By Viewing the Old, we Learn the New: The Impact of Video Feedback on Coach and Pupil Development in Sport

In our first blog of 2020 explored the importance of general physical preparation in the athletic development programme at Millfield. We proposed the importance of the concurrent training of physical qualities, the preference for volume over intensity, the use of exercise variation as a driver for neuromuscular adaptation, the importance of exercise technique validity and reliability and finally, aiming to elevate an individual’s technical strength threshold. In our second blog of 2020 we will move into the field of performance analysis and explore the importance of video footage to support the development of coaches and pupils in sport. In this short blog we will provide evidence on the importance of video footage within the coaching process. How do you use video footage to enhance the coaching process?

In the modern era of positive youth development in sport, coaches and pupils are continually exploring avenues to enhance their learning experience. This desire to improve has resulted in the enhanced integration of technology in youth sport, such as biomechanical analysis, data analysis and video analysis. The incorporation of video within the workflows of the coaching process has become common practice and one which can support both coach and pupil development. As highlighted in the quote below, the impact of video analytics on the development process in sport at Millfield is no different:

‘We believe that video plays a vital role across a number of sports here at Millfield school and benefits both coaches and the pupils. For pupils, the ability to self-reflect on their sporting performance post game or training is significantly enhanced though the support of video observational analysis. The ability to correctly interpret and propose improvements to both team and individual performance is vital for any inspiring pupils looking to develop in their sport. In relation to coaches, video allows them to provide meaningful visual feedback and frame coaching challenges within the context of real sporting scenarios.’ – Jack Like MISW Performance Analysis.

In supporting this position, research from the Social Science Research Network found that approximately 65% of people are visual learners. This strengthens the argument for the value and impact of video content on pupil’s and coach’s reflective practice in sports. In addition, The England Institute of Sport highlighted research that shows that on average, athletes and coaches can only recall 30% of previous performance correctly. This statistic again, highlights the true value of embedding video analytics within coaching workflows to support both pupil and coach development. In conclusion we aim to support the development process through Millfield sport by supporting the capture, processing and sharing of competition and training footage to allow pupils and coaches to optimise their knowledge and understanding of their sport and their enhance their personal development through sport.

To be Prepared is Half (May be More) of the Victory: The Importance of General Physical Preparation in the Youth Athlete

To be Prepared is Half (May be More) of the Victory: The Importance of General Physical Preparation in the Youth Athlete.

In our final blog of 2019, we looked into fuelling in the developing youth athlete. We proposed that providing engaging and impactful nutrition support will be an important objective for nutrition at Millfield moving forward. The use of clear, consistent messaging across the campus and well positioned education and guidance on fuelling will be important to optimise the potential of our pupils in sport and beyond. In short, we suggested knowledge isn’t powerful until it is applied, therefore we believe our nutrition education must be a ‘live’ and evolving process with pupil development at the heart of decision making and planning.

In our first blog of the new decade, we aim to continue to promote the development focused and pupil centred message as we explore the fundamental importance of general physical preparation in the athletic development of our sports pupils. We believe preparation to be half (may be more) of the victory in developing skilful movers and robust young sports people.

General physical preparation (GPP) is typically understood as the foundation upon which more developmentally advanced physiological adaptations are formed. As such, GPP is typically followed by training blocks that are more corresponding to the demands of the sport in which the individual is preparing for. Thus, in the context of youth physical development, in which an emphasis on technical mastery, consistency of technical execution and the development of force production are basic tenants, GPP becomes a critical, repeated and extensive training paradigm to prepare the youth athlete for future and more advanced training means.

In this context and based on our interpretation of GPP for youth development, we believe GPP can be executed through the following principles:

• Programme the concurrent training of physical qualities – Given the low to moderate training age of many youth athletes, the vertical integration and horizontal sequencing of training aims provides an opportunity to enhance technical mastery across a wide range of skills and develop neuromuscular adaptations across a range of training methods.

• Preference for volume over intensity – In the context of a 5, 10, 15 year training process and given a bias towards technical mastery and the development of strength capacity, a preference for volume driven programme gives the opportunity to better achieve these aims.

