In this episode, we give you a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the podcast and share highlights from our favorite episodes from Season 1


  • Amy Moreng – Producer of The Vanguard Roundtable & Marketing Specialist, Smartabase Linkedin
  • Jen Casson – Director of Demand Gen, Smartabase Linkedin


The Vanguard Roundtable Podcast is now available for you to catch up on every episode anytime, anywhere. Follow us on SpotifyApple, and Google Podcasts.





Amy Moreng 0:04
Welcome to the Vanguard roundtable podcast where we discuss the latest trends driving the human performance industry forward. In this episode, we give you a behind the scenes look at the production of the podcast and share highlights from our favorite episodes from season one. I’m Amy Moreng producer of the Vanguard roundtable podcast and I’m joined by Jen Casson the original producer and Smartabase’s head of content. So, Jen, I’m gonna kick us off here with a few questions. So the first one, why, why did Smartabase create the Vanguard Roundtable?

Jen Casson 0:43
Hi, Amy, I’m super excited that we’re doing this kind of indices and recap. Yeah, why? Why the Vanguard roundtable. So it really started my job. Back then, and still today is around content and content marketing for smartabase. So just kind of one day, our as a lot of things happen. Our Chief Revenue Officer at the time Dave Grant was like, hey, you know, what, if we did like a monthly webinar, I was like, okay, you know, let me think about that. And then there was another one of our human performance consultants, Emma Osterman, who has hosted the majority of our of these podcasts, she a, she’s really well connected in the street, from her background, and then her work here. And she just expressed kind of an interest in wanting to have these type of conversations with, with our clients and with a community. So you know, the stars just kind of seem to align. So it really wasn’t quite like it was like, Alright, we’re gonna do this. And now it was kind of like, okay, what exactly are we going to do? And how are we going to make this? Excuse me, I think the biggest question was, how are we going to make this different than everything else out there? How are we going to make this something that people would want to listen to, you know, every week or once a month, or however often we’re going to do it. So we spent a little bit of time really thinking of what angle we wanted to take on the human performance industry, because there’s a lot of good stuff out there, like, PC performance podcast is a great example. But and so we didn’t want to duplicate that, you know, part of it, too, was both in my time here. And then, you know, I know, in Emma’s experience, a lot of a lot of what we run into in the industry is just like the status quo, you know, it’s like, oh, you know, we don’t really know why we do it this way. It’s just like, that’s how it’s always been done. Right. So we wanted to kind of do something that would like shake things up a little bit. Yeah, you know, start new conversations. And, you know, I think both of us felt that there were certain conversations that weren’t, weren’t being had certain questions that weren’t being asked or and topics that just weren’t being addressed. So that’s where it kind of the idea came for the Vanguard roundtable is we wanted to talk about talking about things in our industry that we think we needed to be talked about, and talked or talked about more, to help move the industry forward, to kind of help shake things up. So you know, that’s that we wanted to hit on topics, we wanted to pull people on who were trying to change things and trying to help help us think about things differently or do things differently. So that was kind of the genesis of, of, of the Vanguard roundtable. And, and why we started again, all its creations,

Amy Moreng 3:15
I think it’s a great, I mean, obviously, I love that we do it, I think it’s a really cool idea from that, like, you know, there’s there is so much out there, there are so many podcasts out there, but it’s different, it’s different in the sense of choosing those taboo topics. So that kind of leads me and you kind of touched on this a little bit, but leads us into the next question I have for us. How do you how do you go about deciding on those topics, and, and choosing those guests, you know, like, creating different viewpoints, and just making getting a getting a whole picture on on some of these things? Yeah.

