The Sport Ireland Institute and its technology partner SAS hosted a special briefing for media yesterday on the ways in which the company is helping to deliver real performance wins for Irish athletes.
The company has been on board as technology partner since this time last year and the fruits of the two teams work together is beginning to bear real benefit.
The first two sports to benefit from the collaboration have been swimming and boxing.
“They were chosen as being at opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of swimming been a very objective and boxing a very subjective sport in terms of performance analysis,” said Sport Ireland Institute Lead Performance Analyst Alan Swanton.
“Our ultimate goal is to make performance measurable while recognising that not every element in the process can be tracked and measured.”
“There will always be a strong element of individual athletes and coaches having different needs and gaining different performance boosts from what we can provide them with.”
“Working with SAS has given us access to some really smart thinking in terms not only of gathering data that can be measured but also in presenting that in a visual way that coaches and athletes can both understand and get the best from.”
Bringing all the data into one place and having it accessible very quickly after each performance has been a real winner for us. It puts us on a level par with the bigger countries who have bigger teams and bigger budgets.”
“We’ve had to be smart and working with SAS has made that possible.”
The technical protocols for what will be allowed in terms of individual filming have yet to be published but Swanton and his team of analysts will make it work regardless.
“We have access to a lot of video material not only on our own athletes but also on those who they might face. In boxing if that has come from a stream it will invariably focus on the punches and the upper half of the boxers. When we film ourself, as we do at most Major Championships now we will look at the entire body, at the placement of the feet and other movements.”
Having a platform where we can have that analysed and visualised within 30 minutes of a bout, or poolside after a race gives us the ability to make the minor improvements that can make all the difference.”
It is a continually evolving process as younger athletes and younger coaches come into the high-performance system. They have different ways of working with technology and we find that having a partner like SAS enables us to continually tailor what we can offer to them.
Join us over the coming days as we dive deeper into the world of the relationship between SAS and the Sport Ireland Institute via a series of features.
Image credit: Inpho.ie, Laszlo Geczo