• Sportable holds a unique data set of Rugby kicking skill metrics
  • Kicking performance metrics matter for on-field outcomes
  • Sportable’s system can readily measure these skills in training as well as matches
  • Teams can profile and track players skills against world leading elite benchmarks
  • Players and coaches can benefit from "knowledge of result" live feedback
Sportable’s International Rugby Data Set

Sportable has been supporting Men's and Women's Six Nations tournaments, alongside other northern hemisphere international matches for the last 2 years. This means we have amassed a data set of kicking skills, likely to be the deepest in the world of international players.

To illustrate this, but keeping performances anonymous, here is some indicative Box Kicking data from all players and all kicks involved in a representative sample of Six Nations Men's Matches:

From this basic analysis, it looks like hang time and distance matter, if the tactical objective of the box kick is to give the team a chance to retain possession. A further dive into our data supports this: From the same sample of Box Kicks from Men’s Six Nations matches (n=166) categorised by outcome, our data shows the greater proportion of retained or contested kicks are either over 4.0s hang time and/or under 25m in field distance. See the figure below.  

(Interestingly, there was little difference seen in ground reload time between contested and uncontested box kicks in this sample of matches. There was also no correlation between this and kick metrics, suggesting it is a separate skill. Further analysis of our complete data set could reveal the significance of ground reload times.)  

From kick offs and restarts, territory kicks, kicks to touch, and to box kicks, Sportable can now feedback skills data to teams in the context of multiple players in multiple matches, aggregating many kicks of all these types. The context provided by the breadth of data gives meaning, allowing teams to interpret their players performance relative to comparable international level players.  

International Players have Different Kick Performance Metrics

The above example suggests kick performance metrics influence in-game outcomes, which is important to establish. The next question to explore is whether an elite group of international players display differences in kicking skill performance levels? 

Keeping things anonymous again, and focussing only on players with 10 or more box kicks recorded in the sample of international matches, our data shows the following:  

  • There was a 0.6s difference in average HangTime between the shortest and longest duration box kicking players.
  • The range was 3.6s to 4.2s.  This means - given the typical variation of 0.6s - the players at the low end will be much less likely to hit the 4.0s benchmark, compared to the high end who makes it most of his attempts.  
  • There was a 10m difference in average Field Distance between the shortest and longest box kickers. The range is 25m to 35m,meaning for some the 25m benchmark is rarely attempted or achieved.  Either way, teams now have a means to evaluate.

More analysis is required from our growing data sets of all men’s and women’s matches, but the above shows how objective differences can be measured between international players on kicking metrics, such as Box Kick hang time and distance. This gives players and teams understanding of how the ‘super-elite’ at specific skills perform, and what the rest of the ‘elite’ can do to improve.

Elite Norm Data Delivers Value to the Training Ground

As the above shows and coaches already know, kicking performance metrics matter. To ensure they prepare their kickers well the teams have been using Sportable in training sessions between matches during the 2024 Six Nations.

This is where the value of the elite data set Sportable has collated begins to come into fruition, for two reasons: Firstly, we can now make a performance connection to the metrics coaches should be focusing upon to best improve the chances of winning, such as Box Kick hang time in the above example. Secondly, we can answer the key question that players always ask when they are measured by technology,which is, 'How good are my numbers?'

Teams who conduct regular training session analyses can build individual player kicking profiles, that identify strengths and weaknesses. They can then use these profiles to set targets against match performance KPIs and track the progress of players against these. For an elite player, regular access to this data in training can help keep them in their sweet spot. For the junior player, or player who has a 'work on', they can monitor progression and challenge themselves to hit the required level. Finally, every player always benefits from knowing their personal baseline metrics to guide their progression back from injury.

Real Time Feedback is Valuable for Skill Development

Teams can also use the system to enhance skill development. Sportable's system processes data in real-time. Continuing with Box Kicking as the example, players and coaches can see live on screen, the exact hangtimes and distances of their kicks, and they can utilise the ‘Targets’ feature measuring how far away they are from hitting the desired distance. 

The benefit is down to a mechanism known in coaching science circles as the 'knowledge of result'. Simply, the brain learns physical skills by comparing what happened (the result) with their movement intention. In this case, how far and how high they want to box kick, where the player will have a visual target and ball flight in mind. The player has result information from seeing the flight of the ball, and feeling and hearing the quality of the contact with their foot. However, they cannot know in a training context - without the external information - the small differences in hang time and distance that may make the difference between a successful and unsuccessful execution. The other benefit is that this outcome feedback often raises player engagement and/or competitive intensity. This is why adding technology makes a material difference to the quality and effectiveness of skills practice, because it enhances the knowledge of result feedback loop to, and levels of attention in the player’s brain. When this additional and relevant information is presented immediately, it can strengthen the players’ learning.


To make an impact for performance, the addition of data needs to be relevant and specific.To be actionable by coaches and players, it needs to have context. By building an elite data set of Rugby kicking metrics, Sportable can provide teams with skill metrics directly linking to on-field performance, and provide feedback in comparison to a sample of the world's leading players. 

The same principles can apply to Quarterback passing and Special Team kicking in American Football and Set Piece ball striking and distribution skills in Football (Soccer). We are actively starting to build elite data sets in these sports too, as we begin to work with teams. 

In sum, if teams objectively know what good is for specific skills and the differences that matter in game, then you can set targets for players to individually improve,maintain their impact or get back into the team post injury. If you provide players with live information to enhance their learning, you can enhance that skill development further.

Example Kicking Session Summary versus Target