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We felt there was no better place to start than with some performance pointers to help plot the path to higher levels of performance in 2019.
We’ve spent the past few months gathering a range of perspectives from across the performance space – different markets, different sports and different types of organisation – to pinpoint some of the keys to achieving performance gains.
With each conversation we refined our research and eventually settled on six key areas: coach education and development, athlete wellbeing, inter-disciplinary performance teams, the integration of technology, attempts to ‘crack’ the data code and athlete ability to perform under pressure.
Everything boils down to getting the athlete to perform at the right level and so an athlete-centric approach was visible every step of the way. Even a non-sporting organisation such as Cirque du Soleil (see chapters 4 and 5) prioritises its performers.
This is visible from the off. Take coach education and development, which tends to be delivered in a manner designed to engage the athlete, while the wellbeing piece focuses on ensuring a nurturing environment for the athlete. The main focus of inter-disciplinary teams is to make the athlete better and this is also the lens through which tech solutions are implemented. Even those crunching the numbers seek to make the data digestible for the athlete. If you’re able to get most of this right then even the matter of enabling athletes to perform under pressure becomes less of a conundrum.
These areas are covered chapter by chapter but there is a considerable degree of crossover across the board – achieving higher performance is not about treating any of these areas in isolation. You’ll also notice that a number of contributors offered insights across more than one chapter.
The result is less an instruction manual than a tour of best practice delivered in the hope that you’ll be able to glean nuggets of wisdom that may prove useful at your organisation or with your next project.
We may have selected the running order but this Performance Special Report is intended to be practitioner to practitioner in the manner of our Leaders Sport Performance Summits and roundtables. We have shone a light on the training tracks and locker rooms of elite sport but these are very much the words of those at the frontline.
Finally, it is with this in mind that we extend our gratitude to all those who contributed, from the coaches to the data scientists via the high performance teams. It is their steps towards maximising their athletes’ performance and giving them a better chance of winning that may provide you with a new idea or two.