Impressive NewZ

SONY DSCI have been following developments in high performance sport in New Zealand with great interest.

I think many of the decisions New Zealand has made in recent years are exemplary.

Last week, I was prompted to look again at New Zealand. Three items caught my attention.

A young national coach shared some athlete and coach pathway ideas with me that I thought were outstanding. The coach’s ideas have immense long-term implications for athlete and coach flourishing. I liked how much thought and aspiration were evident in the documentation of these ideas.

John Lythe responded to a discussion on LinkedIn about open source tools. John is the Performance Systems Manager at High Performance Sport New Zealand (HPSNZ). In his LinkedIn profile, John notes that he has two roles at HPSNZ: As CRM Manager and Systems Developer, he is the Manager of the HPSNZ athlete management CRM system (ZED). (This system contains all information about athletes including performance plans, support staff notes and communications and individual programme items such as food plans, S&C programmes etc. ZED is also a tool for tracking organisational performance i.e. how well people are doing their job and how well the organisation is working towards its KPIs.) His second role is to develop athlete monitoring tools (design and build specific code and formula based excel solutions to help staff, contractors and clients work more effectively and efficiently). John has developed a training diary system, a match stats presentation tool and a training load calculator.

John is exactly the kind of person I had in mind when I wrote A Fourth Age of Sports Institutes. He used his professional wisdom to respond to Arnold’s LinkedIn quest for open source software for managing performance data in team sports:

My guess is that you are not after a video coding tool like Sportscode or Dartfish but rather an information management tool. Team monitoring systems that capture match performance data, fitness tests, medical treatments, training load etc are very hard to find because everyone wants something slightly different. You will find plenty of sophisticated products on the market but most of them are expensive subscriptions models. The best systems in the world are most likely to be found at pro clubs and national sports federations and would have been custom made to order. If there are any inexpensive and flexible options out there I would love to hear about them. I spent years building them in excel for my own use but these days you need something better to link with devices such as GPS, HR smartphones and the cloud.

The third item was an advert for a Performance Planning Manager with HPSNZ. The job description included this section:

Your people skills will be matched by your ability to positively influence those around you. Importantly, you need to have the ability to help and guide people in recognising they need to increase capacity in their sport and then guiding them in understanding what it takes to win. This is an exciting time to be joining HPSNZ. You will be part of a world’s best organisation and working alongside a highly professional, committed, passionate team with an absolute focus on ensuring New Zealand’s athletes and teams win on the world stage. If you understand how to develop and implement successful planning strategies to create winners on the world stage, then this could be the role for you!

The combination of the three items prompted me to think about the transformation opportunities that might arise when the coach, John and the new post holder get together.

A perfect antidote to feelings created by Top of the Lake.

Photo Credit

Wharf at Port Albert (Brian Scantlebury, CC BY-SA 2.0)

ACC Developments

I took part in a local radio interview this afternoon.

Tweet 2CC

During the day it was reported that the Canberra Raiders were one of six rugby league teams under investigation in the current Australian Crime Commission’s inquiry.

The club had made a brief statement and the CEO, Don Furner, was in Sydney receiving a briefing from the NRL and ASADA.

We can confirm we were contacted by the NRL late last night in relation to the ACC report, however we have no further details at this stage. As previously stated, we fully support any investigations by the NRL or the ACC in relations to these matters. Our club will continue to work with the NRL and ACC until these matters are resolved and will update our members, sponsors and supporters when we can. Until we are provided with more information we have no further comment on the matter.

Whilst reading up on some items for the radio conversation, I followed up on:

  • The transcript of Stephen Dank’s interview on the ABC’s 7.30 Program.
  • Benjamin Koh and Martin Hardie’s post in The Conversation.
  • Peter Badel’s discussion of Peptides in The Australian.
  • The Minister for Sport’s morning Doorstep Press Conference.
  • ESSA’s statement on a unified solution on regulating sport scientists.

I have compiled some of the discussion of the ACC’s activities in an Evernote Notebook

ACC Notes

One of the important issues for me in the discussions thus far has been the relationships between a head coach, performance scientists and strength and conditioning coaches.

