Data & Innovation, Human Performance, Leadership & Culture, Performance | Jul 14, 2021
Welcome to Staying Agile: Managing Disruption and Optimising Preparation During the Pandemic.

This Leaders Performance Institute Special Report focuses on the agility of the English Institute of Sport [EIS] during the pandemic as Britain’s sports and athletes came to terms with the eventual 12-month postponement of the Tokyo Games.

In many respects, the EIS, which was founded in 2002 to provide world class sports science and medical support to enable British sports and athletes to excel, was ready for the disruption thrust upon it in early 2020. It has already spent the best part of two decades continuously changing and adapting to meet the needs of the elite performance landscape.

Of course, none of the EIS’s work would be possible without a close working relationship with National Governing Bodies for sports and the other Home Country Sports Institutes, who all worked together to ensure that sports and athletes could continue to train and prepare as seamlessly as possible. The EIS operates as part of a High Performance System in the UK, alongside National Governing Bodies for Sports, UK Sport, the BOA and BPA and others, and the whole system came together to meet the challenges faced by Covid-19. This report focuses on just part of that operation, the work delivered by the EIS.

Chapter one returns to the early months of the pandemic and focuses on those characteristics that enabled the practitioners of the EIS to identify and explore the opportunities that emerged across sports science, medicine and technology.

By mid-2020, British sports and athletes were able to begin returning to EIS training environments but much depended on their personal circumstances as well as their sense of comfort and security. The EIS was ready to work with sports and athletes to help them reintegrate thanks to its Mental Health and Performance Lifestyle Teams coming together to provide psycho-social support, as detailed in chapter two.

Some sports, such as boccia, had considerable support needs for its athletes. The efforts of Boccia UK and the EIS to support its World Class Programme in their preparations for the Paralympic Games in Tokyo form the basis of chapter three. We also shine a light on the EIS’s AER [availability, effort and recovery] monitoring app and nutrition services.

Speaking of the AER app, its popularity with British sports and athletes is almost universal and represents a prime example of the EIS taking science out of the lab and placing it in the hands of coaches and athletes. In chapter four, we take a look at the EIS’s efforts alongside UK Sport to provide and embed its data and analytics services within the sports whom it serves. We place a particular focus on the SmartCourt Analysis system used by Boccia UK.

All in all, Staying Agile details the EIS’s ability to respond to and adapt to the pandemic while demonstrating that the organisation’s history of agility and ability to respond and strong partnership with the sports stands it in good stead to meet the future challenges of high performance.

We hope you find some useful insights for your next project.

Stay safe and well.

John Portch, Editor, Leaders Performance Institute

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