This is the mantra often used to focus the athlete’s mind on the things that really matter on delivering a performance. The mantra is even more critical in a team so that everyone is clear on what the game plan, race plan or technical goal is. Athletes and coaches are simple creatures. This is not a negative, but rather an acknowledgment of a strength in their ability to remove all the noise and focus on what will help to deliver a performance when it really matters. In the 15+ years I was an elite athlete (Olympic rower & AFL footballer) the access to data, biomechanics and sports science grew exponentially. As a fan of innovation, I found this fascinating. As an athlete I found this at times distracting and stressful. No longer were we focused on simple understandable cues to improve, but now we had access to spreadsheets, graphs and data that you could spend 24hrs working through after a 6-minute race.
Too often the coaches weren’t able to grasp what this new information meant and how it could be used to improve performance.
A great example was the focus on the power curve you could measure from each rowing stroke using the smart biomech gates set-up on boats. These are a fantastic tool and advancement in the sport of rowing where you can measure the power delivery of each rower in each stroke. Unfortunately, this information was too often misinterpreted. Coaches and selectors would be looking for bigger and bigger power curves to identify the fastest rowers. We know, however, power is only one part of the equation. Producing significant power curves consistently can signify that a crew is not moving a boat efficiently. In fact, when a crew is truly synchronised and efficient you would hope to see the power curves in the crew come down, as this demonstrates an efficiency where there is less de-acceleration and acceleration occurring in each stroke. An individual rower can actually produce greater power curves rowing out of time. It was these kind of experiences with new tech that developed our core principals behind the Motion project. How do we make tech simple and accessible so it delivers real performance gains? With our development team we had great access and experience to how athletes and coaches think in their normal training and competition environment. The key was how do we develop solutions that avoid creating noise and distractions for athletes and coaches, but instead deliver simple valuable cues to easily understand and track movement. Motion just makes tracking athletes movements more simple. This is what coaches and athletes are looking for every day, we’ve just sharpened the resolution. There are some very exciting projects we’re working on that will add great technical data and detail to the Motion project. Technology is changing the game for sports and it will unlock incredible performance gains over the next decade. But as we continue to develop and innovate we will maintain at our core the KISS principle. Because we know at the end of the day it’s the simple things that have the biggest impact on performance.