28
Nov
THESIS CLAIM.

Capturing, tracking, and visualizing athletic performance data can be a significant factor in the development of athletes by creating an informative and motivational framework that defines measurable goals and allows the athletes to visualize their progress towards achieving those goals. Due to the associated costs of accurate and robust statistics collection, however, only extremely well-funded sports teams currently have the luxury of this training aid.

This thesis argues that by making sophisticated statistics tracking available to younger or lower-level teams without extensive financial backing we could improve the quality of training and coaching at a lower level, increase the retention of athletes that might otherwise drop out, contribute to a more rewarding emotional experience for the athletes, and potentially improve the performance of athletes across all levels of play by giving them access to these sophisticated tools early in their training.

Furthermore, if we could create a way for these athletes to track a greater range of performance data than is currently available through the use of sensor-driven passive data collection, then they would have access to a much more robust and accurate set of feedback that would allow them to push their performance to an even higher level and potentially provide for a richer or more rewarding experience.

REASONS.

Sensor-driven data collection as a way to improve performance and experience:
A greater range of performance data supplied through sensor-driven passive data collection could improve the training and performance of athletes by increasing the number of feedback points from which they can glean information. By tracking a larger number of statistics, the athletes (and coaches) would have more information at their disposal to fine-tune their training plans, and the wider gamut of feedback points would be more likely to evoke pride a) in a wider range of athletes with varying skill sets, or b) more frequently for a single athlete. This combination of accuracy and motivating ability would allow the information collected to improve both the performance and emotional experience of the athletes being tracked.

Making sophisticated statistics tracking and visualization available to more athletes:
Making sophisticated statistics tracking available to teams without the financial backing and clout of a professional or otherwise high-profile team could increase the quality of coaching and training for athletes earlier in their sports career, and follows the model of the ever-increasing number of elite sports training camps (such as the huge number of Nike camps) that many youth and high school players attend during the summer to bolster their training. These camps bring together successful athletes who have the financial resources to register for, travel to, and attend these camps to study and train under the coaching leadership of some of the top college and professional coaches in the nation. Bringing some of the resources that athletes might find at one of these elite camps to teams of all age and skill levels would allow more athletes to experience even a small portion of this type of experience; this would better prepare them to advance their skills to the next level while simultaneously making them feel one step closer to being an “elite” athlete in a way that could boost their confidence and increase their motivation to work hard.

WORKSHOP: The in-class workshopping materials

THE ORIGINAL BRAINSTORM SENTENCES:

_Visualizing performance data can allow for better comprehension of that data, and as a result provide enhanced feedback and motivation for continued progress.
_High quality data visualization is not currently available to younger or less well-funded sports teams—by providing all levels of teams and players with sophisticated statistics tracking we could increase the quality of training at a lower level, potentially increasing the performance of athletes across the spectrum.
_Collecting and tracking data creates objectively measurable goals and measures of progress that allow for greater, faster, and more efficient growth.
_Allowing for a greater range of objectively collected data on a person’s performance can encourage progress through providing better and more accurate feedback and a greater array of attainable measurable goals.

COMPONENTS TO INCLUDE IN/SUPPORT MODIFIED THESIS STATEMENT AND REASONS:

Capturing, tracking, and visualizing athletic performance data
_Creation of measurable goals
_Motivation to work towards continued progress
_Faster and more efficient improvement and growth

Creating a way for athletes to track a greater range of performance data than currently available via sensors and/or collaborative digital scorekeeping
_Enhanced/more accurate feedback on personal and team performance
_Increased gamut of feedback points to evoke pride a) in a wider range of athletes with varying skill sets, or b) more frequently for a single athlete, providing added motivation to continue working hard

Making sophisticated statistics tracking available to teams without the financial backing and clout of a professional or otherwise high-profile team
_Increasing quality of training at a younger age/lower level (ex: Nike camps)
_Increase retention of athletes that might otherwise drop out through a combination of providing encouraging feedback and potentially increasing the rate of their development in the sport
_Potentially increase performance of athletes across the spectrum through giving them sophisticated tools early in their training (and giving this access to teams and athletes of all types, not just those athletes wealthy enough to attend sports camps)

Category : Fall 2011 / Writing + Research