How to improve sports organisations: 3 key observations

How to improve sports organisations: 3 key observations

Emerging from the world of motorsport into a wider sporting arena, the Pace Insights team has been able to make a number of critical observations around the way in which sport organisations operate.

We’ve observed that many already have the monitoring equipment, data and information required, but are still struggling to process it all and produce insights that can be developed and used in the field.

Visualising, comprehending and consuming data is not just a challenge to do, but can also be highly time consuming. Sports often employ data analysts to free coaches time to be focused on athletes. This is a practical solution but one that is costly and creates a disconnect between the coach and the data. The consequence can reduce the perceived value in the whole exercise.

In short: we feel sports can be extracting more from their data, delivering faster, better insights to support coaching.

Our approach differs from that of say an academically-led supplier in that we employ engineering principles instead. Taking an engineering approach can provide a number of inherent benefits to innovation, particularly in a space as fast moving as sport. Here are three areas an engineered approach to performance in sport can benefit your organisation:

Learning Culture

The engineer’s approach is inherently about creating a learning process; (re-)define the problem, conceptualise solutions, prototype, detail, launch, learn, repeat, improve. We accept you’re not going to go from blank sheet to refined solution in one (or even two!) goes.

This approach is one that is mirrored in sport. Coaches look for areas where they can make positive incremental differences to performance. An engineered approach brings more rigour to the process. We look at what we want to find out and then taking a test and learn approach to developing or building that insight.

Tool development

A major difference between sports and engineering-led organisations, such as a Formula 1 team, is that sports look to buy in solutions where as an F1 team will look to build their own. Of course if performance can be developed by just buying in say a data processing system it can seem easier. The one size fits all approach however isn’t right for most and doesn’t produce valuable outcomes. Every sport and every athlete is different. A test and learn approach to design and building bespoke prototypes and products adds significant context, presenting information in a much more impactful way.

Data management

Data is the key to understanding how an organisation, group or individual athlete is performing and how variables impact this. Our analytics-as-a-service proposition was developed to cater to the needs of sport coaches and performance managers – delivering actionable, on-demand insight as and when it is needed to deliver improvements at an organisational and individual level. The data is processed to deliver insights faster, with more precision and with a lower overhead traditional methods.

In short, taking a learning and design culture to data, builds internal capability in professional sport and should be seen as the future.

Pace Insights is a sport engineering consultancy. With 15 gold medal winning customers in Rio 2016, we work with high-performance sports to enhance their performance through better use of data and applied technology.

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