Posts

From big data to smart data

There is an arms race in today’s sporting environment. Teams, athletes, coaches and support staff aren’t just fighting for the best facilities and talent, they’re also seeing who can collect the most numbers. This is the era of big data, and the past decade has seen an unrivaled amount of information available in sports from a wide variety of methods, including the use of GPS systems, electronic timing gates, force platforms, blood testing, and general wellness questionnaires. The richness and vastness of information available, however, can also be seen as a curse; both teams and individuals can feel like they have to collect more and more data, in the hope that they can gain an edge over their competitors, and better enhance athletic performance. As with many things, we need to shift the focus on data from quantity to quality. Read more

The quest for prediction in coaching

Within sport, everyone is now looking at prediction. Coaches, athletes, and support staff are all searching for methods to predict various outcomes, such as injury, talent, performance, or training adaptation. The ability to successfully predict within these areas would obviously be hugely advantageous. Injury prediction could allow you to make interventions to stop that from happening. Talent prediction can allow teams to better focus resources. Predicting adaptations would allow coaches to design better training blocks or alter them based on the predicted response. In other words, prediction is the holy grail of sports science. Read more

Beyond the numbers

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. Read more

Getting the most out of data collection and usage

In the era of big data, testing and diagnostics has become a central part of testing. But often coaches are more focused on the data than the process. To start with, there are four questions four key questions that coaches must ask when it comes down to testing in training: Read more

GAINcast Episode 101: Test practices

Testing is a crucial part of training, even more so in the era of big data. On this episode of the GAINcast Vern walks through his approach to testing and shares his best practices. In the end testing is about getting an accurate picture of the athlete so you can determine the way forward. That’s easier said than done, and Vern has learned a few lessons throughout his career about how to making testing more specific, integrated, and motivational. Read more

Looking beyond the height: a guide to vertical jump testing

The vertical jump. The king of the combines that can make or break athletes contracts. Everyone is in awe of the height of the vertical jump. I remember as a kid, we would compete to see who could touch the highest up on the basketball net and then eventually the backboard. We jump so much that our bodies have figured out how to get the highest jump for ourselves. We want to be the king of the playground, or in my case, not the worst on the playground, so we developed this strategy about how to jump the highest. Read more

GAINcast Episode 96: The Arsenal Arrow (with Des Ryan)

If you want pressure to perform, try working in professional soccer in England. To make matters more complicated, try working with young players and balancing the need for short-term results and setting up long-term potential. That is the challenge Des Ryan confronts every day as Head of Sports Medicine & Athletic Development at the Arsenal Academy. On this episode of the GAINcast he explains the Arsenal approach to athletic development and high performance. Read more

Sports Biometric Data – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Last week I attended the second annual Sports Biometrics conference in San Francisco, it was a good conference with very good information and challenging ideas. I also attended in 2016. Last year my general impression from the presentations and my interaction with the attendees was that data was king, it seemed that everyone was enamored by what could be measured and how. It was as if there was to measure everything that could be measured and then some. Read more