A multi-disciplinary team from the English Institute of Sport (EIS), UK Sport and National Governing Bodies – covering biomechanics, innovation and performance analysis – recently visited the US to gain insights into techniques used by other organisations, particularly in American sports.
A large focus for intelligence gathering was around new ideas and concepts on data analysis, and the team attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston as well as spending time with the New England Patriots and the Boston Celtics.
Data is integral to sport, and the conference provided a forum for industry professionals to discuss the role of analytics.
Cat Shin, Biomechanics Project Lead, was part of the EIS team.
“What was interesting was that despite the much greater investment in some of these sports, they still have many of the same issues,” Shin said.
“There’s a lot of data but the same problems of how to interact with that data, bring meaning to such big quantities and be able to engage the coaches and practitioners that need to use it.”
In her role as a biomechanist, Shin works across different sports and was intrigued to see how data is being used and engaged with across the industry.
“Data interactivity was quite a big theme in terms of seeing how other people not just collect data, but actually interrogate it and use it. One thing we do really well at the EIS is collect data, but joining up the dots can be a challenge.
“We learnt a lot about how people manage to join up those dots, which we can take forward ourselves. Biomechanics as a field overlaps with many areas, but if we can have multiple data sources in one place we can draw considerably more meaning, ultimately benefitting the coaches and sports we work with.”