This is part two of a three-part blog series looking at how PwC and British Athletics are working together to inspire performance through data insights. Here we look at how coaches are using the data insights provided by PwC’s data intelligence team to enhance their own winning intuition and improve athletes’ performance.
When a professional athlete competes, what do we see? Usually an individual with extraordinary talent. What we don’t always see is the coach analysing the athlete’s every movement, to ascertain where minor improvements could yet prove the difference between silver and gold. Nor do we see the hours that coach and athlete have spent working on achieving previous improvements.
In the past, those coaches will have used their own observations and information from stopwatches and tape measures to identify and qualify improvements. But increasingly they are able to access richer, more in-depth data sets and analytics to add powerful insights to world class intuition.
British Athletics is working with PwC’s data intelligence team to collect data from across its performance operation, bringing all the information together in a single platform that will help coaches and athletes plan, train and perform more effectively.
Photograph accredited to Ernest Simons
Paula Dunn, British Athletics' Paralympics Head Coach, said the organisation had previously struggled to bring the athletes’ training and performance data together into a useable format for coaches.
“If we can have all of that information in one place, we can give it to the coach and athlete as quickly as possible so they can start implementing that in their training – then we should be able to get them to reach their potential sooner rather than later.”
For all the value data intelligence can add, it remains the responsibility of the coach and athlete to ensure those lessons are learned, understood and built upon. Barry Fudge, a coach for British Athletics, compares training programmes to science and evolution and acknowledges the ability of data to help identify areas for improvement and quickly record how athletes are responding.
“When you have an athlete and you coach them, you’re looking for a response. I think one of the things that data can do for coaches and athletes is it speeds up the evolutionary process. It gets them where they need to be a bit quicker.”
At PwC, we understand the transformative power of combining data intelligence with human insights and understanding to inspire performance.
We also recognise no British Athletics athlete walks, runs, throws or pushes alone; behind every athlete is a team supporting them as they strive to achieve their ambitions. While coaches will always hold the relationships with the athletes and the ability to help those athletes improve the way they train and compete we are proud to be partnering with British Athletics to provide insights and data intelligence that will help those coaches and athletes win more medals in more events.