it has been an unforgettable journey with the company and Indian hockey team.
How does it feel to be working with some of the top players in India at Junior and Senior level?
The feeling is unreal. I have worked with the team for nearly three years now, and we are a family. You get to learn so much from the top athletes. I have worked with them at all the major Hockey tournaments. I have my own collection of Gold, Silver and Bronze medals now. But what keeps me going is the joy and satisfaction I see on their faces when they stand on the podium with their glittering medals. There is no greater feeling than satisfaction.
What does your day-to-day role involve and how have your studies helped with this?
After my graduation, I decided to have a career in Sports Performance Analysis, which is different to Sports Biomechanics. It’s the soft skills that I learnt during my course and work period at Loughborough and England Hockey that has laid a platform for me to build a career.
I am responsible for pre-match, live match and post-match analysis. Pre-match analysis involves opposition scouting and SWOT analysis. Live match analysis requires me to send live set piece video information and statistical information to the bench. This helps the coach to decide if any tactical changes have to be made. Post-match analysis involves more databasing and individual player performance impact analysis. The data collection along with the videos is done over a period of time and is used to find any trends and patterns.
How have your experiences as a Performance Analyst developed in working for different teams and across different sports? Is there a highlight of your career so far?
Learning is a never ending process and you learn new things every day. Working for different teams provides you an opportunity to work with different coaches, playing styles, and types of players. It is important to study the needs of the team, individual players and coaching staff. When I was at Loughborough, I was still very new to the world of analysis. Over time I have gained experience, and have been involved in a bit of coaching. My analysis ability has also improved and I strive to be one of the top analysts in the world.
I am only 28 – very young! There are still a lot of things I’d like to achieve, but so far there have been a number of highlights in my career:
- Junior World Cup Championship 2016: Gold
- Asian Champions Trophy, Malaysia 2016: Gold
- Asian Games, South Korea 2016: Gold
- Hockey Champions Trophy, England 2016: Silver
But one of the best was standing in front of a huge crowd in the stadium and singing the National Anthem loud at the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Though it eluded a medal for the team, it was one of my dreams come true to represent the nation at the Olympic Games.
What ambitions do you have for the future?
The awareness of performance analysis in India isn’t big. I would like to grow this field and make people believe that you can make a career out of it. I would like to grow Indian sports with the help of performance analysis.
I would also like to start a company of my own, where I could support youngsters with an interest in this field.