21 Sep From 4 hrs to 4 mins; Olympic team enhances race insights with support of Pace Insights
With some of the most successful sports teams under its wing, for Team GB, achieving that marginal gain is critical when competing at the highest level, particularly when success can be determined by less than half a second.
For one extremely successful Olympic team, rapidly understanding performance is essential to the development and analysis of their athletes.
The team uses state-of-the-art training techniques and practices in order to maximise and measure performance. Technology has continued to play a greater role in this, and in 2015 the sport team employed the services of sport engineering firm Pace Insights to help them develop a data analytics tool to better understand performance.
Previously the team used a very sophisticated but difficult to use data processing tool to generate unique race analytics and reports, in order to better understand their performance. Although these analytics were valuable to understanding how to improve, they took several hours to produce. For example, four or five detailed reports might take an analyst 4 hours to produce. Whilst not uncommon in Elite sports generally, this was limiting the team’s ability to use these insights during races and training, and restricting capacity for the analysts to research into new areas.
Selecting Pace Insights, the analytics and coaching staff wanted to use the expertise of CEO Samir Abid and his team to develop a more efficient and effective way of generating performance insight.
“working with the performance analysis staff, we looked to understand the overall goals for the team, and what insights would help them in understanding how to perform better. Next step was to build prototype tools to trial ideas, before producing a final software package which gave the team the tools to better understand athletes performance with a few clicks.”
Designed to give the coaching staff the information they value in an intuitive way, the tool is designed to support the team in increasing their training capability, focusing on how programmes, race strategy, equipment configuration, team selection, talent identification and performance monitoring can all be quickly and easily improved.
The senior performance analyst at the Olympic team commented:
“working with Pace Insights has significantly improved our analytics capability, enabling us to gain fuller understanding and ultimately make the most of the talent available to us. At a world-class level, what makes our team go quicker is not straightforward, so having all relevant information at our fingertips as quickly as possible is essential.”
The new tool has meant that race analytics and report generation that did used to require several hours work by several analysts, and required lots of manual intervention, is now fully automated.
What previously took 4 hours, now only seconds to produce outputs that have more value and more precision.
Furthermore, the performance analysis team can now, for the first time, also batch process their reports, including their training data, which by nature is less ‘clean’ and traditionally more difficult to handle.
In the past, during events the analytics team would have to pick and choose which race data to process, limiting potential insight. With Pace Insights’ support, they can process all data as it is being generated, providing a new capability for the team on event days, where having data to hand will give them a competitive advantage through unique insight within their main competition environment.
Next steps for the team are to examine some further experimental metrics and develop a robust methodology for evaluating their insights to training and performance, in order to maximise competitiveness on the international stage.
* Note: Commercial relationships with sponsors restrict our ability to publicly name the team behind this case study. They’re not unfamiliar with wet environments though. For more information on what Pace Insights can do for your team, just drop us a line.