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The Finnish Olympic Committee: Supporting elite sport coaching with data management

Time for improved sports results and better wellbeing with advanced analytics.

Teemu Vähäkainu

Head of Healthcare

The challenge

How to develop elite sports performance with advanced data analytics? The Finnish Olympic Committee wanted to enable coaches a holistic view of athletes' current condition and support coaching decisions in real-time.

The solution

360° Training and Wellbeing based product offers a clean platform for examining key training data. The app collects data from multiple sources and supports coaching by presenting data in a format that is easy to view and analyse. 

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About the customer

The Finnish Olympic Committee is a national sports and physical activity organization which works towards increasing Finns’ participation in physical activity and enabling success in elite sports. The Finnish Olympic Committee cooperates with 88 member and partner organizations. The National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations, and the International Olympic Committee together form the Olympic Movement.

The Finnish Olympic Committee’s High Performance Unit leads and coordinates the network of Finnish elite sports. The High Performance Unit and sports federations together account for the long-term success in elite sport.

www.olympiakomitea.fi 

Having all data in one place offers a holistic view of an athlete’s situation, enables training optimized to match athlete’s current alertness, and in long run, helps to achieve optimal performance.

A single system

Having all data in one place offers a holistic view of an athlete’s situation, enables training optimized to match athlete’s current alertness, and in long run, helps to achieve optimal performance.

The 360° Training and Wellbeing based app meets all legal requirements for gathering, storing, and managing data. Sharing data between athlete and coach is seamless and secure.

Secure data sharing

The 360° Training and Wellbeing based app meets all legal requirements for gathering, storing, and managing data. Sharing data between athlete and coach is seamless and secure.

In group view, the user can monitor entire group or team’s key information gathered from multiple sources at one glance. In personal view, user can delve into an individual’s information more closely.

Comparison of data made easy

In group view, the user can monitor entire group or team’s key information gathered from multiple sources at one glance. In personal view, user can delve into an individual’s information more closely.

Making data synchronization and comparison easy 

The Finnish Olympic Committee concluded in their 2018 investigation that several well-functioning systems are at use in Finland’s elite sports. However, these systems function independently and are designed for the needs of team sports. 

Together with their partners, The Finnish Olympic Committee wanted to create a platform that enables the gathering of data from multiple sources, as well as the managing and sharing of data securely. Furthermore, the Committee wanted to support individual and snow sports, both of which are essential parts of Finnish sport. 

The training centers of sports institutes all use different systems, and the systems do not communicate with each other. When athletes are tested in these centers, the data remains at the institute and is not available for wider use. Similarly, when an athlete keeps an electronic training diary, it will not be compiled anywhere. The data remains compartmentalized by athlete”, Mika Lehtimäkithe Director of The Finnish Olympic Committee’s High Performance Unitexplains the starting point for the development project. 

The goal of having a single platform for the data is to support decision-making in coaching and to free up time spent gathering and comprising data manually. In the long run, the aim is to gain comparative data, which will benefit not only the athlete and the training, but also the development of different sports. 

“The potential for increasing our understanding of sport, on the individual level and in general, is substantial.”

Mika Lehtimäki

Director, The Finnish Olympic Committee’s High Performance Unit

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Coaching by data 

Information can be systematically analysed and utilized when data from different elite sport systems, such as wellness censors, measuring devices, and training diaries, is gathered to a single location.  

The Finnish Olympic Committee’s High Performance Unit’s Director Mika Lehtimäki describes a gradually expanding data lake, which makes it possible to extract insight from large cohorts and averages, and to create training baselines for different sports. 

For the individual, the platform compiles not only the results and effectiveness of trainings, but information also on the athlete’s wellbeing, like sleep time data. The trainee’s recovery data is instantly and readily available in the morning, which facilitates coaching decisions and makes it possible to match daily trainings with the athlete’s real-time condition. Furthermore, combining recovery data with the athlete’s health data makes it possible to monitor stress and strain early, hence supporting injury prevention. In the long run, sport-specific data from competitions, trainings, and tests creates a baseline of the sport and helps athletes to compare results to other athletes. 

“When data is being gathered extensively, we gain a more accurate basis for sport-specific analysis. If an athlete aims for the international top of a sport, what does that specific sport require and what kind of qualities are needed at different stages of an athlete’s lifeThis kind of information will have implications also on the training. Equally, we are interested in data that is not sport-specific. For example, how much do adolescent athletes sleep on average, is their recovery adequate, what is their nutritional status etc.”, Lehtimäki explains. 

“This is coaching by data. We want to create a situation where we can provide well-analysed data to athletes and coaches, incorporate the information into the coaching process, and make data-driven adjustments to the process along the way.”

Mika Lehtimäki

Director, The Finnish Olympic Committee’s High Performance Unit

 

Strong partnerships and collaboration 

The application tailored for the Finnish Olympic Committee to support elite sports coaching is based on TietoEVRY’s 360° Training and Wellbeing product. The application was developed in a pilot project in 2019–2020. The application development continues – data sources are being added while more and more sports test the app. 

In the pilot phase, the system was developed together with coaches who work with Nordic combined and track and field athletes. The data has been gathered and combined from the eLogger training diary app, Polar’s Polar Flow data base, and the test and health data entered directly to the app by athletes and coaches. 

“The system brings the data together. Being able to monitor all the athletes in a group allows the coach to form a big picture of the trainees’ situation and to make well-informed coaching decisions”, Manager Olli Ohtonen from the Olympic Training Center Vuokatti-Ruka says. 

Going forward, the goal is to involve the entire sport community in the development work, which for the Olympic Committee’s Digital Manager Juha Saapunki includes training centers, sports academies, sports federations, sports clubs, and the coaches and athletes active in the aforementioned organizationsVital partners to the project are also the Research Center for Olympic Sports, University of Jyväskylä’s Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences and the Faculty of Information Technology, and other universities and colleges. 

It wouldn’t be possible to build this system without IT specialists, like TietoEVRY. Along with information system suppliers, we have partnered with different IoT system suppliers, such as Polar. It’s fantastic that some of the best expertise in sports metrics and measurement can be found in Finland”, Saapunki says. 

“The TietoEVRY collaboration was all about finding a solution: How can we help the progress of data management in elite sports?”

Juha Saapunki

Digital Manager, The Finnish Olympic Committee

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