Early-generation AMS systems were a flop. They failed to deliver on the “moneyball” promise of data-driven performance. Rightfully so, smart, resourceful and technically savvy people built their own data and analytics platforms to suit their unique needs. Fast forward to today, where AMS solutions have matured significantly over the last decade, and the gold-standard solution looks drastically different. Below, performance leaders at the Tampa Bay Rays, LA Kings, and Australian Institute of Sport (AIS), share how a hybrid AMS + In-house solution delivers superior value to their organizations.
A Look Back to How We Got Here
The commercial success of Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball and the movie adaptation created a paradigm shift toward using data-driven insights to improve team preparation and athlete development. The ability of an AMS to integrate multiple different data sources, aggregate them, and present them in an understandable and actionable way enables high-performance organizations to turn information into knowledge and wisdom.
As early AMS offerings often overpromised and underdelivered, some organizations decided to build in-house applications instead. In the past few years, there’s been a renaissance in the middle ground between a third-party AMS and homegrown systems and the gap between organizations’ visions and what vendors can actually deliver has shrunk considerably. Now the optimal strategy is a combination of both.
Tampa Bay Rays: Creating a Unified Performance Science Solution
To trace the progression toward such a hybrid solution, we can look to the stories of several elite groups. “Initially, our AMS complemented the system we already had in place to handle a ton of baseball-specific data sources,” said Joseph Myers, director of baseball performance science at the Tampa Bay Rays. “Smartabase started out on the performance science, medical, and strength and conditioning side, and its versatility allowed us to expand quickly. During COVID we shut down spring training and had to build a way to coach players from afar. Smartabase allowed us to do this quickly, and it's now a huge part of our player development.”
AIS: Scaling to 42 Sports, 10,000 Athletes, and 2,000 Staff
Pursuing a hybrid approach not only benefits individual teams but also national governing bodies, Olympic committees, and other organizations that oversee multiple disciplines. “We’ve hit our 10th year with Smartabase and have managed to scale it out to all our 42 sports and institutes and meet their different needs,” said Tom Crameri, athlete management system project manager at the AIS. “We can quickly adapt and scale it out to a national network with over 10,000 athletes and 2,000 staff across our network. There’s been an explosion of data, and this AMS system has grown alongside that. We can capture some data sets in our other system and join these with the information in Smartabase for our practitioners.”
LA Kings: Providing Greater Flexibility and Stability
NHL teams are also benefiting from combining a homegrown system and third-party AMS. “We needed a centralized integrator for all this information,” said Matt Price, director of strength and performance science at the LA Kings. “The vision was ahead of the pragmatism initially, so we pivoted to an in-house solution. When the person who built it moved on, we were left without an AMS. We needed something that checked more boxes and created long-term stability, which led us to Smartabase. It provided us with a lot of flexibility, customization, and creativity to display the data. Here we are a decade later, excited and happy with what we’ve got in place.”
A hybrid in-house solution and AMS such as Smartabase empowers elite sports teams and military units to capture, visualize, and act upon real-time data, facilitating faster and better decision-making. To learn more about how your organization can benefit from the same AMS trusted by the AIS, Tampa Bay Rays, LA Kings, and hundreds of other high-performance organizations, click here.