In today’s world of high performance sport, we have the potential to bury ourselves in numbers. There is not much we can’t analyze, measure, or monitor. In many ways this is a positive step forward, while in some ways it can be negative. The key is keeping the numbers in context. If you are letting the numbers dictate everything you do or don’t do, then it is time to reconsider.
This is where I weigh in on the human element in coaching. We coach people, not machines. There is a huge about of individual variability to the same training and competition stress, not to mention the emotional and psychological factors that weigh in. Talk to your athletes; closely observe their body language when they come to training and during warm-up. Find out about the rest of their lives. Remember that they are athletes only two to four hours a day, so the other hours of the day can (and do) have more of an impact than the training – the twenty four hour athlete.
In short, sharpen your observation and communication skills. It will add a dimension to the numbers, sometimes it will validate the numbers and other times it will dictate throwing out the numbers and following your coaching instincts. I cannot help but think how we did it before we had the ability to gather the numbers we have today. After all in high performance sport the only number that counts at the end of the competition are those numbers on the scoreboard.