• Appropriate exercise variation acts as a driver for neuromuscular adaptations (Fonseca et al., 2014) – Given points 1 and 2 above, exercise variation rather than intensification is utilised to support the development of neuromuscular adaptations to movement skill and strength training. This point is both developmentally appropriate for our most junior (fundamental movement skill focus) and most senior (development of basic strength, acceleration, change of direction ability) youth athletes.

• Elevating the individual’s validity and reliability of exercise technique (Siff, 2003) – Given our wider aim of preparing youth athletes to successfully transition into the next phase of their sporting and physical training journey’s, validity (accuracy) and reliability (repeatability) of exercise technique is of critical importance. Our evidence to date, suggests this take time and we need to start early to ensure this aim is achieved.

• Elevate the individual’s technical strength threshold – To complement point 4, and as intensity in any strength training task begins to be elevated, we believe we must work just below the youth athlete’s technical strength threshold (the point at which force expression relative to load is compromised and thus a deterioration of technical execution is presented).

The principles outlined above position the young athlete’s physical development and future physical preparedness at the heart of GPP. We believe the process of GPP in young athletes is of critical importance to their future engagement and development in sport at a variety of levels and should be implemented with the past, current and future physical ability of the individual in mind. GPP should not be rushed and will likely form the majority if not all of the training process for the developing youth athlete.

Knowledge Isn’t Powerful until it is Applied: Fuelling the Developing Youth Athlete

In our previous blog we explored an insight into the performance analysis provision within our rugby programme at Millfield. We shared our video and analytical processes around pupil review meetings, training session and match analysis as well as statistics and reports. Taken globally we suggested simple insights provide the best opportunity for profound conclusions and positive impacts on our rugby pupil’s development. In this blog we will explore the importance of developing knowledge around nutrition and appropriate fuelling in the developing young athlete, with the key consideration of the energy demands of not only sport, but also academics, emotional and social load. We believe knowledge isn’t powerful until it is applied, therefore we value the application of knowledge and are focused on supporting that journey in nutrition.

Evidenced-based nutritional practices are integral to support a young athlete’s training and performance. For senior performers, the balance between their energy intake and demands of training, recovery and performance is key. However, energy requirements in young people is multifaceted, with elevated energy needs to optimise growth and maturation. Equally high nutrient needs are prevalent to ensure all bodily systems develop at their optimal rate moving through maturation. In addition, the energy demands associated with training, multi-sport participation and free-play in a school environment create a unique yet complex nutritional profile for the developing young athlete. Thus, the primary nutrition focus for young people in sport and their support personnel should be to ensure energy requirements are met, followed by a consideration of the sporting energy requirements.

In practice, understanding the importance of personalised nutrition to accommodate individual athletes’ needs is paramount. Thus, consideration of current health, nutrient needs, development goals, training strategies and other practical challenges need to be considered, all of which influence a young person’s nutritional behaviours. Every sports person and pupil’s day-to-day energy demands vary; therefore, their energy intake should be dynamic to match these. It then also becomes questionable to the appropriateness of translating nutritional guidelines for adult across to young people in sport. When you consider the multiple physiological and metabolic differences between adolescent and adult athletes, you soon realise it is not.

Is lunch a time to fuel or train?

From informal conversations, consultations and survey feedback it has become apparent that time and convenience are the key determinants driving the nutritional behaviours for many pupil’s and in particular, young people in sport. With lunch offering another opportunity to train, it can be perceived as easier to skip a main meal and choose a convenience option or worse, nothing at all. This can lead to the formation of unhealthy habits and routines becoming regular occurrences if left unattended. This reiterates the need to educate young athletes and young people on the importance of understanding “food for purpose”, and the practical side of “what does this actually look like?”, to empower them with knowledge to make informed nutritional choices to meet their development and sporting needs. Support personnel have a big role to play in creating a positive environment around nutrition practices and driving key messages around fuelling.

“I read it online, so it must be right”

For teenagers, media and advertising from the nutrition industry can influence their dietary choices and provides a common source of education, which is often ill-informed, outdated and poorly sourced. Adopting poor nutritional practices during teenage years can have a long-term impact, building negative perceptions of foods and potentially reliance on nutritional supplements. Chronically, this could lead to nutrient and relative energy deficiencies and associated injuries/ illnesses. This reiterates the need of providing evidence informed nutrition support to ensure pupils become knowledgeable and competent in making suitable independent dietary choices.

