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As a player, David Perry graduated from the NSW Central Coast club of Wyong as an 18 year old in 1984 and played with Parramatta lower grades during some of the clubs glory years of 1985-1987, before returning to Wyong to play out his career, retiring as a player in 1995. In 1998 he turned to a coaching role of the lower grades at Wyong and the following 4 seasons saw his side reach the Grand Final each year, 4 grand finals and 1 premiership. After moving on from Wyong in 2002, he took on an assistant role at Erina Eagles and then later, an assistant role of the Central Coast Rip Harold Matthews Cup side in 2003.
David?s computer programming career began while still at school and progressed through his early playing years with assistance from contacts he gained while at Parramatta. Now almost 20 years on, David has been involved with various business applications and for the last 10 years as an independent computer consultant with Premier Concepts Pty Ltd, the company he setup in 1994.
Sports Performer was initially developed in the late 1990?s for personal use as a coaching tool through a desire to improve his own team?s performance. The application evolved over the years before featuring in an RLCM article in early 2003 and the interest generated from this article prompted Perry to redevelop the software in a more user-friendly environment.
Following the launch of the new Sports Performer at the Football Codes Expo at Sydney?s Olympic Park in June 2003, Perry made his way to England in November to coincide with the 2003 Kangaroo Tour. While it was a wonderful opportunity to see England and to see the Kangaroos play, it also included demonstrations to prominent members of the rugby league community at a number of coaching seminars. These included Wakefield?s coach Shane McNally, Jon Sharpe at Huddersfield, Peter Rowe at Barrow and Richard Agar at York. Since then it has been picked up by such coaches as Darren Abram at Leigh, Whitehaven?s Steve McCormack and new Castleford coach David Woods. While these coaches are using the software for their top division sides, clubs such as St.Helens and Warrington are using it to monitor and develop their youth squads.
The English Rugby Football League have also taken on the system for all their development staff who have it loaded and running on their laptops. Ex-international Lee Crooks heads one of these development teams. Another prominent user is John Cain, who Perry first met at York City Knights and who used the software on a recent tour of Australia by the English junior side. They returned home as the first English junior side to defeat Australia.
Back home in Australia, promotion of Sports Performer saw demonstrations at the Senior Club Coaching Course at Narrabeen Rugby League Academy and a short trip along Queensland?s coast visiting Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Cairns showing other interested coaches.
And the NRL clubs are beginning to embrace the applications functionality. Cronulla Sharks assistant Peter Gentle happily called Perry to organise a Sports Performer licence when he moved from his former club, Western Suburbs. And Sydney Roosters Premier League coach Ivan Cleary took his side to premiership success with the assistance of Sports Performer in 2004. He was quoted as saying before the Grand Final win that ?his side had definitely benefited from using the system?
The software uses computer video files of your game played on your computer to tag and store all occurrences of any pre-determined statistic in your game. It allows retrieval and playback of these snippets of video by game, player or statistic or any combination. No longer will coaches be restricted by not having access to footage of their performances as all clips are instantly accessible. Sports Performer allows the coach to build movie clips on the fly for use in a team meeting or for individual distribution to his players as feedback.
While the software is relatively new, the list of prominent clubs and coaches picking up the application is encouraging. A full list of current users can be found at www.sportsperformer.com.au/users.htm
Sports Performer is not only being used by coaches directly involved with a particular team. Christchurch College of Education uses the software as a teaching tool in their classrooms. Former NSW and St.George half-back Noel Goldthorpe has teamed up with colleagues in Townsville to provide a statistical analysis service to a number of local organisations. And there is also a similar service provided by individuals utilising Sports Performer in Melbourne.
Other schools using the software include 2003 Arrive Alive Cup Champions St.Dominics at Penrith and Queensland?s champion school EMMAUS College at Rockhampton
While Sports Performer is being prominently used by rugby league clubs, the application is totally user-definable meaning that any sport could utilise the application. Sports Performer is being used by a number of rugby union clubs both in Australia and England. These include historic Worcester in the UK and Sunnybank Rams in the Brisbane rugby competition. Head coach at Sunnybank recently utilised Sports Performer at the Dubai Sevens competition in his role as assistant coach of the Australian side. And Perry is confident that this number will grow when the message gets out to all interested parties.