Tom Drowley has 10 years of coaching experience and is currently working as a strength and conditioning coach for the Rio 2016 Olympic champions Great Britain’s Women’s Field Hockey.
Recently, Tom has been tasked with the challenge of preparing his team for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. In addition to dealing with the challenges of handling Covid-19. Knowing this off-season would be tough for his players, he laid out a plan to succeed in the face of a lockdown and his inability to be in the same space as his team.
“We needed to modify and streamline the use of diagnostics within Great Britain’s Women Hockey,” Drowley said. “To support our new objectives and back-up the messages we were sharing with the players and the coaches we needed to build a culture of durability in players and staff groups.” The best way of accomplishing his goals was by investing in wearable technology and building mathematical models for predictive analysis.
In the presentation, ‘The obstacle is the way: preparing for the unique demands & challenges of Tokyo 2020’ Drowley explains more:
- [04:03] Adaptable & Individualized Physical Programmers
- [14:27] Utilising the variance of an Olympic international calendar
Athlete buy-in through teaching
While sports analytics and data science is trending, Drowley found there were still some obstacles due to suspicions over exactly how the players would benefit.
In order for a player to truly gain an advantage from the diagnostics, Drowley prioritized the role of teaching his players the basics. He found that sports analysts are able to take data and create insightful yet simple visualizations to communicate to not just the team’s coaches and management but he aligned players’ goals with the technology, which brought a great deal of satisfaction.
Drowley and his team are planning to win a second straight Olympic gold medal at Tokyo 2020. This came from re-thinking player safety, injury prevention, and optimizing best practices in the rehabilitation of injuries.
In fact, Britain’s field hockey team is favoured to win Gold based on talent and skills. Drowley feels, “it would be only injury that could keep this team from repeating. We want to become the world’s next dynasty and to do that they must stay healthy and injury-free. This Gold Medal hopeful team made a critical stride forward and partnered with Catapult Sports. Re-learning new methodologies and integrating technology into his team’s daily work. The result has given Drowley discernible results in both the health and durability of his players.
Drowley’s pursuit of Olympic golds, championships, and prolonged success in the sport of field hockey stems also from how he empowers assistant coaches. He wants them to become the architects of learning environments and acknowledges that the development journey to becoming a world-class hockey player is complex, non-linear, and unique to each player.
Therefore, Drowley stressed that, “to ensure the team shared goals and were playing together, we could not risk individualized programs impacting the togetherness of the group.” The analysis and integration of Catapult’s proven approach to supporting a sports team have become a linchpin. Better aligning the goals of players, coaches and management in Britain’s illustrious women’s field hockey.
Image credit: @GBHockey