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

GAINcast Episode 133: Getting better feedback

Having a process to collect feedback is critical, but even more important is the type of feedback you get. If the process is not producing actionable steps to improve or reinforce what you did, it is not doing its job. On this week’s GAINcast we look at how coaches can improve debriefing and other feedback processes to get the information they are looking for to make them better coaches. 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

February 2018 in review: transfer of training

Another month, another theme. In February we gathered some different perspectives on transfer of training from elite coaches. We discussed how some commonly held ideas may not hold up, how coaches have found unique solutions to transfer, and what processes coaches use to refine training and identify transfer. Links to all of our resources from February are below, as well as some additional articles from our archives. When reading through all the content again, three main points on transfer emerged. 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

January 2018 in review: performance testing

For the fourth month in a row we’ve taken a deep dive into one topic and brought together different approaches and thoughts on the topic to help coaches reflect on it. In January, the topic was performance testing. Personally I learned a lot from different coaches, different sports, and different levels. We’ve looked in depth at specific testing programs, as well as taken a step back to learn testing philosophies. Links to all of the new resources are below, as well as links additional resources from our archives. When I reviewed everything again, three main points emerged. 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 51: The Debrief

Making your training more effective starts with learning from your past experiences, both good and bad. Understanding the value of debriefing and having a process in place is therefore essential. On this episode of the GAINcast, Vern explains some best practices for debriefing based on a career of experience. Read more