SureAthlete’s Insights on Motivation: Do You Need a Smack or a Hug? (And Other Nuances) – SportTechie

Posted: July 2, 2020 at 1:49 am


without comments

In the immediate aftermath of the Red Sox 2013 World Series title, as the players popped champagne in the clubhouse, the clubs general manager at the time, Ben Cherington, stood on the Fenway Park outfield grass and discussed the importance of clubhouse chemistry. The Red Sox had added a handful of moderately talented but eminently likable free agents who rallied after that springs Boston Marathon bombing.

Its hard to say its not valuable, Cherington said. I still dont know that any of us know how to engineer it, but when youre around it and you feel the group coming together like it did, I dont have any doubt that its valuable.

The proliferation of advanced performance data in all sports, but especially in baseball, has made people wonder about the importance of intangibles such as clubhouse chemistry. But there might be something to it beyond Cheringtons hunch. Entering the unique sports workplace is SureAthlete, a startup that uses psychometric evaluations and behavioral analytics to assess and train what it calls the emotional, relational and team intelligence of coaches and players.

SureAthlete is a sister company to SurePeople, whose foundational tool, Prism, has been used by such corporations and institutions as Comcast, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Boston Childrens Hospital, iRobot, Forrester and the University of Miami. A psychologist named Denny Howard developed some of the foundational algorithms upon which the SurePeople team enhanced and augmented the work. Machine learning and AI also have been applied to help scale the product.

SPORTTECHIE DAILY:Get the Latest Industry Updates in Our Morning Newsletter

Prisms multiple-choice questionnaire can be completed in about 30 minutes (there are 130 questions) and yields insights on 54 traits about personality, response to pressure, method of processing information, decision making, motivation, fundamental needs and conflict management. There are two tools within Prism that help youtake action with the evaluations: Relationship Advisor for one-on-one interactions and Team Advisor for collaborating with and communicating to the whole group.

If you don't have a clear understanding of your own strengths, blind spots, weaknesses, it's hard to grow and develop and be successful in personal or professional situations, says SurePeople founder and CEO Niko Drakoulis. And as Aristotle stated many, many moons ago, self knowledge is the beginning of all wisdom.

SureAthlete, which launched in January, is seeking an innovation partner in each major sports league and Power 5 conference to help refine the product; the Miami Hurricanes football team was the first to sign on under coach Manny Diaz. Three Hall of Fame athletes in pro football, baseball and soccerBrett Favre, Andre Dawson and Brian McBridehave joined as advisors.

There's no good or bad or right or wrong in any of this, says SureAthlete CEO Sean Flynn, a former executive with MLBs Miami Marlins, the NHLs Tampa Bay Lightning and the USLs Miami FC. This is basically just putting a mirror to somebody's face and showing them, Heres how youre made up.

Some traits are pliable; most are not. You're not going to change how you're wired, Drakoulis says. What you're going to change is the understanding of why you feel a certain way and how you should react in that way. He gives an example of how he used to share grand visions for the company with SurePeoples CTO, Dax Abraham, a precise thinker who wanted concrete details to start a project. Drakoulis hopes users view SurePeople as an instruction manual to foster better relationships; he learned to change the way he conveyed info to Abraham, saying, If I did not change the way I communicate with Dax, he would not have lasted here.

During a Zoom call with SportTechie, Drakoulis called up Abrahams SurePeople profile on his Amazon Alexa, which said in part, Dax is a precise, systematic worker and thinker who tends to follow procedures both at work and in his personal life. He has a soft side that shows his modesty and willingness to accommodate others. He is conscientious and thorough when performing work that requires attention to detail and accuracy. In fact, Dax is exceptionally detail-oriented, discovering information that others have a tendency to overlook. He also tends to prefer a predictable environment with specifics on what is expected, how much time is involved and on what basis the work is likely to be evaluated.

David Ortiz celebrates in the clubhouse after the Boston Red Sox beat the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of the 2013 World Series. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Relationship Advisor helps teammates work together betterhockey linemates, a pitcher-catcher battery, a pick-and-roll combowhile also helping a coach better approach a player who needs to make an adjustment. When Dennis Rodman joined the 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty for their last three titles, coach Phil Jackson had to maneuver deftly to insert the supremely talented but mercurial rebounder into the mix.

You needed a coach that understood psychology and understood, How do you get Dennis Rodman to step up and fit in this group? And how do you get the group to accept him for all he brings because he's going help you if you accept him? Drakoulis says. And that's really what we're bringing, but in a digital format, in a scalable format, in a way where we can be predictive and we can be prescriptive on what has to happen.

So now a coach doesn't have to be a trained psychologist. We can give them an application that's going to say, Hey, you want to motivate Player X? Here's what drives Player Xits a smack in the ass saying, Come on, dude, step it up, you got itwhereas other players may just need a hug.

SIMULATORS:Training the Brain to Stop Thinking

Cherington (now the GM of the Pittsburgh Pirates) acknowledged a blind spot on how to confidently engineer clubhouse chemistry, which has long been an elusive goal. As objective analysis has permeated sports, clubhouse chemistrys very existenceor at least the magnitude of its impacthas been called into question. The Red Sox have experienced both ends of the spectrum. Their late 1970s teams, for instance, were derided as a me-first culture whose lack of camaraderie was coined by the pithy phrase 25 guys, 25 cabs.

The 2013 Red Sox, on the other hand, had signed five relatively low-cost free agents who had garnered a good clubhouse guy reputation: Shane Victorino, Ryan Dempster, David Ross, Mike Napoli and Jonny Gomes.

In baseball, those five represented 20% of the active roster. On smaller teamsNBA rosters carry only 15even less turnover is needed to generate a new spirit around a team.

STADIUMS OF THE FUTURE:How Do You Engineer a Moment of Awe?

You'll see some of that change with just one person, Flynn says. Our goal is, ultimately, to start to define what these cultures look like and every organization is going to have a different culture, right? That's kind of driven by ownership and the executive team, what that culture looks like.

Culture and chemistry alone wont win championships, of course, but they can make sure athletes extract their full potential from their talent.

First and foremost in sports, the physical is always critical, right? You have to have to have the ability to play the game, Drakoulis says. So once you get past that checkmark where this person has the physical ability, the next, we believe, is the mental abilitythe ability to really hone in on the mental side of the game. How do you react in the moment when you're under pressure, when the game's on the line?

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let us know at [emailprotected]

Read more:
SureAthlete's Insights on Motivation: Do You Need a Smack or a Hug? (And Other Nuances) - SportTechie

Related Post

Written by admin |

July 2nd, 2020 at 1:49 am

Posted in Motivation