Analytics: Supercharge Your Coaching Senses

   

iStock-873016826I remember playing this game as a kid where we’d all go around and say what superpower we’d want to have. I always had a hard time with this. Either the one I wanted had been “taken” or I didn’t know what to pick because I didn’t have any context. Shooting lasers from your eyes can be great in some circumstances, but not if you’re fighting giant spiders with mirrored armor. 

What is a superpower, anyway?

It’s the ability to do something useful that you shouldn’t be able to do. It lets you solve problems you otherwise couldn’t solve. We as humans have developed one major superpower: technology. We might not be able to teleport, or fly unaided, but as far as animals go we are pretty smart and can create tools that greatly enhance our natural abilities. 

As a coach, what do you wish you could do? Read minds? Be everywhere at once? See into the future? In some senses, we can help you do these things. TrainHeroic’s goal is to equip you with tools that make you a more powerful version of what you already are: a smart, modern coach who cares about being your very best for your athletes.

Every time you send programming to your athletes, it’s like pinging them with sonar. You’re bouncing something off of them, and the data that’s echoed back is a signal. There’s valuable info there. You just have to pay attention.

 

That’s where TrainHeroic’s Analytics comes in.

Having the data ‘TrainHeroic Analytics’ provides is like being given Super Hearing. It’s not that there’s something wrong with your natural hearing. It’s just limited. The range of frequencies humans can hear is about 20 - 20000 Hz. It’s not that frequencies outside this this don’t exist, it’s just that we just can’t perceive them. Having a stream of incoming RPE, volume, performance, and readiness data is like widening the spectrum of signals you can receive, instead of only listening for a few select sounds.


Analytics is different from traditional reporting in that it’s intended to be used much more often, as part of the training process. Reporting on lift progress over a 6 week block is useful, but progress is an output. The same goes for looking back on an athlete’s readiness. Could you have gotten a better output (outcome) if you had been able to manage the inputs better? What if you could actively manage your process over the six weeks, and adjust where necessary?

By listening to your data, you don’t have to wait for your athletes and program to fail. You can be proactive in fixing the problem because you caught it early. It’s not precognition, but it sure feels like it.

Going back to the sonar example, bats basically have a real-world superpower. They basically use sound to see in the dark, clicking and squeaking, and processing what’s reflected back at them. Critically, they don’t send out one or two pings and consider it good enough; they send out a stream of sounds that constantly update them on the state of their environment. Otherwise, they don’t really know where that bug is. They know where it was.

Using Analytics frequently is a lot like constantly sending out these “pings” to make sure you understand what’s going on. In the past, we’ve seen coaches report on how well athletes log and complete their training, but after the fact, when it’s far too late to do anything about it. In one sense, this could feed forward into the next cycle of programming, so it’s appropriate. In another, it’s telling you about what already happened, which doesn’t do much to help you get the best results for each athlete in every cycle of training.

 

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Sample Athlete Readiness Analytics View

 

In listening to the data, which is really just another way of listening to your athletes, you can build and run better programs. More importantly, you can build better relationships with your athletes. If there’s anything that’s universally true about training is that it’s a very human endeavor. Optimizing reps and sets has its place, but it’s just the icing on the cake of being able to attend to the needs of the people you are coaching. 


This really isn’t about reducing your athletes to data points. It’s very much the opposite, and we’d never claim to be able to boil your athletes down to a number. The greatest power you can gain from using data is enhanced empathy for your athletes. A downward trend in readiness scores tells you something, but it can’t tell you exactly what’s happening the athlete. It’s really just a sign that, of your dozens or hundreds of athletes, that’s the person you should make a point of checking in with.  

TrainHeroic’s purpose is simple: to empower coaches and athletes to Be their Best. We do that by helping you coach more athletes, better. We can’t clone you and let you be everywhere at once, but we can extend your reach. We can’t make you omniscient, but we can help you make your athletes think you know everything.


In case it wasn’t obvious: the smart use of data is something we firmly believe in. We don’t give you data for its own sake, but for the sake of helping you be more awesome.


With that in mind, we want to know what you think of our new Analytics tools. Do you love ‘em? Maybe you want to love ‘em, but feel they’re missing that extra something you need?

Our only real superpower is listening to you closely. Let us know what you think!

- Adam

About The Author

Adam Dawdy is a Product Manager at TrainHeroic. Before that, he coached in various settings, taught, and studied biomechanics and exercise physiology. Adam is a converted endurance athlete who enjoys the pursuit of strength.

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