Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Players: One Definition

Ask a business man to define a customer, their definition will depend largely on their function within the business. If they are in sales, they will talk about points of contact and sales histories, but if they are in product development, they will talk about demand for new features and usability. Finance, marketing, and H&R would also likely have different definitions for a customer. It is not hard to see however, how a business could benefit from having one comprehensive definition of what a customer is, that brings all of that information together in one place. R&D could then look at sales records to see if the new features under development match the needs and wants of the most profitable customers.

A sports team is no different. Every function within the sport side of a professional team has their own definition for a player. Coaches are often focused on current performance, while the personnel side is often focused on scouting information, and trainers are often focused on health related information. As each of these groups has interest in the information that the other groups have, that is not their focus, and it is often difficult for the various types of information to be synthesized.
Coaches collect, process, and analyze a wide variety of information. Game data includes quantitative data such as performance metrics related to play calls, video, and qualitative grades. Practice data often includes video, specific measurements, and observations. Classroom information includes information on preparedness, and the ability to understand and process game plans.

The personnel operation collects information from a variety of sources. Intelligence is generally qualitative information on a player's background and any current personal issues. Personality information may include quantitative or qualitative psychological assessments as well as anecdotal information gathered from other layers/coaches/friends. Specific skill data can be quantitative or qualitative information on a player's strengths and weaknesses.

The trainers and medical staff focus on a rich set of qualitative and quantitative information regarding a player's injury history including type, treatment, and recovery times. THey often use information on how players train and the frequency with which they train, as well as their pre and post training routines. They also monitor nutrition and hydration.

These are all of course gross simplifications of the broad classes of information utilized by different functions on a team. What is important is not that specific types of information, but rather the synergistic value of keeping one definition of a player that is updated and analyzed by all functions within an organization.

Once all the types of raw data and information on a player are collected consistently collected in one place, then the coach who is wondering how to better motivate a player can see from intelligence information what other coaches have done in the past, or the general manager who is wondering why a high potential prospect is not developing can see that they are not processing information in the classroom well and has poor post-training habits.

While all of this already occurs, it usually occurs when a decision maker in one function asks for information from another function. This may take 5 minutes for a response, it may take 3 days - by which time the original thought that led to the request is gone. An organization that has one definition of a player, has a system that allows thorough and creative analysis to flow freely and not be constrained by the response time of other members of the organization.

The bottom line is that having one definition of what a player is, focuses an organization on what it believes is most important about a player, and drives the resources, strategic thinking, and tactical analysis of the organization through that definition. That process gives the organizations long term strategy the best probability to succeed.

1 comment:

  1. I am happy to find this post very useful for me, as it contains lot of important information. I always prefer to read the quality content and this thing I found in you post. Thanks for sharing.
    my friend's blog