Clear consistent message to support competent behaviours

Moving forward, the key nutrition objective within our programme is to provide engaging, impactful nutrition support to all students by creating clear, consistent nutrition messages from the dining hall, to the sports field, emphasising the importance of a well-balanced, dynamic and varied diet tailored to their individual Millfield journey. We believe knowledge isn’t powerful until it is applied, therefore our focus is on the application of knowledge and are supporting that journey in nutrition.

Simple Insights, Profound Conclusions: An Insight into Millfield Rugby Performance Analysis

In our previous blog we considered the growing influence of social media within the field of sport science. We concluded that the ever-increasing accessibility, networking potential and limited financial investment gave various social media platforms huge potential to influence our daily practice. In this context we stressed the importance of be broad in our engagement with social media content, as well as being a proactive consumer; willing to give and take in equal measures. In this blog, we will share an insight into our performance analysis processes to support the development of pupils within Millfield Rugby. If we believe that simple insights provide profound conclusions, we hope our analysis processes with this cohort of sports pupils supports their development over the short and long term through easily accessible video and statistical content. As such, within this blog we delve into the following areas:

• Pupil analysis review meetings

• Training session capture and analysis

• Match analysis

• Statistics and reports

Pupil Analysis Review Meetings

Analysis meetings within the rugby 1st program consist of reviewing video of match performance. Statistics are utilised to support the messaging around video content. Within the meetings, coaches and the analyst will introduce new methods of presenting to maintain a high focus and engagement from pupils. For example, using video animation technology, using wooden blocks to replicate a scenario on a table taken from the video footage and using tools like Mentimeter to gather feedback from the room.

Squad and unit meetings are carried out twice a week on Mondays and Tuesdays for the 1st team program. These are led by coaches and the analyst. Individual reviews are carried out throughout the week and are led by coaches and pupils. In the lead up to high profile games, when opposition footage is accessible, the rugby team will review and break down the key performance indicators to present back to the team. Junior analysis review sessions are led by coaches and teachers who support the match analysis with basic analytics of game performance.

Training Session Capture and Analysis

A combination of analyst, coach and pupils participate in the capture of training sessions throughout the year. Not every session is filmed, although often in the lead up to big fixtures or when key sessions are taking place a higher quantity of sessions are filmed analysed and reviewed. Sessions are captured through a combination of handheld cameras and IPcameras positioned around the school.

A breakdown of content is created per session filmed and projects are often undertaken to break down individual pupil performances and report back to coaches and pupils. This includes the following; analyse work rates, pupil impact, coach observation and session flow.

Match Analysis

During match days, 1st team matches will be analysed live. This supports instant video and information feedback. IPcameras allow for a fast turnaround of video collection and sharing, whilst also offering a high-end video view at unique vantage points.

Post-game, within minutes of the final whistle rugby 1st match footage, team analysis and data reports are uploaded onto our online analysis platform, myTPA and shared to the pupils and coaches to review. Coaches and analyst will start communications post game and prepare video reviews for presentation sessions. Within a few hours post-game, coaches have selected who they require individual pupil analysis reports for, the analyst will then send these across for coaches to review and prepare for 1 to 1 meeting with individual pupils.

The analyst documents several other useful areas which support the review process across the Millfield Institute of Sport and Wellbeing; such as injury incidents. As a result, we can achieve a fast review of injuries by the physio department to inform best practice around treatment for the pupil. Students who participate within our performance analysis activity programme also have an opportunity to participate within the analysis of junior fixtures.

To Question Much is to Learn Much and Retain Much: Being a Proactive Stakeholder in the use of Social Media within Physiotherapy

In our previous blog we pressed pause and took a moment to look back on the lessons learnt from a range of internal projects we have completed within our athletic development programme. We surmised that our biggest investment over time should be focused on enhancing movement skills and competencies, balanced against high quality yet small doses of high threshold running and change of direction exposure. Alongside this we referenced the critical importance of the appreciating the holistic development of the young athlete in sport through optimising the coach-athlete relationship and supporting wellness. In this blog we will divert slight to consider how the growing impact of social media can act as a rich environment for professional development as a sport science practitioner in youth sport. If we believe that to question much, is to learn much and retain much, our engagement and filtering of content, resources and opinion on social media may be critical to optimising social media as a learning environment.

