February 2, 2023

How a Human Performance Optimization Platform Delivers Value to Colleges

Collegiate athletic departments are investing significant resources in capturing student-athlete data and building out sports science or high performance teams. All too often, this information is of limited value because it’s collected and managed inconsistently, stored in silos, and isn’t readily available to those who need it.

Athlete Management Systems (AMS’s) were supposed to solve this problem. But AMS’s have earned a bad reputation over the past few decades because they’ve consistently over-promised and under-delivered. The overly-standardized features and functionality offered by many commercial AMS’s limit flexibility and subsequently end up dictating how a performance team must work. 

In contrast, a Human Performance Optimization (HPO) platform like Smartabase provides performance and medical practitioners a purpose-built solution. By providing data integrations and configuration tools, users can build a solution to support their specific strategies to improve athlete availability and performance. 

This flexibility is why schools like the University of Texas, LSU, Northwestern, and the University of Oregon rely on Smartabase. Below, we explore how a HPO platform delivers value to collegiate athletic departments.

Uniting Medical and Performance Data 

Many colleges have separate systems for managing athletes’ medical and performance data. As a result, practitioners in both areas tend to operate in silos. A HPO platform helps break down these walls and brings staff members together by putting comprehensive data in a single repository. This facilitates a more collaborative, proactive, and multidisciplinary approach to performance and care. The ability to access all relevant information in one place also saves time and gives staff more bandwidth to devote to building relationships with student-athletes.  

“Whether it’s nutrition, medical, strength and conditioning, sport-focused, or behavioral health information, all of it goes directly into Smartabase, where it’s readily available to any authorized staff member who needs it to make decisions about athlete health, development, or mental wellbeing.” 
Travis Vlantes, Director of Applied Sports Science, University of Texas

Delivering Personalized Care at Scale

Practitioners like athletic trainers, physicians, strength and conditioning coaches, and dietitians are often spread thin because of the high number of student-athletes they support, many at different stages of their seasons. Putting a HPO platform in place empowers even the smallest human performance staff to have a greater impact on athletes. It allows overstretched practitioners to amplify their effectiveness by providing an accurate, real-time, and holistic picture of every student-athlete while automated flags help focus on those that need more attention. Armed with this information, medical, performance, and coaching staff can make better decisions and provide more personalized care at scale. 

“On the performance side, we have to be that much more precise in our ability to individually assess where that athlete is at and be more targeted in our approach in supporting their performance, instead of having a large, cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all program.”

Jordan Troester, Director of Performance and Sports Science at the University of Oregon
“We needed to get sports medicine, sports performance, and sports nutrition on the same page, with one access point to get all the information they need to address the needs of athletes and coaches. Then we’re able to bring in our athletes and our coaches to that platform to make communication easier and give them consistent information daily to make better decisions based on where they’re at physically and mentally, and their ability to perform.”
Jason Pullara, former Assistant Athletic Director at Northwestern University

Improving Recruiting Engagement 

In addition to showing off your facilities during a campus visit, you can impress recruits by highlighting the investments in technology that improve the athlete experience and help them perform at their best. 

“One of the big pieces we show in recruiting pitches is a player dashboard, which centralizes all of our athletes’ data in a kind of Madden profile that they can access. It creates a picture of how we’re going to develop you here, the data points that are important, and how we’ll track you over the long term to show where you’re getting better. They haven’t seen anything like what we’re doing with Smartabase on their other visits. It helps us stand out as an athletic development department.”
Scott Kuehn, Manager of Applied Sport Science at LSU Football

Continual Athlete Development

The ability to target precise information and chart progress over time makes it easier to highlight strengths and weaknesses. A system like Smartabase helps guide student-athletes’ development throughout their college career and enables coaches and performance staff to deliver personalized programming and service, creating a richer collegiate athletics experience.  

“When an athlete is a freshman at UT, there’s a huge scope of improvement, particularly for someone without a lot of previous training experience. But once they’ve been in one of our programs for a couple of years, that potential to improve becomes smaller and smaller, which puts an emphasis on us identifying the few key areas that they can still hone to keep improving their performance. Smartabase helps us do this by allowing us to target specific data sets that pertain to qualities where there is the greatest room for improvement.”
Travis Vlantes, Director of Applied Sports Science, University of Texas

Program Continuity

One of the biggest challenges in college sports is staff turnover. A HPO platform such as Smartabase enables a college to retain important data and knowledge and minimize operational disruptions when individuals leave. 

“When we talk about investing in a human performance program to administration, our biggest selling point is that it’s bigger than the people. It’s the processes, clarity, consistency, and the continuity of those processes across sports and through time. Ultimately, that gives the athlete a better experience.” 
Jordan Troester, Director of Performance and Sports Science at the University of Oregon

Reducing Injury Claims

Injury Risk Profiling is a primary use case for a HPO Platform. By reducing preventable injuries through data-driven interventions, your performance staff can have a positive impact on the bottom line. 

We’re cutting claim costs by 90 percent with the interventions that we drove through this past year, this is going to bear on the premiums paid in the future, and we’re saving the school money by undertaking this approach.”
Scott Kuehn, Manager of Applied Sport Science at LSU Football

HPO as Part of Your Operating System

A HPO platform delivers value in the many ways described above as a stand-alone solution. Those benefits are amplified when your HPO platform is part of an integrated Operating System for Sports™. From recruiting and compliance, to community and brand-building, Teamworks provides the suite of tools you need to create an exceptional student-athlete experience and help your staff have a greater impact.

If you’d like to learn more about how colleges are using Smartabase or any other product on The  Operating System for Sports™, please contact us

Latest from our blog

Join our mailing list and stay up to date with Teamworks and our suite of products