We had the chance to catch up with BSc (Hons) Mathematics student Mark ayres, about his work placement at Liverpool Football Club!
The experience has been unbelievable
Working at Liverpool has been amazing, if I was offered a place at Liverpool with a respectable wage, I couldn’t say no. Working in the football environment is different to that of an office job, due to the amount of days in the week we have to work and when holiday can be permitted. I am still open to options, but the experience has been unbelievable.
My role at Liverpool Football Club is data science
This is in the sports science department on fitness and conditioning for the first team. My role is data science and I create graphs using Excel for the coaches on the players’ performance in training and matches based upon their GPS pods that they wear in a bib vest. I maintain an Excel file which is like a database where they can select a player and all the relevant information for that player then appears. I do some statistical testing on their performance such as their distance with possession and out of possession, and feedback their scores for subjectives that they fill out every morning which is based upon their sleep. I colour coordinate based on their normal distribution and highlight any concerns of their scores.
Apart from the statistics and using the computer, I work with three fitness coaches at Liverpool FC’s Melwood training ground and help them with Excel and statistics. I also help prepare for training or rehab whether its preparing the GPS, making protein shakes, helping with rehab sessions, filming a player for coaches to look back on or setting up.
Skills that I use from my degree
My main skills that I use from my degree are the use of Excel and statistical knowledge such as t-tests, F-tests, normal distribution and ANOVA. Excel is used a lot, and having a mathematics background has helped me construct and order the file to have relevant data appear and help create complex formulae. for example creating a formula of 7 days times by 4 divided by 28 days, where each day is an if statement, embedded with an “=iserror”, where the false and true is a vlookup. Having mathematical knowledge has helped me use the right statistical tests, and use the right graphs to present the data so that the coaches who don’t have a strong mathematical background will understand.
My personal highlight so far has been working with my favourite football team and meeting the players on a daily basis
The department I’m working in is a very supportive and fun group of people. The club has a very family atmosphere where you can talk to anyone, and the food at the Melwood training ground is amazing.
A challenging aspect is to understand what the coaches are wanting to look at. They have so many ideas but its knowing what they want in particular and constructing this. If I had problems with this, there are people in the scout department who do statistics and analysis for the club who I can talk to and ask for help as they had been working with the coaches like this for many years.
The placement has taught me how to handle large databases
I’m also able to construct and show relevant data from a conversation or meeting, when the person asking is not sure what they want but know what information they’d like. It has also helped me use my skills and apply them to actual events and see them take place at the club, whereas in the classroom it’s only performed there and we never see it used outside.
How I got this placement
To get this placement I searched online for job roles in June as everything I was applying for got to an interview but I was told no or heard nothing back. Liverpool was online and was the first year of placements, so I applied but never heard back until August where I had an interview and 4 hours after the interview I was given the role. I received support from EC Futures with my CV, covering letter and applications in the process. I felt the support was useful as I am not that strong with writing (which is why I’m doing a mathematics degree!) and I felt the CV gave me a strong position in this role I had landed. EC futures does keep posting roles which I felt were very helpful, especially when you’re unsure of what to apply to, but some roles such as this do manage to escape their radar.
The placement gives you an idea of what work life as a graduate can be like
I felt the placement was a very good experience. It gives you an idea of what work life as a graduate can be like, compared to a part time job at a supermarket. It helps bring your work to real life scenarios and you are able to see them take place. If you know what career you want to work in, a placement shows you what you need from your degree to get that position and will allow you to pick options for your third year to be on track with that career. I know from my placement that things such as physics based options will not be as useful to me, but more statistics options will be. This has also helped me pick my Add+vantage module (Excel) to have a certificate to show what I am good at rather than just saying that I am. This placement has also allowed me to use Liverpool’s data (non-disclosed) for my dissertation.