Data–What are you afraid of?

Change is hard, especially for those further along in their career doing things a certain way before the rapid advances in data technologies accelerated over the last couple of years.

A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in a Twitter debate that rippled through the professional and collegiate strength + conditioning / sports science ecosystem. 

It all started with a simple question – “What are the minimum required data skills for a Strength & Conditioning Coach?” 

After taking time to reflect on the debate including getting blocked by several people on Twitter, here are 4 key takeaways:

1 – Coaching Skills vs Data Skills or Coaching Skills + Data Skills

Straw-Man reactions aside, anybody rational agrees that coaches need coaching skills above all else. Modern coaches also need data skills.

2 – Data vs Insight vs Action vs Better Results

Good coaching features decisions based on data which provides actionable insights and drives decisions towards improvement

3 – Humans vs Machines or Humans + Machines

The machines are here to stay. We can work against them or with them. The latter has better results!

4 – Knowing What You Know, Think You Know, What You Don’t Know + Don’t Know You Don’t Know

It’s OK to lack data skills. It’s also silly to rail against them in concept. The future is here, get onboard!

As someone who coached at a high level for nearly a decade before pivoting interests and founded a tech company, I’ll have inherent bias..but I wouldn’t have gone in this direction without good reason. Coaching professionals are always discussing how to improve our field; let’s react more constructively next time someone tries to be helpful!

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