16-July-2019 on News5 minute read
When New Zealand’s elite sports performance unit HPSNZ first got in touch with us they were looking for an analytical system that could help them deliver the fine margins necessary for athletes competing at the highest levels.Almost a year later we caught up with one of the team at High-Performance Sport New Zealand to find out how they’re using Nacsport - and the competitive edge it's delivering to their athletes.
Senior biomechanist Jodi Cossor leads the unit'’s swimming program, working with able-bodied and paralympic swimmers alongside performance analyst Matt Ingram. They‘re part of a 9 strong team at HPSNZ whose job it is to squeeze out the very best from the athletes they work with.
Jodi very kindly took a few minutes from her busy schedule to answer our questions and give us a glimpse into the world of elite swimming.
When and how did you discover Nacsport?
We had an intern student look into the various analysis packages when the software that we had been using became cost-prohibitive. His recommendation was Nacsport Elite based on the ease of setting up the system.
The challenges have been to find ways to make the system work for an individual sport where accurate time measures are important as part of the analysis process. We have been working with Nacsport on and off over the past year to enable us to collect the data used in our swimming competition analysis.
Were you using any kind of software before?
We had been using SportsCode since 2013 to analyse races. The programming was simple which allowed us to make changes ourselves rather than relying on programmers.
The data was exported into Excel databases so we have had no problems transitioning to Nacsport. And during our recent National Championships, we were able to save approximately 30% of our time when analysing each race. But there was a lot of work that was required in Excel to get to this point.
Approximately, how many sessions do you analyse every week?
This software is only used during swimming competitions - so there’s no typical week for us.
How do you use Nacsport? What does a ’typical’ analysis involve for you?
We use Nacsport to calculate values within the start, turn and free-swimming phases of races. Information includes velocity, stroke rate, stroke length, stroke count and splits.
Due to the level of accuracy required this analysis is done after the race where we step through each frame and using the KlipDraw tool to draw lines between the lane ropes located on each side of the swimmer.
The exported Excel data is used to quantify the variables as that’s not currently possible with Nacsport.
How many people do you work with - as part of your analytical team and who do you report to?
There are two of us (Matt Ingram and myself) who analyse the swimming competitions but there are currently nine staff working across numerous sports within the Performance and Technique Analysis team.
How is your work used? Do coaches and team managers work with your presentations, or are they shared only with athletes.
Video is shared with the coaches immediately and reports are emailed to them between competition sessions. The coaches then work with the athletes on areas that may be improved between the heats and final sessions during the competition as well as longer-term projects during the next block of training.
Do you focus on any particular areas to analyse?
In able-bodied swimming we are allowed to film and analyse any of our competitors, while this is not possible for Paralympic swimming competitions. Understanding the gaps in performance is of benefit but it is also important to work on individual race plans.
How do you think athletes benefit from your work?
The quantitative measurements are used in addition to video feedback and fed into our work on continuous improvements - not just at competitions.
Have athletes and coaches ‘bought-in’ to your analytical work?
Analysing swimming competitions is not new and each of the coaches uses the information in different ways to suit their coaching style.
Do you use any other tools in your analysis or presentations?
I use KlipDraw.
If you could add one new feature to Nacsport, what would it be?
Generating calculations within the software to check that the information is correct before exporting to Excel.