Inside the Toolbox: Sparta Praha

Twenty3 and Sparta Praha have enjoyed a fruitful partnership since July 2022.

The storied Czech side added the Analytics Toolbox to their arsenal ahead of a successful season in which they claimed a record 37th top-flight title.

With the help of Sparta’s head of analysis Stephen Foyston, we found out how the club have been using the Toolbox – and what kind of impact it has had at the epet ARENA.

Pushing the boundaries of innovation

Stephen outlined how Sparta Praha’s commitment to breaking new ground with their data analysis led them to search for a partner in the industry who could help them channel that innovation.

He said: “At Sparta we always try to push the boundaries of innovation, none more so than with the use of data. 

“When I arrived in 2022 as head of analysis, we had many exciting projects we wanted to develop or build on. One of the specific areas we wanted to expand on was how we analysed our performances both in a technical and tactical way.

“It was important that we chose a partner who had the expertise, experience and credibility in the football industry that not only listened to us but had a voice too. 

“We found the right partner with Twenty3 and after almost two seasons of collaboration we have complete trust in their handling of what is a complex data architecture, but moreover, their attention to customer service was impeccable, something we greatly appreciated.”

Reaping the rewards from reports

The importance that Sparta Praha place on data is plain to see through their use of the Toolbox’s Smart Reports and Power Reports.

Four bespoke Power Reports have been built for the club which combine data from multiple sources and have subsequently been refined to their requirements and specifications – customising aspects such as metrics, visualisations and competition coverage.

Stephen explained that Sparta Praha utilise these for both performance analysis and recruitment, making sure to keep an eye on not only first team players, but those out on loan as well – further evidence of their innovative, club-wide use of data.

He said: “Together with the support from Sparta’s sporting director Tomas Rosicky, the coaching style and, in particular, our head coach Brian Priske, we gradually developed KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to help accurately measure our team and player performances.

“However, we didn’t just want to find out how we performed, but also our opponents and opposition players. 

“Therefore, we were presented with the challenge of working with big data to create expansive insights across the entire league. 

“We had the data, we had the imagination and we had a clear vision of what we wanted to measure – and it was time we found the right partner who could help us create it.

“With access to numerous data providers collecting data across league, cup and European competitions, we can now rely on a secure and efficient data pipeline that allows us to compute fully bespoke PDF reports on different aspects of our performance with ease.

“We have now expanded our use of the Toolbox and Power Reports to our B team, loan players and parts of our recruitment.”

Impact of the Toolbox

Sparta Praha’s focus on forensically analysing their playing style, upcoming opponents and potential new additions has clearly paid off.

Stephen was glowing in his praise of the Toolbox’s impact when it comes to aiding the club’s processes – particularly the loan and recruitment reports.

“The loan player reports were really well received from everyone,” he said. 

“I also merged some pages from the recruitment report and they were blown away with them. They were very impressed.“

Sparta Prague claimed a record-extending 37th league title in 2022-23

The reports used by Sparta Praha display data using a variety of timelines, tables and visualisations, such as shot maps, radars, charts and pitch viz. 

Those graphics house a whole range of content, including match, team and player metrics – many of which fall outside the mainstream, and are all cherry-picked by the club for their specific, innovative purposes.

Beyond the raw totals, reports also show season, league or position-specific averages, and can even be adjusted to reflect the strength of the division in which they were recorded.

Sparta Praha’s involvement in European competition, alongside their domestic commitments, results in a vast amount of data to process each week – particularly given the impressive depth of the club’s analysis.

Thankfully, the Toolbox’s ability to automate the production of the aforementioned, highly specified reports in around 10 minutes ensures their analysts have more time to spend doing what they do best – and Stephen underlined just how useful a resource that is for the club.

He said: “In addition to creating bespoke PDF reports (Power Reports), we have the flexibility of using Twenty3’s dynamic and flexible Toolbox for ad hoc analysis needs. 

“For example, creating visualisations on a player’s receptions and movement in possession. We can visualise and measure this over one or multiple games to help us better understand his habits. 

“This is possible in a matter of minutes using the vast array of options in the Toolbox. 

“It’s a very useful resource when we want to create something unique for the coaches or even the players themselves.”

For more information about working with Twenty3 and utilising our Toolbox, please get in touch below.