Arsenal FC’s Top-Flight Phantom Footballers

DJI Phantoms are flying high in the Premier League. Arsenal Football Club is using the popular quadcopters to improve training at its illustrious Football Academy.

Arsenal FC logo

Mark Curtis, Assistant Football Analyst at the club, got in touch to tell us about the novel use he puts Phantom drones to at the famous football club’s training centre in Hertfordshire.

At Arsenal Football Club we use the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopters to capture training footage for the academy,” says Mark. “The Football Analysis department currently have a growing fleet of quadcopters and are always on the lookout for the newest technologies that will aid our processes. We began using the quadcopters last season after visiting an NFL (American Football) team who were already utilising them to film their playbooks.”

Playbooks are used in many sports, especially  American football, to document a team’s full range of tactics and pre-planned set pieces.

Arsenal's aerial attack plan.

Arsenal takes its defence plan into the air with drone shots over the training pitch.

“The main benefit of using the quadcopters is that we can capture pictures and footage from positions that would normally be near impossible for us to do in the training environment – such as directly above players and at higher angles.

“Another benefit of the  DJI Phantom Vision+2  is the flexibility it provides us as we can capture footage from various chosen locations at any point within a single session without any trouble – this is something that we could not do by using fixed camera solutions.

DJI Phantom at Arsenal FC

The Phantom hovering over an Arsenal training pitch.

“Yet another fantastic feature of the  DJI Phantom 2 Vision+ is that the footage is captured directly to the on-board SD card, allowing the coaching staff to analyse sessions immediately after they come in from the training field. This information can then be used as a coaching tool with the players or for the coaches themselves in individual sessions or group and unit meetings.

“We are always looking to upgrade our equipment to achieve the best results. The new Phantom 3 has a 4K HD camera but the biggest upgrade benefit for us will be when battery life is extended.”

The Phantom 3 Professional, which can shoot in 4K UHD and 1080p HD, has a recommended battery life of around 15 minutes. The Phantom 3 Advanced has the same battery life but only shoots in 1080p HD.

Ryan Huddart and DJI Phantom

One of the Arsenal FC Academy’s goalkeepers Ryan Huddart with one of the club’s DJI Phantoms.

Of course this great use of new technology in football can have a flip side. In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil the French team complained that a training session ahead of their opening match was interrupted by a drone hovering over the pitch. France manager Didier Deschamps said the aircraft was spotted above the team’s Brazilian base in Ribeirao Preto.

Was it a flying enthusiast or was it someone from another team who’d been told to do some flying spying?

 

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