Inspired By: “Big Data: The Winning Formula In Sports” by Bernard Marr

Reading the article, “Big Data: The Winning Formula In Sports” by Bernard Marr reminded me of my childhood and the countless hours I spent watching my father in the gym. He was a professional bodybuilder, and I recall that even in the 1980s data was calculated for the purpose of obtaining peak performance. As mentioned in the article, calorie intake is a particular information stream that professional athletes pay attention to. This is their fuel, it is what allows them the energy they need to train and perform, and while this relevant information contributes to their success it is also closely monitored and controlled to ensure excess weight doesn’t hamper their performance. My father would track his calories using the labels on the food he ate along with a pencil and journal, today online data systems allow people to track their calorie intake using timely and simple information through a few taps on an app available on a smartphone. These apps analyze a person’s calorie intake almost instantly.

Training time was an intense period for everyone in the household as my father tracked every repetition and set of a weight lifted or exercise performed. He would monitor his heart rate by counting his pulse using his index and middle finger to ensure he was training at an appropriate intensity. Today however, as explained in the article training equipment has become not just more sophisticated but a “standard piece of the kit for every player” (Marr 2015). Using the complete information available a diagnostic breakdown can occur real time using wearable technology such as heart monitors and athletes obtain reliable and timely information that can help them understand what their peek performance is, and how long it can be maintained. The ability to ensure peek training levels most certainly contributes to the success of athletes today.

My father’s movements were tracked by someone choreographing his routine poses for the stage through the use of a video camera and a VHS player which could be analyzed afterwards once you found a television to connect the equipment to. Technology today however not only provides us with more accessible information but also more flexible information such as in the example where 8 cameras installed in a stadium give users the ability to, “monitor 12,000 soccer matches around the world” (Marr 2015). This system allows the analysis of players movements and interactions with the ball. It provides insights regarding team and player dynamics by “tracking 10 data points per second for every player” (Marr 2015). Computers then take this digital video footage and filter the information so an analyst can manually code the synergy that players have with the ball. The level of analysis undergone though this process, while perhaps considered by some as intensive produces accurate information that can be used to enhance player performance and team strategy.

While large cable machines used for weightlifting certainly resembled the play structures you typically found in the playground for children through the 1980s, it was made very clear to me the countless ways I could injure myself if not careful. The levels of injury that occur is another area where improvements have been made through the use of wearable technology according to (Marr 2015). Tracking data such as the intensity of the activities being performed by athletes and the impact of collisions reliable information has been collected and analyzed that assist in reducing injuries. Understanding the performance levels where athletes are fatigued will allow teams to schedule rotations of the players that minimize the effects of or injuries caused by poor decisions while fatigued.

Examining archived or historical information produces further insights into longitudinal patterns so long as this is accessible information.  This provides higher levels of validity to conclusions drawn from other types of information so long as that which was documented in the past is also considered reliable information.

The benefits of evidence-based decisions were certainly demonstrated by Marr in this well-crafted article. Illustrating that the use of various forms of information such as: calorie intake, training levels, interaction counts, injury levels and historical can prove beneficial to the entertainment and sports industry. The manner in which this information is collected today strengthens characteristics of the information with regards to accessibility, accuracy, completeness, flexibility, relevancy, reliability, and timeliness of its collection, storage and analysis.

 

References:

Marr, B., (2015). Big Data: The Winning Formula In Sports. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2015/03/25/big-data-the-winning-formula-in-sports/#2e03da8a34de

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