There is nothing wrong with healthy competition, especially if it leaves a positive impact on a team. Athletes are quick to compare game statistics, 40-yard dash times or how much they can put up on the bench press, as a way of encouraging teammates, or just as a matter of personal pride.
Successful coaches understand the importance of fostering an environment where everyone strives to get better, but how do you create competition with factors that have long been viewed as intangible like heart and effort?
Clemson Basketball Strength and Conditioning Coach Mike Bewley has found an effective means of showing athletes just how hard they are working in comparison to their teammates. Bewley uses the Polar Team Pro System to provide real-time reporting of physiological data to his athletes, giving them “something to brag about” during practice.
“Information is displayed in real time, and guys can see in a descending order, who is at the top, and who is at the bottom,” Bewley says. “You can really see who is working hard and who isn’t. So we use it as a motivational tool and to develop the culture of our team. We believe there is no such thing as a great-playing team that doesn’t practice hard or work hard.”
Typically, the Tigers like to look at calories burned after practice or games, but the Polar Team Pro System allows for a much deeper analysis. The Polar Team Pro System allows coaches to track athletes distance, speed, heart rate, acceleration and deceleration.
The reporting that Polar Team Pro exports has been an effective tool for Bewley, who uses the competition to motivate those who are struggling. Bewley often pulls his players aside if they aren’t pushing as hard as they need to and reminds them of the real-time rankings, encouraging them with the mantra, “Don’t be last.”
Those who are repeatedly at the top of the list benefit from the competition as well. There is added pressure for the leaders to set the example and maintain their status.
“If you’re a captain, you should be at the top of the list,” Bewley says. “You watch the guys at practice and they are taking a peak and looking all the time.”
The culture and spirit of the game is important to most coaches, but it can’t be achieved without changing the hearts and minds of the players in the locker room. Having such a powerful tool for helping athletes to have those “Aha!” moments is a huge part of why Bewley is a believer in the Polar Team Pro System.
“In terms of building a culture with the team, or developing those habits that coaches want – to me, it’s pretty invaluable in fostering that,” Bewley says. “It gives athletes a much more sensible, purposeful and meaningful understanding.”
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.