The application of scientific principles to inform practice has become increasingly common in professional sports, with increasing numbers of sport scientists operating in this area. The authors believe that in addition to domain-specific expertise, effective sport scientists working in professional sport should be able to develop systematic analysis frameworks to enhance performance in their organization. Although statistical analysis is critical to this process, it depends on proper data collection, integration, and storage. The purpose of this commentary is to discuss the opportunity for sport-science professionals to contribute beyond their domain-specific expertise and apply these principles in a business-intelligence function to support decision makers across the organization. The decision-support model aims to improve both the efficiency and the effectiveness of decisions and comprises 3 areas: data collection and organization, analytic models to drive insight, and interface and communication of information. In addition to developing frameworks for managing data systems, the authors suggest that sport scientists’ grounding in scientific thinking and statistics positions them to assist in the development of robust decision-making processes across the organization. Furthermore, sport scientists can audit the outcomes of decisions made by the organization. By tracking outcomes, a feedback loop can be established to identify the types of decisions that are being made well and the situations where poor decisions persist. The authors have proposed that sport scientists can contribute to the broader success of professional sporting organizations by promoting decision-support services that incorporate data collection, analysis, and communication.
Ward is with the Seattle Seahawks, Seattle, WA. Windt is with the Vancouver Whitecaps FC, Vancouver, BC, Canada. Kempton is with Carlton Football Club, Melbourne, VIC, Australia. Ward and Kempton are also with the University of Technology Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.
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