Improving performance. Lessons from US sport


Following on from our discussion yesterday about adopting one or two of the techniques the enormously successful GB Olympic cycling team there are other areas where a technical advantage can be sought.

Football is awash with metrics these days.  Clubs know things about their players they never even wondered about 10 years ago, leading to more informed decisions.  It is probably no exaggeration to suggest that a club like Celtic will have some information on thousands of players.  At the top level, much of this information will be fresh in the minds of coaches and scouts, and will easily be recorded on a database, but scouting permeates through youth football.  Acquiring and assimilating information on the many hundreds of players on view each month is an information challenge.

The US sports were early to get on top of this problem.  SportsBoard is a iPad-based data capture and management app which enables coaches and scouts to record information on players (their own players and others) as they watch the game.  Data is uploaded from the iPad to a cloud-based database.  Information and comment on each player or opposing team can then easily be analysed.

The alternative would be to scour through unstructured notes without any way of controlling the up-flow of information.

The app has also been used to provide instant metrics to first team squads.  Players can get home from training, login and see how their performance was rated that day, allowing them to adjust their own target for the next session.  I spoke to the designer, Gregg Jacobs, who has received a ton of media coverage in the US over the last two years.  He told me this was about providing “more meaningful feedback”.   Take a look at the Assessment and Contact Management features, which has screenshots of the ‘soccer’ app.

So this week we’ve covered orthopaedic pillows on tour and leg heaters from the GB cycling team, as well as a scouting management and instant metrics system from US sports, all low-cost and designed to reduce risk and improve performance.

Should we do it?
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  1. voguepunter .



    She was a character . She seemed to have a thing about women with glasses , men with beards and men in suits . Not an aggressive thing but a real enthusiastic lets play [ and I’m incredibly strong ] thing .



    She loved tripe

  2. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on

    “So this week we’ve covered orthopaedic pillows on tour and leg heaters from the GB cycling team, as well as a scouting management and instant metrics system from US sports, all low-cost and designed to reduce risk and improve performance.”



    And it’s only monday

  3. Tt



    You shoulda posted that last post as first post on this article



    Just as well your a good businessman cos your a rubbish podium chaser and yer wee maw would be embarrassed for you ;)

  4. South Of Tunis



    She loved tripe




    Did you feed her the Scottish papers? :o)

  5. from previous thread-




    12:02 on


    21 January, 2013


    Hooper…..i see folk are still reading the rags and listening to phone ins…..


    Our manager has brought the topic to the table,so it’s worth a debate IMO.As if us discussing such subjects on a blog ,will make an iota of difference one way or another.HH

  6. Silver City 1888 on

    Wasn’t the Team GB philosophy obtain a large improvement by an accumulation of many small improvements? They even went as far as having a very detailed hand washing routine for the athletes which would reduce the chance of getting a cold or GI. And you thought heated trousers were silly but if a athlete gets one less cold a year then they will have more time in training.

  7. Joe Filippis Haircut on

    TinyTim . I heard a story once that at the time you are talking about just before Christmas the Chairman of General Accident asked his son what he wanted for Christmas ? his son said a cowboy outfit so he went out and bought him Stuart Wyse Ogilvie.I dont know if its a true story but then again I suppose every story has a grain of truth. H.H.


    I see “F.C Lance Armstrong” needed (yet another) man sent off yesterday to get a dodgy 3 points.



    Plus ca change!

  9. South Of Tunis on

    voguepunter .



    No . That would have meant buying them..



    She liked chewing things ——- she once chewed a length of Linn speaker cable and only stopped when the splinters of copper wire began to hurt her mouth /tongue . Cue expensive medical treatment . She was very fond of chewing the woman from Padova’s footwear and seemed to have the knack of always choosing the most expensive pair..



    Her real specialty was picking fights with Rotweillers , especially Rottweillers attached to the interesting guys who spent their days and nights selling narcotics on a Ladbroke Grove street .



    I currently share space with a Pit Bull ——– truly terrified by thunder/ lightning . . Howls like a baby and does projectile vomiting.

  10. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    I’ve changed to Tinkerbell FC because I think it best reflects what is happening, Tinkerbell died but the audience could help bring her back to life if they blocked out all the negative reality by clapping and making as much noise as possible.

  11. joe filippis haircut



    13:09 on


    21 January, 2013


    TinyTim . I heard a story once that at the time you are talking about just before Christmas the Chairman of General Accident asked his son what he wanted for Christmas ? his son said a cowboy outfit so he went out and bought him Stuart Wyse Ogilvie.I dont know if its a true story but then again I suppose every story has a grain of truth. H.H.



    There was certainly a grain of truth in that when General Accident bought NZ based NZI back in the early nineties. They thought they were buying a successful insurance company only to discover they had bought a Bad Bank. Write down after write down of multiple bad debts put considerable egg on the faces of GA’s so-called “canny Scots”.

  12. Anything we can use to our advantage should be considered.



    Sports medicine, sports psychology, fitness training, goalkeeper coaches, dieticians and even yoga instructors. CFC seem to be well served in all these areas.



    I am also quite sure that Neil and the coaching staff will be aware of the strenghts and weaknesses of the entire Juventus first team squad, and will have instructed the players what to expect.




  13. Neil canamalar Lennon hunskelper extrordinaire on



    Have the MSM mentioned that it takes 5 years for an Associate Member to become a full member, I wonder how this will affect European qualification ?

  14. Reading a bit about the Bhoys and Ghirls on their trip to Kenya.


    I was thinking should we not be looking for a sponsor to consider naming rights for our stadium.Magners Stadium for example.A percentage of the money raised could be put aside for Celtic Charities,to carry on the good work by many of our supporters.Well done all the volunteers.HH.

