Josh undertakes placement with West Ham United's first team

Work experience to help Josh's future career

Josh Moye, a second year BSc (Hons) Performance Analysis and Coaching Science student, has experienced amazing opportunities on his degree. After completing a year placement with Derby County Academy supporting their school programme, he has gained further experience working at West Ham United's 1st team in the English Premier League. Read on to hear how Josh’s studies and applied (hands-on) work experience have benefitted him.

How has your experience with West Ham United been?

My experience has been really good. I’ve learnt a lot, gained some valuable connections, and enjoyed my time here. I’ve learnt how to use data analysis websites such as Second Spectrum, Wyscout, Stats Perform, and more. I’ve had some incredible experiences working at Europa and FA Cup games. Being around players and staff at this level has moulded me and my work to the best standards.

What does your role entail?

The main part of the role is focused around pre-match. I get all the line-ups from the opposition’s previous six or eight games. I go through every single one of their players and get 15 individual clips of how they play. They then get given to the analysts who upload them to iPads and go through them with the players before the games. I also film and code training via IP cameras (a type of camera that provides high quality images ideal for live analysis). An example of this surrounds in session heading information for the wider medical and sports science team which ties in with the FA heading focus within the game.  

What have you learnt on your degree that has helped you in your placement?

How to navigate Hudl efficiently, being able to understand how organisers work, how the matrix works and the smaller tips and tricks to make the most of the software within practice. I’ve had considerable time provided to put these skills into practise, whether that’s coding, code windows building and development or video capture. Everything we all use in the placement has started on the course.


Josh Moyes standing under the Road to Dublin sign in the football stadium.

Have any of your assessments helped give you any building blocks to support your placement year?

The presentation assessments have helped me develop the template and the building blocks of what a presentation is, what a pre-match looks like, what a post-match looks like, and just how to present information. Then being able to watch and be involved in presentations at West Ham United has given me insight into how I could take mine to the next level to generate an elite presentation.

When you come back in your final year how do you think you will approach those presentations differently?

Being able to see the difference in how a professional Premier League and European football club presents the plays, what information they give to the players, and how they give it to the players is really useful. I have learnt different ways of looking and interpreting data, how to utilise different data sources, or how to use different things in Hudl Studio to make it more visually appealing to get the point across better.

What's the main thing you have learnt on the in-year placement?

How to conduct myself, and how to actually talk and speak with coaches at that level properly. I have gained an understanding of how an elite level football club runs, whether it’s from pre-, live, or post-match, to what they do with the fitness side, the whole environment, and how it all comes together on a daily or weekly basis.

Have you found anything from the research methods module or reading journal articles useful for the applied work?

We’ve been asked to present at the end of the year about a sports science topic that links in with analysis. Thanks to the University’s modules, I’ve been able to understand how to research, how to get appropriate research papers, how to filter that through and make sure that I am getting the right information out of it, and interpret and understand what I am reading to make use of it. 

What's one or two big highlights that you will keep with you for the rest of your career?

I think the experience of being with the first team and being in that elite environment with million pound players. It’s the elite level coaches and being able to see how they operate day-to-day. Obviously, you see on TV how they speak to the press, but seeing how they work day-to-day and how they approach different problems and different tasks I think has been one of the major takeaways. I’ve been able to see how they conduct themselves, and being able to model myself on that from a personal and professional perspective is very important.

How does it make you feel when you do that work during the week and then you go and watch the game at the weekend knowing you have helped that team be successful?

It's really satisfying knowing you’ve put a lot of work into something and you see on the pitch that it has come off. You can't really explain it. An example of that was at our first home game against Chelsea. I did all the clips of the penalties, so I like to feel like I had some sort of contribution to that. And for the Europa League in the Cup games, I made a penalty chart in Keynote that I update every time. I give that to the coaches and they work with the goalkeepers to make sure that they know where the ball is likely to go or where the opponents have been going.

Josh Moyes working during a football match recording the game.

What is the nicest thing a coach has said to you?

They said that the work that I gave them was the same standard as a professional analyst at the club, even though I am on an internship. Being able to deliver at the same level was a really good thing.

What is the nicest thing the players have said to you?

They enjoy talking to me, but it’s more the way they act with me and the way that they interact with me and joke around with me. It’s nice because you know that they consider you as part of the team – it’s not just that you are in for the year as the outsider and then you’re out – they have warmed to you.

What advice would you give to the current second year students who might be considering an in-year placement in terms of the things they should be doing to best prepare?

Firstly, I would definitely recommend that they should do it because it’s just an invaluable experience that you are not going to get anywhere else. The connections and contacts that you will get will be proved worthwhile over time. 

But in terms of preparation, I would say do the Hudl Academy Level 1 and 2 courses as well as the scripting one. I would even say to make sure you are comfortable playing around with the software. Even if you code 5 minutes or something and click on the matrix and see what comes up and see how to navigate through things like that will be beneficial. I use Hudl Sportscode quite a lot, so being able to use that and get everything out that you need quickly. For example, I will be looking at a centre forward and I will be looking for hold up play and runs in behind - I have been able to go on those things and find those clips without taking 20 minutes, which just saves everyone time.

How are you feeling about your future career prospects now?

I believe the industrial placement year (IPY) has put me in a great position moving forward as I have made some invaluable relationships from the Welsh FA to the recruitment side of West Ham United. I have already been accepted into Nottingham Forest academy for next year which will help bolster my CV and skillset. However, this is very much due to my experiences here which have prepared me for all kinds of footballing environments. It’s just a continuation of plugging away, keeping doing what I am doing, pushing myself constantly, and getting that extra level of experience to achieve the success I’m after.

A camera recording a football game.