Is Technology Taking the Art Out of Coaching?
“If you win in IT, you tend to win.”
It appears that Sir Clive Woodward is taking his superb attention to detail to a new level. The ex-England Rugby Head coach is well known for his use of technology when it comes to coaching and preparing athletes & sports teams. He is now using his approach with the British Olympic team alongside a company called Dartfish.
During his tenure as England Coach between 1998 and 2004 he implemented a number of methods with which his team could gain “half a percent” advantages over the opposition. He employed a large number of coaches to cover specific aspects of the game, a practice previously un-conceived. He brought in Sherylle Calder, a visualisation specialist who worked with the highly successful Australian cricket team of the 1990’s. She developed a software package to help the players improve their spatial awareness. He also worked with the team’s kit supplier, Nike, in order to develop a tighter fitting shirt. This made his players more difficult to tackle.
Woodward also introduced ProZone, a technology package that fed him data on his players from a series of cameras placed around the Twickenham Stadium and allowed him to analyse their levels of performance. The methods employed produced results of the highest quality...winning the Webb Ellis trophy.
Sir Clive is now continuing to use his technological innovations in his current role as the director of elite performance for the British Olympic Association. In speaking at a recent BOA event he outlined how highly he rates the Dartfish technology and expects it to have a similar impact on the Olympic preparations as ProZone did on the England Rugby team.
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The package that Dartfish provide allows the coaching staff to access live feeds from their athletes during competition, analyse the pictures which are sent directly to ipads and laptops, and then make real-time decisions using the most accurate performance data.