Our clinical working environment often dictates the clientele that walk through the door. As a physiotherapist in a youth sport environment, sports injuries and growth disorders are our bread and butter. We can often go a whole day seeing nothing but anterior knee pain. But then someone, outside your normal population will walk through your door and challenge your clinical reasoning, simply because it’s a condition you haven’t treated in a while. So how do you stay abreast of the evidence base and stay current with your practice?

In recent years we have recognised the growing impact of social media on the accessibility of research articles, opinions and knowledge sharing in the area of rehabilitation. The interactive nature of social media not only helps knowledge exchange amongst healthcare professionals (Davis and Voyce 2015), but it also allows for the promotion of physiotherapy services and the wider healthcare practice. Social media is being utilised by individuals across their working lives. A YouGov report in 2014 revealed that 38% of participants were using social media for learning, networking and/or sharing knowledge. Lawson and Cowling (2015) and Benetol and colleagues (2015) found that worldwide, health care professionals were using social media to facilitate networking, development and reflection. This includes popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and a range of blogging platforms.

There are a number of reasons why social media as a CPD tool has become so popular. These include:

• Accessibility: content is available 24 hours a day and is accessible around your job and home life.

• Networking: there is the ability to talk and discuss with a variety of different professions and professionals, with easy access to so called “experts”

• Learning: the fast-paced nature of Twitter and other platforms allows for sharing of new developments in real time, such as policy changes and release of new research that help clinicians stay at the forefront of their profession and work to the latest practice guidelines

• Financial: there is no cost to using social media. You can read about new research, watch conference presentations, share ideas and learn from others all in one place.

The points above highlight how social media can be utilised as a live and freely accessible platform for professional development in the field of physiotherapy. As long as we keep sharing, learning and engaging, social media can positively influence over practice over time. In order to optimise this learning process it may be that we can better filter incoming content and be active in our engagement. The process below may be effective in doing so:

1. Reach – be broad in your engagement with social media. Use multiple platforms, engage with content across multiple domains and from a range of sources.

2. Act – be proactive on stepping in to social media and engaging with content. Reply to posts, ask a question or share an opinion. Be an active consumer.

3. Convert – be brave and utilise content that you believe may positively impact your practice. Ensure you re-mix and convert relative to the opportunities and constraints of your working practice

4. Engage – re-share your experiences of utilising content that you have reached out for, acted on and converted from social media. Contribute back into the learning process.

In summary, we cannot shy away from the growing influence of social media with the field of sport science and potential for social platforms to influence our practice. The accessibility, networking potential and limited financial outlay means the impact of social media on professional development is here to stay. We challenge you to reach, act, convert and engage with content as a proactive stakeholder to optimise the use of social media to enhance not degrade learning in the field of physiotherapy in youth sport. How do you question, learn and retain content on social media?

To Look Back is to See How Far You Have Come: Lessons Learnt in the Physical Development of Youth Athletes in School Sport

In our previous blog we explored the importance of understanding our motives, goals, task and communication preferences as sport science practitioners in supporting and challenging the development of young people through sport. We concluded by suggesting knowing thy self can be the beginning of all wisdom and the starting point to enhancing learning through youth physical development. In this blog, we will more closely explore youth physical development through a review of numerous internal research projects that have aimed to shed light on the opportunities and challenges in supporting the physical development of sports pupils within a school sport programme.

Over the past 18 months the athletic development and physiotherapy team have presented their work at national conferences (United Kingdom Strength and Conference Annual Conference, Open University Annual Conference, British Association of Sport and Exercise Science Annual Conference, English Institute of Sport Talent Pathway Symposium) with the aim of disseminating findings and sharing insights into the profile, development and wellbeing of pupils within our domain of practice. In this blog we will press pause and consider some broader take home messages from our projects.