My hope has always been that if sports do find effective, ethical strategies to overcome the catabolic effects of performance in training and in competition then these strategies could be shared openly.

My naive but fervently held belief is that this transparent sharing would enable sport to flourish.

Sport would become a non-zero sum activity … everyone gains by accepting that sharing is the new competitive edge. I think this is the time for a Fourth Age of Sport.


The move from the bottom left hand corner to the top right corner is the essence of the integrity of sport for me.

I think we can develop a deferential sport system that is appropriate for the 21st century. We might even rediscover playfulness as an antidote to dis-play.


Dennis Hemphill has a post in The Conversation (13 February) on the role of the sport scientist.

Robin Willcourt was interviewed on the 7.30 Report (12 February) on the use of hormones.

Chris Berg post on The Drum (12 February)

IASI in Leipzig 2011: Consensus Discussion 1

One of the aims of the IASI workshop in Leipzig (28-30 June) is to develop a consensus paper on information and communication services for coaches and researchers in elite sport.

Participants in the workshop have been asked to consider three questions as a starting point for discussion.

  1. Do you see (or have experienced) particular needs and/or conditions in the field of information and communication for elite sport coaches and researchers in your country? What kind of media, information and/or communication are these clients mainly interested in, in what format would they like to get access to them, what are the basic procedures to disseminate information resp. knowledge to these clients etc. What do these clients expect from information, communication and library services? How would you describe the situation in your country?
  2. What are the lessons to learn from your particular project resp. situation that could be taken home from Leipzig when participants would consider to “copy” your project – what content and procedures should they focus on, what are the weaknesses and errors which should and could be avoided, what partners in sports, science, media, business could you rely on, how complex should a service offer in information and knowledge management be (better to focus on less items or to try to design a complex structure?) etc.?
  3. What would you expect from international collaboration in the field of knowledge management in elite sport (research)? Where are the chances and opportunities, where do you see obstacles and limits (as we are all working for competing national sport organizations)?

I think I will frame my responses to the three questions in the context of Question 3. I think this question gives us an opportunity to explore some important second order issues.

I presented a paper about the Fourth Age of Sport Institutes at the last IASI Congress (Canberra, 2009) and feel even more strongly now than I did then about Open Access. Whilst I was revisiting the Fourth Age Paper on SlideShare I noticed that Richard Wallis’s presentation was suggested as a related presentation. Richard’s presentation is titled Linking the Library’s Data to the Rest of the World. Of the many ideas Richard presented I noted two that I thought were pertinent to our discussions in Leipzig:

and …

I think the arrival of more and more semantic interoperability will drive the provision of information services into exciting spaces.  I think we can go beyond contemporary perceptions of competition between countries to establish a global, sustainable information system that celebrates and develops produsage.

I am naive enough to hope that the next great age of information services will be founded upon reciprocal altruism. Without a profound shift in approach I do think international sport is doomed if it insists on a zero-sum model of information services. I do think the non-zero sum game will be the only game in town for a satiable world system of sport.

We will need global collaboration if we are to go beyond ethnocentrism in our use of information services. I see Richard Young’s initiative in New Zealand and Gavin Reynold’s plans for Australia as examples of what we can achieve in an International Content Partnership.

My answer to Question 1 is very brief. I think we are witnessing a remarkable transformation of opportunities to access information and media. Many of the opportunities that are arising are coming from imaginative use of Cloud resources. These resources offer agnostic opportunities for curation and sharing. I appreciate that in Australia the National Sport Information Centre (NSIC) is working hard to produce an agnostic service through its Clearinghouse platform. I am immensely impressed by the service the NSIC provides and in awe of its attempts to be an agile and dynamic service responsive to the needs of coaches and researchers in elite sport.

Question 2 is difficult for me to answer. I am a user of services rather than a provider. I am hopeful that IASI can foster a community of practice that shares openly cultural forms of information service. One of my outcomes from the workshop and the consensus statement is to have a grounded appreciation of some of the cultural universals we face in a world of diminishing resources for information services.

We can develop a connected information service through IASI that affirms …

Photo Credits

Baumwollspinnerei Leipzig

Leipzig Plakate