Numbers – The Search for Meaning


In the rush toward big data and gathering numbers I see the real challenge as making the numbers meaningful. Certainly technology enables us to gather numbers on almost any parameter we want to measure. We are now able to measure and quantify parameters that I dreamed about measuring 46 years when I started coaching. Certainly this affords great potential to enhance performance. The downside is when we can get so caught up the numbers that we look at them in isolation and not see the forest for the trees. Numbers are one-dimensional and performance is three-dimensional. That is one aspect, the other is that it is too easy to look at a number that represents an isolated variable like HRV and not relate it other measures or put it in context of life in general. In a recent post Seth Godin put it quite succinctly: “We need to spend more time figuring out what to keep track of, and less time actually obsessing over the numbers that we are already measuring.” So take a step back and look at not just what is measurable but what is meaningful to you and the athletes you coach.


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