From the analysis and dissemination of our work to date, this is what do we think we know:

• The development of movement competency and fundamental movement skills evolves in line with chronological age and therefore takes time to be expressed – Do rush it, invest early, be consistent with a focus on high quality movement skill and you will reap the rewards later down the line

• High speed running volume and intensity not total running distance seems to be the critical step change in physical activity demand in the transition from our more junior to more senior sports teams (football, rugby 7s, netball) – Invest early and be as skilful as possible in the ability to accelerate and reach and maintain max velocity running, prepare them for them step up

• It’s not all about the physical stress, therefore be vigilant of the psychological load on sports pupils particularly around markers of subjective energy levels, stress, and mood – Encourage positive coping strategies, promote supportive social networks, think holistic in your approach

• Beware of a hazard phase in change of direction ability in sports involving large volumes of cutting and turning. Performance markers may show more variance circa and post puberty – Track change over time, offer a plan B if and when required, be consistent with the development of technical mastery over time

• The role of the athletic development coach extends beyond the development of physical qualities. A multifactorial approach to physical is recommended to optimise the coach-athlete relationship and athletic development – Build trust and respect, motivate and inspire young people to go the extra mile, provide a range of feedback that challenges and supports development

In summary, we believe a focus on the technical mastery of movement skills and competencies will pay the biggest investment over time. In parallel, it is necessary to provide small doses of higher threshold running and change of direction exposure in preparation for more advanced stages of development. More generally, take time to consider the broader perspective of physical development in youth sport. The coach-athlete relationship in this context, built on personal engagement and connection, may provide the opportunity to optimise physical development and support the holistic wellbeing of the youth athlete, particularly in relation to psychological load.

Knowing Thy Self as the Beginning of all Wisdom: Utilising a Greater Self-Awareness to Enhance Learning in Youth Physical Development

In our previous blog we explored the basis of our education programme to promote clean sport within school sport. Our aim is to become the first school in the UK with a structured anti-doping curriculum to support the education of pupils and to provide them with the tools to make informed decisions around clean sport based on UK Anti-Doping’s values of passion, respect, integrity, determination and enjoyment. We believe that an investment in knowledge will pay the best interest for future behaviours in this area. In this blog, we aim to provide an insight into our ability as an athletic development team to better connect and understand the diverse range of young people that we coach within our physical development programme.

Establishing a clear set of values, principles and ideologies are important in establishing a positive developmental training environment in youth sport, as well as generating effective physical development programmes. Whilst exercise prescription may be a vital conduit in this process, the ability to engage, connect and get buy in from youth athletes into this process may also be of importance. However, to understand our pupils we must first understand ourselves. In short, knowing thy self may be the beginning of all wisdom. How do you go about developing your self-awareness to support the learning of young people through sport?

Within our coach development programme, we have a number of initiatives aimed at enhancing our coaching practitioners’ ability to gain a better understanding of personal preference in communication, behaviours under pressure, one’s work mask versus their self-mask. Whilst this process may be a journey of discovery and evolve at rate relative to individual development, the concept of developing a great sense of self-awareness relative to, for example, other people, organisational policy and operations and individual desire for control may be vital to enhancing buy in and engagement from pupils, coaches and teachers. We see this process as having notable impact at a personal level, but equally as important is the ability to connect and relate to others through their behaviours relative to these areas.

More specifically, a greater self-awareness ensures our interaction with sport pupils within our athletic development programme is productive. Notably, we believe it supports:

– A behavioural best fit – How do I as the coach need to adapt my coaching behaviours to best optimise the learning and development of the young person I have in front of me?

– Communication effectiveness – How do I need to adapt my coaching instruction and feedback based on an individual’s ability to interpret and utilise what I am saying?

– Identification of skills for future development – How am I going to challenge the young person to broaden their intrapersonal skills through my coaching interventions?

Such questions are founded on an ability to better understand our own motives, goals, task and communication preferences. Without developing clarity on these areas and without engaging in a process of improved self-awareness, the ability to truly challenge and support the development of young people through their learning journey may be compromised. In this sense, knowing thy self may be the beginning of all wisdom with the domain of physical development by providing the vehicle with which to optimise the learning of young people and the coaching practitioner. How do you go about developing your self-awareness to support the learning of young people through sport in the domain of physical development?

