Don’t Trust Your Eyes, Trust the Data

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There isn’t an exact science to the art of coaching. Many times coaches find it difficult to explain why they made certain decisions, whether it’s going for it on fourth down or deciding whether to break out that one dynamic trick play they installed during the offseason.

Even though many coaches excel at “trusting their gut” or coaching on instinct, when it comes to getting the most out of training and practice, seeing is not believing.

Jason Gallucci, the Director of Performance at Princeton University, understands the importance of having data to inform the decision making process. In fact, he has spent over a decade helping athletes understand and utilize the data his staff collected.

“The more data the better,” Gallucci says. “That only works with the understanding that we have to be collecting good data.

“Obviously the technology world is booming right now, Gallucci says. “Bad data is just going to get you bad results. It’s important that you take the time to understand what you are trying to do and what you are trying to accomplish, and how to get good, reliable data before you start jumping to conclusions with what you are seeing.”

Gallucci ensures that his data is accurate and reliable by trusting one of the first companies to effectively utilize wearable technology as a means to understand and improve athletic importance, Polar. Gallucci has seen Polar’s technology and his training methods evolve since they implemented Polar’s first team system into their program.

This evolution of technology comes with a means of validating what coaches see on the field. Gallucci finds the ability to make concrete decisions based on tangible evidence has been invaluable for the Tigers’ athletics program.

“This wasn’t something that happened on day one,” Gallucci says. “It’s not like we are going to throw the technology on the athletes and make decisions on day one as to how we are going to change our program.”

It’s not like Princeton has a magic formula. They had to put effort into the process just like anything worthwhile in football, but the payoff has been exponential. Working hand-in-hand with Polar has allowed the entire coaching staff to be on the same page, and no one has to worry if their instincts are letting them down.

“In the end, what we found was a lot of things we saw with our coaching eye, but at the same time there was a lot of data that you just can’t get visibly,” Gallucci says.

Data will never replace coaching instincts, but coaching can’t be as effective as it should be on instinct alone. In the information age, it’s never been more important to have quality data, and “coaching blind” should be left in the past where it belongs.

About Polar – www.polar.com/teamsports

Polar is the Pioneer of wearable sports and fitness technology and leader in heart rate monitoring, activity trackers and training computers. With nearly 40 years of experience and a proud heritage in innovative physiological and sports medical research, we cater to all levels of fitness by offering a comprehensive product range including cycling computers, wearable sports devices and activity trackers, training apps and online services. Our award-winning training computers are the number one choice among consumers worldwide, being sold through over 35,000 retailers globally. Headquartered near Oulu in Finland, Polar is a privately held company that operates in more than 80 countries including U.S. headquarters in Lake Success, NY.

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