I am beyond excited to have the addition of Port Adelaide Football Club’s Michael Regan. Michael has been in sports science and high performance for over a decade working with Catapult along with roles with Australian Football Clubs and consulting with college and pro teams across the US. Michael’s wealth of knowledge in athlete monitoring and management makes him an absolutely massive addition to this year’s edition. We can’t wait to have him on campus.
JD: If you could, please give our readers a little background information about yourself, what your niche in the world of athletics is, accomplishments, how you got there, education, any products you have available, and/or notable publications.
MR: I’ve spent my entire professional career in the world of Sport Science, in a number of roles. I started as a 14 year old who would shadow the head of Strength and Conditioning around the locker room on game day, doing any little job that he threw my way.
From there, I studied Sport Science and completed a Masters in Strength and Conditioning. My experience and interests led me to specialize in the area of data analysis, but with a coaching emphasis. My philosophy and application leads me to always search for something that is applicable and understandable for those who I am presenting to.
Further to this experience, I’ve spent the last 5 years working for Catapult Sports, where I’ve held the role of Product Manager and Head of Sport Science. This role has meant that I’ve been at the forefront of sports technology and its application to elite sport.
Through my time at Catapult I have helped establish Sport Science programs at leading teams throughout the United States and have consulted to teams on an individual basis on the collection of valid data, the analysis of data and the application and influence of change within a sporting organization.
I see the measurement of all aspects of performance as the critical role of the Sport Scientist, not just the measurement of physical parameters, but their integration with and relationship to match performance and tactical outcomes. My passion lies in finding new ways to measure things that were previously unmeasurable or entirely subjective.
Now I’m the List Analyst and Innovation Manager for Port Adelaide Football Club in the AFL. This role requires me to take all the data available to our football department and use it to analyze our current and prospective personnel. The role combines my loves of Sport Science and the tactical/technical side of sport and I am very fortunate to be able to work daily on things that I’m passionate about.
JD: Discuss with us the mistakes you see made by strength and conditioning coaches in the United States and around the world, and what you feel should be done differently/how to correct these issues.
MR: I feel the “mistakes” being made now are very different to those being made even as recently as 5 years ago. For a long time, the US lagged the rest of the sporting world in the monitoring of athlete performance, and the relationship between training load and injury, while clearly leading the world in some areas of S&C practice such as speed and power training.
Now, with the increased awareness of the role of the “program” on injury prediction and incidence, teams are starting to collect more data and monitor more effectively. This thirst for monitoring is leading to teams collecting a lot of data.
The gap that currently exists in US Strength and Conditioning is in the turning of that data into actionable information that is specific to and relevant for the specific program. The data explosion in US sports is creating an insatiable craving for the measurable, however, from my experience, there is a large portion of the sporting world who are doing too much, or applying the practices of industry “experts” exactly, or are mimicking the programs who’ve had success. I feel that the critical layer to success of any data application is to have a clear goal for the evaluation and to contextualize your practice according to what your program needs are.
In my experience, teams need to be given or learn the skills required to tailor their analysis (in terms of: analysis practice, outcome and presentation) to their environment. What suits the University of Oregon to measure for their high octane style of play does not necessarily suit Alabama who are more ground and pound. The analysis practices employed and the emphasis on different parameters must be different before we even consider how we present data to the different decision makers.
With teams who are utilizing vast amounts of data, there exists a challenge in making that data presentable, understandable and actionable for coaches – there are a number of programs around the world that are employing world leading data collection and manipulation practices, without seeing any change effected. This is more often than not due to the message being lost on the coaches. Data presentation and explanation is a critical final step that, again, requires a specific skill set that ensures the program is utilizing the best available tools and is tailoring what they do to their individual situation.
JD: What advice would you give a coach to improve knowledge in the lines of continuing education, meaning could you point our readers in a direction to find the scientific and practical information to improve the methods they use to improve performance?
MR: The key to this is to be genuinely open minded and be prepared to have networks and use them.
Too many in our profession feel that sharing any sort of secret exposes their team to risk – I’m not silly enough to suggest that we should all be open books, but setting up a network of like minded (and some opposite end of spectrum thinkers) from allied, non-competitive situations is the best way to learn and expand your knowledge and practical base.
JD: If you could, give a brief description of what our attendees can expect from you at The Seminar?
MR: I will focus on the use of data across an entire football program and how you can synchronize analysis for the purpose of providing a platform for making sound, well grounded decisions on everything from injury risk to player selection, contract values, free agent tracking and the ultimate measure – relationship to wins and losses.
Attendees will be given practical examples and a take home structure for how to set up a data analysis platform that allows for expandability and continuous improvement in the use of data across an organization.
My discussion will focus heavily on the integration of Sport Science measures with the more traditional video and game statistics based numbers.
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