An Investment in Knowledge Pays the Best Interest: The Implementation of an Education Based Programme to Promote Clean Sport in Youth Athletes

In our previous blog we explored the application of a flexible blueprint approach to planning the physical development of sports pupils utilising a short-, medium- and long-term approach. We proposed that the ability to be systematic, yet adaptable and flex to the nonlinear nature of youth development through sport as critical to supporting change. In short ‘a goal without a (flexible) plan is just a wish’. In relation to our approach to support the education of pupils within our nutrition provision, our goal is to have a food first approach, with a focus on informing pupils to make the best possible and most appropriate choice around fueling for the demands of their school and sport programs. In this blog we aim to provide an insight into the development of our education-based program to promote clean sport and pupil education around supplement and medication use in sport. We believe that an investment in knowledge will pay the best interest in future behaviors. What is your approach to promoting clean sport in youth athletes?

In the modern world of sport and with the ever increasing commericalisation of nutritional solutions accessible to young people, pupils’ access to alternative food options is a challenge to our food first philosophy. Within a school environment, pupils are often looking for the fastest possible route to achieve their goals, whether that be in the classroom, sports field or for health and wellbeing. In sport, this is exemplified by the marketing of the sports supplement industry; offering young people the opportunity to achieve their goals and maximise their potential in the shortest possible time. This exposes the pupil to the risk of inadvertently taking a product that may be banned or adversely affecting their health. In order to better guide and educate our pupils on in this area, we have set out to become the first school within the UK to become an accredited school with UK Anti-doping (the national anti-doping organisation).

UKAD (UK Anti-Doping) runs an education program through their national trainers and have an accredited clean sport program with selected UK universities. Often by the time an individual attends university they already have an engrained set of attitudes relating to food choices and doping in sport. Therefore, we feel it is our duty as practitioners and educators to better inform our pupils of the risks of doping and how they can make informed decisions moving forwards. It has been shown that the earlier you can instill a desired set of values to an individual the greater chance they have of making good choices based on these values later in life.

100% me is UKAD’s education initiative and has a set of values that we can instill in our pupils. The values of passion, respect, integrity, determination and enjoyment help pupils to understand that the values that they often hold in other domains of their life, also apply to making the right choices when it comes to doping. We are spreading the clean sport message across the school at all age groups, and sporting abilities. This joined up approach to sport and education encapsulates the synergy in educating pupils across broad topic areas within a school setting. Our challenge is to provide engaging workshops based on the UKAD clean sport curriculum, ensuring our pupils grasp the value of the clean sport message, empower them to make the better decision moving forwards.

As we endeavor to be pioneers in our approach to anti-doping within the education sector, we can also be a beacon to other youth development programs on to how to provide young people with an awareness of the risks of doping. Yes, we need to ensure the spirit of sport is upheld, but we also need to make more of the potential health risks associated with certain types of products. Often young people will have a less critical appraisal of health risks, adopting a “you only live once” attitude. This message is equally important to the education strategy.

Millfield has often been seen to be leaders in many avenues of sport and education. We hope to keep this tradition alive by taking on the mantle of being the first school to provide a structured anti-doping education program, supported by UKAD. As we embark upon this journey, we hope to preserve our great tradition of nurturing and inspiring potential in sport by enhancing our pupil’s awareness of their responsibility to bring to life the values of UKAD and represent the 100% me mantra. In short, we hope an investment in knowledge will pay the best interest. What is your approach to promoting clean sport in youth athletes?

A Goal Without a Plan is Just a Wish: A Flexible Blueprint Approach to Planning Physical Development Across a School Year

In our previous blog we explored the challenges and opportunities of riding the volcano of analytics in a multi-sport environment. More specifically, we explored the importance of simple technology and an approach which aims to optimise infrastructure, education, services and enhanced coach education. In this blog, we will look at the challenges and opportunities of organising physical training to allow suitable and appropriate athletic development with pupils in a school sport context.

In an environment where sporting development is dynamic and individual experiences are constantly changing, it is important to find a way to organise physical development training to allow the best possible chance for an improved expression of skills or capacities. Systematically allocating physical training units in accordance with the needs of the individual and their long term aims and objectives is at the heart our approach. This requires consideration of the holistic nature of training, competition and the unpredictable nature of development within a youth sport context. In addition, and specifically in a school environment, the cognitive and psychosocial load of academics and pastoral commitments are also critical to consider. As such, the organisation of physical training may be contextualised within short, medium, and long-term phases to achieve the desirable outcomes. This method allows us to be dynamic and flexible whilst maintaining a degree o consistency over an extended period of time.

