The majority of our work with elite sports teams is formed of large, long running research projects. The aims and objectives of these projects inherently change to align themselves with the strategic goals of the sports, and also to take full advantage of advancements in technology.
Elite level athletes and coaches want to benefit from any valid technological intervention that may give them the competitive advantage in competition. With this comes a number of challenges:
- Off-the-shelf (and existing) systems often generate large volumes of data that often cannot easily be stored centrally.
- Novel research techniques developed and successfully used in the laboratory generally cannot be directly deployed in the elite training environment.
- We use our knowledge to develop bespoke systems for the monitoring of the performance of elite athletes in real environments.
The three challenges are addressed by different but linked workstreams.
In response to the first challenge, we develop novel data management solutions that efficiently consume data from multiple sources and platforms. For example, we develop parsing tools that can extract tournament results data from web pages and other formats, and store centrally. Furthermore, we have built tools that consume data from third party platforms via use of an Application Programme Interface (API).
In response to the second challenge, we use our expertise in design engineering and applied computing to either (1) adapt standard analysis techniques or (2) create novel solutions that allow performance analysis to be conducted in-situ. For example, we have developed a bespoke camera calibration technique and image processing library that allows swimmers to be analysed in a pool. We have synchronised this camera system to a third party instrumented start block to provide single, user friendly kinetics analysis package.