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In Sports Performance, Context is Everything

Contextualized data – intelligence – is what takes teams from good to great.


Stephen Smith


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There are some truly phenomenal data-gathering capabilities out there in the elite sports performance marketplace. But like so much in life, context is everything.  

Let’s key off Track160’s recent post pointing out how tech has democratized data for clubs with smaller budgets. Thanks to the economics of performance intelligence, organizations with fewer financial resources can punch well above their weight by getting the most from their data. 


But this is something very different from just amassing the data. What really matters for these organizations is the depth, granularity, and relationships of the information they can collect. It’s this contextualized data that yields the intelligence that unlocks greater performance.  


Contextualized Data Delivers a Bigger Picture and a Broader View of Sports Performance


Previous optical trackers could tell the number of passes, shots, etc., but they couldn’t give hyper-accurate positional information. Track160 can, and it’s allowing managers and coaches in teams up and down the economic ladder to understand the evolving relationships between field position and patterns of players, to see the action on the ball, yes, but also the action around it.  

Pull all that together with performance, medical, and recovery information, and this becomes something incredibly valuable. And not just for clubs, but for fans, too, as Oracle showed us last week in releasing its own set of proprietary analytics for fans, including live win probability. 


Contextualized Data – Intelligence – Takes Teams from Good to Great


In our conversations with elite sports organizations around the world, they want to know how best to turn contextualized data into decisions: when to train during the week, finding the right periodization model, knowing definitively how game plan execution impacts health and recovery, getting retain / release decisions right, talent development, and overall potential. 

Any team not pursuing these capabilities is placing itself at serious disadvantage relative to its competition who simply aren’t sitting still. 

The high-performance teams we talk to know this. They understand the difference between good and great isn’t in the amount of information they collect, but in the use cases they can power with it. And they crave the ability to bring all their complex data sources together with a simple-to-use set of tools to seize every advantage from those opportunities. 


Enabling Good to Great with Intelligence Platforms


Analytical tools that align people around their data are what will enable organizations to go from good to great – if teams can execute on the insights they uncover. This is where world-class sports performance experts come into play: deeply experienced practitioners who help teams leverage tailored intelligence platforms to unite their people around their data, strengthen instinct, and unlock greater performance.

This is spreading across elite sport. As it does, teams will grow greater ability to draw insights from their data on their own. We’ll see a rise in learning organizations, each pursuing their vision of better, in their own unique context. And like so much in life, that context is everything.

I’ll be sharing thoughts on sport’s most impactful developments and news on an ongoing basis. I welcome your feedback on Twitter or at



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  • Stephen Smith

    Stephen is Kitman Labs’ CEO and founder. He was previously Senior Injury Rehabilitation & Conditioning Coach at Leinster Rugby Club. Stephen holds a BSc in Sport & Exercise Rehab and MSc in Football Rehab from Edgehill University.

    View all posts CEO & Founder of Kitman Labs



United Football League has launched the Performance Medicine Solution as their new League-wide EMR, inclusive of all teams.

Each team in the UFL will operate from a distinct iP: Intelligence Platform configured to support their respective operating philosophy and needs. Their specific system will aggregate and mobilize all player medical data in one integrated platform, providing an accurate, real-time view of each player from a health, injury, and readiness perspective.