With movement skills and capacities essential to what we do, high quality competencies, fundamental movement skills, tolerance to load and training intelligence are the foundations to our approach. In the short term and where opportunity allows, different training units are developed concurrently, with different emphasises for each of them on different days (i.e. speed, strength, fitness, recovery, skill). An easy way to organise the training units on each day can be through matching up the training intensity of the day. Each day can be classed as a high intensity or low intensity day with the units reflecting it as so. Organising training sessions in this way can allow multiple qualities to be trained at the same time without any hindrance to progress. This way of organising training weekly is known as horizontal sequencing with vertical integration. This works especially well with team sports as they require various qualities to be developed in conjunction.

In a medium-term phase (monthly), the focus of training can generally undulate throughout each half term in a wave-like fashion. There may be a more concentrated bias on global gym-based skills in any one point of time, before moving onto more specific qualities that have a greater transfer to the sport itself. After developing that foundation, a swap in the emphasis in the following block of training would follow. This reduces monotony in training phases and allows positive adaptations to be made through variations in training periods. The length of undulation across phases may differ across sports, but the general model is still applicable, highlighting the advantage of the flexible, wave-loaded format in the medium-term. Finally, in the long-term (across a school year), phases are organised into three different blocks, reflecting the three terms across a school calendar year. The overall block structure provides a clear blueprint for the otherwise more flexible components when considered more specifically.

Overall, our method of organising physical training allows us to deliver our philosophy and ideologies towards athletic development systematically, while being dynamic with the ability to flex in our practice. Given the nonlinear nature of pupil development in sport, we are able to be adaptable as we plan, organise and delivery physical development training in the short, medium and long term. What is your blueprint to guide the organisation and delivery of physical training for pupils in a school sport setting?

Riding the Volcano of Analytics in Multisport: How do you Optimise Analytics in a Multisport Environment?

Riding the Volcano of Analytics in Multisport: How do you Optimise Analytics in a Multisport Environment?

In our previous blog we explore the experiences and thoughts of our graduate physiotherapist in their transition from textbook (academia) to clinical practice (employment). The blog highlighted the challenges of bring evidence-based practice to life in a school sport environment through the context of rehabilitation from injury. In this blog, we take the concept of reality and the challenge of optimising provision into the world of performance analysis in school sport. More specifically we delve into the challenges of ‘riding the volcano of analytics’ in a multisport, developmental sporting environment.

This blog has been inspired by Michael Calvin’s 2015 book ‘Living on The Volcano’. In this book Calvin explores the secrets of surviving as a professional football manager. Calvin documents the unique industry of football management in which shallow judgement and rapid change in fortune can accelerate or derail managerial status. More specifically, Calvin highlights the commitment, focus, persistence, sacrifice and graft of the football manager; the foundations, often unseen, on which to build success.

In a similar context, our approach to analysis within our multisport programme at Millfield is developing based on laying solid foundations to our delivery. The ‘simple technology’ approach, which was highlighted in the last performance analysis blog, is just one example of how the program strives to develop a sports analytics service that allows all stakeholders to buy into the provision across the school. This philosophy allows us to expand further to embed the following key development areas into our practice:

• Infrastructure – our hardware and software systems allow ease of video capture, analysis, content production and content distribution.

• Education – the production of learning resources is vital to aid staff, teachers and pupils in optimising the use of hardware and software.

• Services – clarity in service provision enables analysis to be prioritised based on current and future demands.

• Coaching – analysis will be utilised by our coaching group to support coach education, reflection and development.

By enhancing our infrastructure, education, services and coach development solutions we are committing to optimising the use of video and statistical analysis across Millfield sport. As one of the only schools in UK to have a full time sports analysis programme, our aim is to integrate fully with our pupils, coaches and teachers to optimise the use of analysis at every interaction and ride the volcano of analytics in our multisport programme. How do you optimise analytics in a multisport environment?