For many teams in many sports, it’s pre-season time again. Coaches are realizing the despite all their pleading and warnings, their players are not at fit as they should be.
While fitness is certainly a major factor in how a team performs, there is a school of thought that freshness is more important to performance.
“You see this a lot in professional sports,” says Darcy Norman, a DRIVN consultant who has worked as director of performance for Germany’s Football Federation and Italy’s AS Roma. “A team has a poor performance and they look bad. The fans and the media will start saying they aren’t fit. Well it’s the middle of the season and you know they are fit, so that’s not the problem. The problem might be that they are not fresh. They might be a little over-trained.”
Norman recommends using data to measure players’ fitness during pre-season so you can use it later in the year. Getting a baseline, he says, is important.
“A simple test is to have the players run four laps around a track before the season.,” he says. “You get a range, and you can do the test throughout the season, maybe once a month. Compare players at different points in the season.
“If you are three months into a season, and a guy runs a time and it’s terrible compared to other points in the year, you have to ask yourself why his time is bad. Is he not motivated?” adds Norman. “Certainly, he is fit. He’s three months into the season and he is training every day. Is it bad because he’s not fresh.”
“Data helps you control the narrative a lot better instead of a pre-conceived notion of what people think is happening.”
With DRIVN, all the information entered is stored for later use. Charts can be generated by team or individual that gives coaches a historical record, and they can refer to a point in time when a player or team was playing well.
“Everything is measurable,” says Norman. “You just have to decide what you want to measure, what it’s going to tell you. Sometimes you start measuring and you get information different from what you thought you’d get.
“DRIVN makes it super-efficient and easy,” adds Norman. “Then with the more data you collect, the better choices you can make. You get more insight into the total picture. Once you get one piece of data, then you are using other pieces of data against that data to help you differentially diagnose what the limitation is, so you can address it.”