Constraints Led Performance Analysis

It’s All About the Environment

kid-bikeForgive the person story at the start of this – but it does relate to Performance Analysis. My son is 3 and half and recently we bought him his first proper bike, stabilisers and all. Teaching him to cycle has been a lot harder than shelling out for the bike. While he has been happy to sit on the bike and be pushed around, getting the mechanics of actually pedalling has been a struggle.

At least being aware of the principles of constraints-led coaching I tried my best not to be too explicit while attempting to get the basics across to him. We’ve had the bike for about 2 months now and no joy. He sits on and if we want to go anywhere I push.

To my amazement I looked out the window yesterday to see him cycling properly, up and down the road. All my great coaching had finally sunk in and he figured this all out!

No.

So what changed?

The learning environment.

In an effort to keep up with the older kids on the road he had to improve on his current cycling technique. If you could call sitting on the bike cycling. Adapt or die! (in a playground sense). Either watching the older kids or some deep rooted Darwin gene forced him to adapt. Despite my wife and I’s best efforts (maybe in-spite of it) it was the environment that ultimately changed the behaviour.

This got me thinking about Performance Analysis. We can sometimes obsess over the actual analysis; the numbers, the KPI’s, the colour of our charts, but don’t spend nearly enough time on the environment, the culture or the methods of delivery. In reading the book Legacy about the All Blacks you get a sense for how important developing culture is to everything they do both on and off the pitch. As a Performance Analyst it is difficult to drive the culture, that responsibility ultimately lies further up the food chain. But it is a vital component, of that there is no doubt.

Do the players interact?

Do they lead the game review?

Do the ask for extra stuff, data or video?

Do they take ownership of their own learning? 

These are the questions we need to ask more often. We need to ask them of the players, of ourselves and ultimately of the head coach. The environment matters a lot more than all your technology added together.

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