US Speedskating at InterConnect: Going for gold with smarter training

By | 2 minute read | March 20, 2017

US Speedskating

Elite sports team US Speedskating has teamed up with IBM to get smarter about how athletes train and prepare for competitions – both on and off the ice. Together with M&S Consulting, we’ve created a voice-enabled iPad app that uses real-time performance metrics and individual insights to review each athlete’s workload and shape smart training plans to boost each skater’s chance of success. You can see the solution in action at InterConnect in Las Vegas.

It’s all in the preparation

While races may be won or lost in a matter of moments, the foundation for success is in the training beforehand. But how can a team ensure that their preparation will mean success on the day?

Manually recorded metrics such as lap times and training loads aren’t well-suited to following more than one skater at a time. With between 9 and 15 skaters on the track at once, something more sophisticated is called for.

That’s why speedskating teams around the world are embracing technology and analytics to help their athletes succeed.

A more detailed approach: real-time insights

US Speedskating worked with IBM jStart to develop a voice-enabled iPad app that helps review each athlete’s workload, build training sessions, and analyze lap-times while skaters are on the ice.

Each skater is equipped with a transponder so that their progress can be monitored in real-time. Wire loops are installed at key points around the tracks, and when a skater crosses a loop, it sends a signal to a decoder which identifies the athlete and provides a timestamp.

M&S Consulting’s integration solution uses a Raspberry Pi to capture timing data from the decoder and transmit it to the cloud, where it is picked up by IBM Watson IoT and then streamed to the coaches’ custom iPad app.

What the data can tell us

The ability to track the progress of individual skaters means that coaches can instantly get their hands on vital information, such as:

  • How performance breaks down over the course of a lap
  • How much stress an athlete is taking during training
  • Whether that stress level is too high or too low

And the insights go beyond on-ice tracking data too. A ‘readiness’ dashboard shows the physical and mental condition of each athlete, based on how well or badly they slept, whether they are recovering from injury, or are simply under the weather that day.

With these insights, coaches can create optimal training plans to suit particular skaters’ needs. Training loads, regimes and session targets can be adapted to reflect what the skater is capable of that day.

Learn more

You can see US Speedskating’s Individual Training Solution in action at InterConnect, and keep up to date with the event on our blog.