In today’s world of high performance sport we have the potential to bury ourselves in numbers. There is not much we can’t analyze, measure or monitor. In many ways this is a positive step forward and it some ways it can be negative. The key is keeping the numbers in context. If you are letting the numbers dictate everything you do and don’t do then it is time to reconsider. This is where I weigh in on the human element in coaching. We coach people who do the sport not machines, there is a huge about of individual variability to the same training and competition stress not to mention the emotional and psychological factors that weigh in. Talk to your athletes; closely observe their body language when they come to training and during warm-up. Find out about the rest of their lives, remember they are athletes only two to four hours a day the other hours of the day can and do have more of an impact than the training – the twenty four hour athlete. In short sharpen your observation and communication skills. It will add a dimension to the numbers, sometimes it will validate the numbers and other times it will dictate throwing out the numbers and following your coaching instincts. I cannot help but think how we did it before we had the ability to gather the numbers we have today. After all in high performance sport the only number that counts at the end of the competition are those numbers on the scoreboard.
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