Last week, I attended the NHL coach's clinic held one day prior to the draft in Chicago. As I sat listening to the presentations I looked around the room and spotted maybe half a dozen females out of 500 attendees. Working in a male dominated environment it sure can be intimidating but I must say overall every team I've worked with has been extremely rewarding to be part of. I feel no different because I'm female, in fact I'm constantly asked for my opinion and people listen!! Two of my good friends and absolute rock stars in the industry have voiced the same thing (Jo Clubb at the Buffalo Sabres and Suki Hobson with the Milwaukee Bucks). While I moved from Australia, Jo and Suki came across from England to be part of American sport, a huge change in itself. Thank god being female isn't something we really had to worry about.
Working for an elite athlete tracking company I've been privileged to work across a wide range of sports. Athlete tracking quantifies athlete performance and gives coaches a tool to make objective, informed decisions. Sounds great doesn't it! However, like most things in life to effect change, full buy in from everyone is involved. Adoption of tracking within any sporting environment is fully reliant on the entire team moving in the one direction. Everyone needs to be on the same page to action change.
Wearables have been part of the elite space since 2008 with some of the first adopters Women's field hockey and lacrosse at the Australian Institute of Sport. Since then there's been a huge rise in tracking within the female sports world. Now it's easy for people to say they use GPS tracking but to have full adoption and generate change is a very different story. Two programs within North America who have done a fantastic job within female sport are US Women's Soccer and Women's Hockey Canada.
Dawn Scott is the US Women's national team High Performance Coach. Dawn implemented tracking for the National group back in 2012 and has now expanded wearables across all youth age groups and 10 NWSL teams. With multiple years of data US Soccer has an in depth understanding of game and practice demands at all levels. Coaches can be better equipped in planning sessions, keeping athletes healthy and monitoring performance across the board.
Adam Douglas is the High-Performance Manger at Hockey Canada. Adam has implemented Catapult across his entire National team program despite the challenges of many athletes training and playing remote. Preparing athletes for National level games when majority of their year is spent outside of the National training environment is a huge challenge. The data from athlete tracking has enabled the coaching staff to better understand exactly what each individual is doing on a daily basis. This type of insight has never been seen before and throughout the two years of tracking has started to really make a difference.
It's unfair to say the data gives you all the answers, because it won't. What it will do is start a discussion, generate more questions and hopefully at the end of the day, help! Put in the right hands the data can be extremely powerful. I hope to see adoption of technology continue to grow within the elite female sports world.