  15. Bawsman






    Is the psychology aspect not addressed with the McGuinness chap added to the staff?






    I posted yesterday about Mc.Guinness’ comments re his role at Lennoxtown.



    It is to work with, primarily, the younger players in getting them to focus on what it taked to become a top professional sportsman.



    Assuming that they have the ability, then it is about attitude and, importantly, lifestyle choices.



    Those who don’t sign up to those principles won’t last.



    He summed up his role as, telling Neil Lennon which players he can trust.



    Incidentally, it is reported that Paul Mc.Ginley, a ong time friend of Mc.Guinness, is considering having him at Gleneagles to talk to his Ryder Cup team.

  16. I profess to loving the sport of cycling almost as much as Celtic. It has been my passion for many years and consumes my spare time and is also how I pay the bills. Science has a huge part to play in most sports with regards to training, recovery, equipment, diet and nutrition.


    Dave Brailsford approach to Team GB and Sky has been well documented – focus on making lots of small marginal gains that add up to a competitive advantage. But you also have to remember that Brailsford is doing this with athletes that he and his team consider to be world class (now or in the future). When identifying talented youngsters to invite into the British Cycling Academy (which has been the bedrock for all of the Olympic and World Championship victories over the past 10 years), he does so only if he believes you have the potential to win an Olympic medal. This is based on metrics – power/weight ratio, VO2 max (size of your engine), body type etc.


    Once in, if you don’t look like realising that potential you are dropped so that precious funds are not wasted on also-rans. The most noticeable example of a talented kid been let go was Mark Cavendish – something that Cav details in his book when he explains that all of the measuring in the world doesn’t explain why he is such a good sprinter. But letting a good one fall through the cracks is a small price to pay when you are carting off all the medals at two successive Olympics and several World Championships.


    Brailsford’s style doesn’t suit everyone but it delivers results and that is what he gets paid handsomely for.


    Such a wholescale approach would not work in football as few teams have the luxury of only accepting players with world-class potential. But plenty of his techniques for getting the best out of the talent you have are there to be learnt from – especially on training and recuperation, diet and nutrition and psychology.


    Few cyclists earn much money and even world class ones earn a fraction of what pro footballer do. As a result, there are very few prima donnas who think the world revolves around them (LA was the exception). They train hard and they train long hours and they are willing to suffer in a way that marks them out as very different from most people.


    Watch a race where a rider leaves half the skin on his legs and back on the tarmac get back up and finish the race and compare it to footballers rolling in agony whenever someone brushes past them. It’s a different mentality all together.

  17. WeeOscar4Life


    01:09 on


    21 January, 2013




    WeeOscarLife Cycle’s to Belfast St Patricks weekend March 2013



    On 15th/16th of March 100 cyclist will set off from 5 locations in the UK & Ireland for Belfast to raise funds that will go towards helping Wee Oscar Knox fund the Immunotherapy treatment he so desperately requires. We will be leaving from:



    Celtic Park – 32 Cyclists


    Leeds – 7 Cyclists


    Duleek – 25 Cyclists


    Roscommon – 10 Cyclists


    Dublin – 26 Cyclist



    We will be supported by 16 support team members over the 2 days also.



    Our team is made up of many CQN’ers, guys from KDS, friends and family members and non Celtic supporters.



    You can support our cyclists and support team by making a donation to this event by clicking here (remember to leave your blog name):



    WeeOscar4Life Cycle’s to Belfast March 2013 Justgiving Page



    or by texting BELF88 to 70070 followed by amount you wish to donate:



    To: 70070







    We would like to thank Morrisons Facility Mngt, Gardiner & Theobald Surveyors and ProAir Conditioning for their sponsorship of the WeeOscar4Life cycle’s to Belfast. If your company would like to sponsor this event please drop an email to weeoscar4life@gmail.com



    WeeOscar4Life Team

  18. Just heard from a reliable source that all HMV gift cards / vouchers will be accepted from tomorrow folks. So get spending !

  19. Re cycling and the way the GB team improved by looking at the whole picture down to tiny details. I am for technology but comparing cycling to football is not good practice imo. Velodrome cycling is about thousandths of a second. It does not have any creativity its all about muscle and preparedness. Messi and maradonna are not considered the greatest because they ran the fastest or were the strongest, but because they had skill. The best way to improve a footballer is by improving their brain and making them as fit as their bodies allow. Whilst stats may help it will not make a messi out of a killen.

  20. Vmhan-It was thanks,I hope administrators can save as many jobs as possible,quite a bit of interest from a few companies apparently.HH.

  21. sixtaeseven - 4 fouls 4 cards & penalty, a day in the life on

    I’ve noticed in the big rugby games that subs and the sin-binned guys jump on to static bikes at the side of the dugout to keep them ready for action.



    Never seen this at the fitba, wonder why?

  22. South Of Tunis on




    That dog didn’t do nightshift . Around 11 pm she would hit my knees with her head and then head for her bed . Cue intensive cleaning and then very loud snoring . She would get up around 7 . Cue intensive stretching .

  23. Sixtaeseven



    Im sure ive seen someone in the spl warm up on bikes .. Mighta been dundee utd

  24. What`s all this stuff about heated troosers, apps. nutrition, psychology etc? Are there not drugs out there that can enhance performances? I`m sure they would be a lot cheaper than hiring specialists or paying a grand for a pair of trousers. Only asking.

  25. The Boy Jinky



    I watched 2 St Mirren players warm up at the side of the pitch on cycling machines.




  26. Sixtieseven


    The Bhoy Jinky



    John Hughes used to do it at Falkirk when they were in the SPL……tho I thought it was just to power the floodlights…..

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