By Scott Caulfield
Head of Strength and Conditioning at Lumin Sports
Director of Strength and Conditioning at Norwich University
As this is the second and final part of the series, I’ll refer you to Part 1 for an in-depth look at what subjective data is, how it differs to objective data, and its significant benefits in relation to monitoring athlete wellbeing, and understanding athlete motivation and mindset.
This article, The power of subjective data in sports science: Part 2, will focus on
- Personalizing training and programs
- Enhancing injury prevention and rehabilitation
- Capturing athlete experiences and perspectives
Personalizing training programs
Subjective data can help coaches and sports scientists understand athletes' preferences, perceptions, and responses to different training interventions, exercises, environments, or recovery strategies.
For instance, if I know that a particular group of athletes hate to use ice baths, it doesn't make sense to force them to do it when there are many other proven methods to use. Additionally, in a situation where I have worked with them long enough and established a relationship where I trust them regarding training, I am happy to let athletes choose specific weight room movements over ones I prescribed that day. Empowering athletes to have more ownership in S&C programs is one of the best tools to keep them engaged and continually achieving results.
By collecting personal information and preferences, coaches can incorporate them into training program design and give athletes what they want and need leading to enhanced athlete engagement, adherence, and performance outcomes.
Enhancing injury prevention and rehabilitation
Subjective data can be crucial in injury prevention and rehabilitation. An athlete’s self-reported pain, discomfort and injury observations can help coaches and sports medicine staff monitor injury progression, assess treatment efficacy, and guide return-to-play decisions. At Norwich University, we use the Lumin Sports mobile app which has an excellent interface and allows athletes to pinpoint areas of injury or soreness. That information allows me to discuss training goals ahead of time and even make adjustments to programs if required. In a small setting or with limited resources, the ability for athletes to self-report new injuries via the app and then have a trainer or coach connect with them to follow up is a tremendous asset.
Understanding an athlete's subjective experience of pain, fear, and confidence can also inform the psychological aspects of injury recovery, including coping strategies and motivation to adhere to rehabilitation protocols.
Capturing athlete experiences and perspectives
Subjective data can help capture the experiences and perspectives of athletes, providing valuable qualitative insights into their training, performance, and challenges.
Athlete reports, discussions, or introspections can help us better understand the contextual factors influencing their performance, such as culture, social support, and team dynamics. This information can help coaches develop athlete-centred approaches that respect individual differences and promote wellbeing and performance.
Stronger together: Subjective and objective data
While objective data remains critically essential in sports performance, subjective data provides valuable insights into athlete wellbeing, motivation, mindset, training preferences, and experiences.
The integration of personal data into sports science research and practice can lead to a more holistic and personalized approach to optimizing performance and wellbeing that has the potential to significantly improve entire programs and a team's ability to communicate and make informed decisions.
"We are a sport and a team with such a diverse work force which is geographically dispersed. Keeping in touch with each other is critical , every day that a rider is not able to train is a day lost to the team and to the rider. Technology and the partnership with Lumin has enabled us to be more connected than ever in a meaningful and relevant way, keeping us on the road."
"Since using the Lumin Sports platform, we, as a high performance football team have been able to consolidate a-lot of our existing data storage and analysis platforms so that we can now use one central platform throughout the department. Seamless integrations with real time visuals has been at the forefront of my work and where I see the most benefit and potential from the Lumin platform from my point of view."
"Time is a valuable resource and having everything in the one place meant we got some of it back. Having performance data, communications, and critical information all in one central hub streamlined our admin processes."
"Using the Lumin platform to track player health and wellness is an easy process to help with player compliance; and a logical dashboard for coaching, medical and performance staff to visualise list availability and status at a glance. It’s been a really valuable addition to our program."
“Lumin Sports has helped our coaches and trainers overcome communication barriers with an easy-to-use, accessible, and collaborative platform. The simplicity of the mobile app has improved communication and planning efficiency. This has undoubtedly enhanced both the coaches and athlete experience, ultimately contributing to team success.”
‘"Both the NSCA and Lumin Sports share a similar mission to advance strength and conditioning. We value having Lumin Sports onboard as a coaches sponsor and appreciate their commitment to supporting the association and our members."
"Lumin Sports has provided an easy, fast, intuitive and visually enticing to collect, analyse and visualize all training load and wellness data. We are doing more as a department than ever previously in regards to our applied sport science efforts from profiling, internal and external load monitoring, subjective questionnaires and more and none of it would not be possible without Lumin Sports."
"As Head Coach, the usability and visual nature of the Lumin platform means I can quickly get a snapshot of how the players are feeling, but also how the team is tracking as a whole. The Lumin Sports Platform is now an important part of our day-to-day lives."
"Before implementing Lumin, time was our biggest pain point. As a club and performance department, we were simply not equipped with the time to monitor even simple metrics like RPE, training loads and wellness. With the Lumin Platform, our athletes can now complete simple surveys and input valuable data in seconds that give us key information that influences our players' performance on game day, it's simply a game changer!"
"Lumin, to be honest, is the best platform on the market. It's fantastically simple and easy to use, there are several AMS systems out there that are complex, hard to use and that really struggle to get athlete buy-in. That is what attracted us to Lumin Sports in the first place was how easy to use both the athlete app and coaches dashboards are. It now gives our coaches far greater detail what our athletes are doing outside of the gym which provides us so much value as an organisation."