Coaching and Gamification


With Bounty Pools in the NFL, it seems gamification is going to be a digital issue to deal with with teams and sports. Unfortunately social media is causing a lot of bad disruptions to coaching and training but it is creating a God’s eye of constant information feeds. It was interesting to hear at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference about ZQ scores being competitive for Athlete’s Performance as sleep scores were being quantified and compared. Invited speaker Mark Verstegen was open about people verbally sharing their scores it became clear to me that the next iteration coaches will know everyone’s sleep scores as the smartphones will feed into a coaches Dashboard. Instead of asking how sleep was, the coach will already know and will remind athletes you can’t fly with the eagles during the day if you run with the turkeys at night.

Instead of asking for honest numbers, teams will get a number provided the band is sharing exact GPS coordinates. Years ago one athlete was doing home sleep/HRV recording and had his friend doing the readings while we went out and partied. Later that season the fitness coach was fired because the numbers didn’t add up. Similar to athletes drinking heavily before taking baseline concussion tests to prepare for early returns, the information age is not perfect with data collection. The cat and mouse game will always continue.

A big privacy issue is emerging with assessments, such as DNA profiling of athletes happening now. Who’s information is it? Jeff Green from the Celtics had a heart condition but did you need a DNA test to confirm that? Did he have a .001 chance of it? Did Zephyr have a cloud platform for the Thunder that looked for strange cardiac responses to protect player health while Jeff was in Oklahoma? Would Perk still be in Boston if the GM knew of the issue?

What about performance box scores? ESPN plans to do more and more acquisition of what is going on with athletes and I predict more performance metrics entering the box score as video improves. The real question is how can athletes keep all this information in the brain and instinctual? Not everyone is going to be like Shane Battier and be able to gobble up metrics like pac-man. Will athletes need regeneration techniques for the Brain? Will we need a mind massage and data deactivation warm-down? With the Mind and Video phase of sports doubling market size each year do we now have the ability to see what are best practices?

Any time new technology or training methods arise I always ask how well did we do with the earlier style or equipment? With experts focusing more and more on microscopic or nanoscopic aspects of training does it matter that we do stem cells in Europe when fish oils are not even being consumed with the average athlete? For example the company MC10 is going to cause a major disruption only if the information is harnessed properly. Displaying hydration status is only good if data is used and water breaks are 15 minute intervals instead of at the midpoint break. I still see professional athletes without a water bottle and they are so pampered that many don’t drink unless a trainer is squiring the water in their mouth for them.

When teams are using pressure mapping on their platforms and teaching interns biomechanics of the olympic lifts better instead of making them oil and wax the wood so the logo is looking great for STACKED videos I will be pleased. Technology is great and nobody loves gizmos more than me but we must reflect back on what we have failed to do with technology years ago before jumping into better stuff we see.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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