The Importance of Streamlined Communication in Elite Sport

22 March 2021

Elite sports teams are complex. The success of a team will often depend on how well a collection of unique individuals with specific individual goals and targets, can form successful relationships, on and off the field. To achieve peak performance, teams must act cohesively and they must be adaptable to a constantly changing environment.

To become cohesive, a team must communicate effectively. Cluttered communication channels can cause confusion and frustration amongst both staff and athletes, which can ultimately result in individuals not maximising their preparation resulting in underperformance for them and ultimately the team. Teams that perform consistently, understand the importance of clear, relevant, and focused communication, and will continually strive to improve their communication, methods, styles, and channels.

Old-school communication methods like writing the daily schedule on a whiteboard, posting a static picture of it into a messaging group, or filling out questionnaires on paper are time-consuming and inconvenient. Not to mention ineffective and disengaging in today’s tech-centric world.

With the seemingly limitless communication apps available for mobile and laptop devices, it can be difficult to know which one will work best for your team. Messenger applications like WhatsApp and Viber can be overwhelming with cluttered group chats, full of irrelevant information. These free apps also pose a data security risk.

Digital communication and scheduling tools like Kairos have quickly become the most effective and sought-after way to streamline communication within a team environment. Even sports tech platforms like Athlete Management Systems that have added communications functionality often fall down. They tend to be an afterthought and often lack key communications functionality and are not intuitive to use.

 The Importance of Streamlined Communication for Athletes

An athlete’s life is generally quite chaotic. Unlike a regular nine-to-five job, an athlete’s schedule is likely to change from one week to the next, and even day-to-day. A planned schedule can help an athlete maximize their time. Sarah Pavan, a beach volleyball Olympian, and world champion highlights how important it is to have a schedule:

“During indoor season, I love the weekly schedules and knowing what to expect for a given day of the week. Even when I am on the beach, there is something very comforting about having practice in the morning, workout in the afternoon, and the evening free. It’s in the way I’m wired; I like to prepare myself for what is to come, and having a routine takes away the surprise factor that I don’t always enjoy.”

In team sports, it should be a priority of staff to keep their athletes informed of weekly or monthly schedules, well ahead of time.

By being provided with a schedule in advance, an athlete can establish better control over their professional and personal lives. They can plan and align their nutrition, rest times, and sleep cycles around their training sessions.

Streamlined communication becomes even more important during multi-day training camps or tournaments where a team is together for an extended length of time. Athletes rely on staff during these times to provide clear communication around meetings and mealtimes, training sessions, physio timetables, and other daily activity. 

In elite camp environments, athletes are often asked to provide daily data such as well-being scores and other daily measurements. It is important then, that athletes are able to communicate this information quickly and easily to staff members.

Staff members rely on this data to monitor their athletes and appropriately plan training loads and recovery sessions. 

With the sports tech industry booming, a need has also arisen to streamline the communication and sharing of analytic data. Metrics captured during games or training from GPS tracking devices or heart rate monitors are important tools that players can use to track their performance and set new benchmarks.

This individualized data should be delivered promptly to players – preferably on the same day that the data is captured, or in some cases immediately after a session.

Communication channels established within a team environment are extremely important. Clear communication of daily and weekly schedules, and access to personalized performance reports, can allow players to maximize the control they have over their environment. The more control an athlete has over their environment, the more empowered they become.

Being comfortable and in control within a team environment off the field often leads to boosted confidence and improves performances on the field. 

The Importance of Streamlined Communication for Team Staff 

Staff members that work in high-performance environments understand the importance of communication in dealing with the pressures and demands of their job.

The off-pitch workload of staff members is often higher than that of the athletes. Not only do they need to monitor the players, but they also need to prepare, manage, and communicate schedules, protocols, documentation and game plans. To give the team the best chance of success, staff members across all disciplines need to communicate consistently.

The communication process should be established early on within a team environment and there should be clarity amongst all staff members including coaches, medical staff, analysts, nutritionists, strength and conditioning coaches, and managers.

This is where a centralized communication platform like Kairos can be extremely valuable to staff. Kairos allows staff to interact and communicate instantly with each other. It also allows staff members to share relevant documents and use scheduling templates to save time during the planning process.

Staff members can also use Kairos to interact with their athletes in an empowering way. They can schedule calendar changes, set time slots for appointments, and share documents. Any changes made by staff on the live Kairos platform can be set up to automatically update and send alerts straight to player devices.

The planning features and adaptability of the Kairos platform are important in avoiding communication breakdowns between staff and between staff and players.

Communication breakdowns within a team environment can be detrimental to overall performance. Not only can poor communication channels cause anxiety and frustration, but they can also have a direct impact on athlete well-being and player availability.

A 2019 study by Swedish researchers analysed the effect that communication quality had on player injuries. Specifically, the study looked at the communication between medical staff and the coaches within 36 elite football teams in Europe. They found that the injury burden and incidence of severe injuries was significantly higher for teams where the quality of communication between the head coach and medical staff was low. 

This highlights just how important it is for teams to establish robust internal communication pathways.

 Kairos – The Streamlined Scheduling and Communication Platform for Elite Sports Teams

A centralized platform, like Kairos, is superior to outdated and messy communication channels that can waste time and cause confusion for team members. Kairos declutters communication by providing relevant and timely information to team members. The platform can help clear the minds of both athletes and staff so that they can focus on what matters – gameday