The collection, analysis and interpretation of training and testing data is a routine process in the physical preparation of athletes. We, as practitioners and coaches, utilize these data in a cyclical decision-making process that aims to maximize fitness and the readiness to compete, whilst minimizing fatigue and the risk of injury or illness. Ensuring we collect the right data is an important part of this process (e.g. valid, reliable and feasible measures), but equally important is ensuring rigor and accuracy in the way we interpret the data.
Since publishing the Reactive Strength Revisited article series, I’ve been lucky to have some great conversations and email exchanges with coaches from all over the world, across a range of sports. These conversations are always a great way to get alternative viewpoints, challenge current thinking and share knowledge and ideas.
As discussed in my [previous motorsport article], the physical demands faced by racing drivers in the various series around the world are far greater and cover a much broader spectrum of physical and performance capacities than many would consider. Over the past 15-20 years the physical preparation of racing drivers has become much more important to success in the sport. Drivers have seen greater benefit and the result is that both Sport Science and Strength & Conditioning have taken a greater role in the support team and preparation of the drivers.
As practitioners we are tasked with improving performance, but performance improvements can be achieved in many ways. Some of the methods or interventions that we can apply include improving strength and power, altering technique, improving nutritional knowledge and dietary practices, providing an ergogenic aid (e.g. caffeine), or motivating an athlete to perform through knowledge of their performance.