Jen Casson 3:51
Well, and that was kind of, you know, part of the idea was, we didn’t want to talk about smartabase. You know, we didn’t want to want this to be some kind of like marketing thing in disguise, which really kind of opened up all the topics that we can talk about, like as long as it had to do with human performance. And And ideally, it would somehow tie back to the idea of using data and human performance. You know, it was a good topic for us. So the range of topics was really kind of anything. So at the very beginning, we actually had kind of this like, brainstorm session where we pulled everyone here in the in the Colorado smartabase office into a room over lunch and just brainstormed a bunch of topics like hey, what what do you think is controversial? What are some of the like debates you find yourself having either internally or with clients, you know, so we just kind of started with this laundry list of topics. And I think that gave us a good jumping off point. And then a lot of times where we would find topics was within other topics. So we would have a podcast, for example, there was one that we did on on diet culture, or actually was on body image. Yeah, if you remember this, this was a great one, but there was discussion in their Rachel manner, I think was was the guest who had mentioned this idea of just, you know, the whole, like diet, culture and support, right. And then we ended up doing another that LOA body comp testing, that was all in there in body image. So then we ended up doing another pet podcast episode where a body con testing. So that’s just one example. But a lot of a lot of ideas were sparked from from other other podcast ideas. So there’s definitely no lack of topics. Yeah. Yeah. And then often things like that are in the news. So for example, gosh, I think it was last summer was at the Olympics last summer. Well, there was a lot of conversation around transgender athletes and committing a sport. So very hot topic, very controversial topic. So that’s when we decided to do something on the our episode on gender identity. So that that was just kind of a timely, a timely topic. And then as far as where we get our panelists, you know, a lot of them come from the relationships that people have here. You know, a lot of our human performance consultants come from either, you know, working in pro sports, or college athletic environments. So they, they’re really well connected. So we often tap into their relationships. And then obviously, our clients are a great source of, of expertise that we, that we like to call on. But then same same thing, like with the topics, a lot of our panelists would, would refer someone like, Oh, I know, a great person who would be perfect for that topic. So that’s where a lot of our panelists came from were references from other panelists, which was great, because you know, then we basically like, I think, before someone wants to come on to a podcast, they kind of want to know you’re legit. Yeah. For sure. Having having our panelists refer us definitely helped us get get some really, really solid guests on. So I think that’s, that’s probably the primary ways that we decided on our topics, and and the guests and, you know, it was both both in, in sport and military. So we would always try to I mean, I think that’s the other thing we wanted to do with this idea of the roundtable was get diverse voices. So diversity from the perspective of, you know, race and background and you know, that life experience, but then, industry as well, yeah, we serve both sport and military and public safety. So we want to have those voices in a lot of what we do. There’s a lot of overlap between between industries. So yeah, that’s kind of how we went about doing topics. But I have a question for you. Yeah. So because when we first started the podcast, well, when we first started, it was actually a webinar. It was a live webinar, right. We had to have it at a specific time, we spent like two weeks promoting it, but then at some point, we decided to move to a podcast. So take us back to kind of that time, and like why we decided to do that.

Amy Moreng 7:56
Yeah, I mean, the the webinar aspect or format, rather, was definitely working. But it definitely could have been improved in the sense of, you know, our audiences global, the people that we that we serve are the industry, everything about human performance is global. And having that webinar definitely made it a little harder for some of those key audiences that people we want to reach for them to be able to engage the same way. The cool thing about the webinar format was, in my opinion, the fact that you could have you know, you could sign up to watch it live, or you could download the recording after, but it allowed for, like, the live questions, which in some of the earlier episodes, it’s cool, you know, Mo, say, Oh, we you know, we just got in, like this live question. And that interactive piece is always cool. Definitely keeps it engaging. But it also had some, some difficulties alongside that. And I feel like in the past, oh, my gosh, past few years, especially with just tech and in music and everything, podcasts are really, they’re blowing up and stuff. So

Jen Casson 9:02
everyone in their mother has.

Amy Moreng 9:05
So So I was like, let’s do a podcast. And I think that was a great a great transition. I’ve never done done a podcast before this. So it was really cool learning experience in in so many different ways. Like, okay, who’s going to be like the best hosting website for this? How are we going to get it out there? What platforms do we want it on? You know, or is our audience on Spotify, Apple, Google podcasts? I think you said us like stitch a lot too. And we use a I think it was pod bean toast ours and that allowed us to, you know, I can upload everything there and then all at once it can be broadcast to those other platforms. Before you know, I could actually get it out there how to kind of figure out how I was going to do this. So from the

Jen Casson 9:54
day you became a podcast, Yeah, apparently.

Amy Moreng 9:57
You know, it was from the start. I was like, Okay, we need like the microphone and this and this and this. But seeing as the people, the panelists that we have on, you know, they’re not all going to be in the office we’re not it’s not an in person thing it really is trying to connect globally. So we posted them over zoom, not as the webinars were hosted. And then taking those recordings from the zoom, kind of chopping them up, and I was like, Okay, how am I going to chop this up? How am I going to make this sound good and spicy and everything. So really, it was just listening to podcasts, like Pacey performance, but also just not necessarily sport or military podcasts themselves, but exciting ones popular ones that everybody was listening to. Okay, you have, maybe you have the intro, and then you had the sound bite, and then you’re going to jump in with the questions or what’s the layout, you know, allowing the panelists to introduce themselves so that the listeners know like, Hey, this is okay, this is accredited, like, these people know what they’re talking about? They have, we have reason to believe now, what they’re saying is true, or that there’s at least some merit to it. So yeah, I think that that was that was really fun to you know, like, kind of cruising on the internet seeing okay, what, what kind of music is is fitting for this? What’s gonna sound good, what’s not. But yeah, so from there, then I think it was using went back and forth between a few different like Adobe platforms and stuff to chop it up. But a lot of it really was just trial and error and trial and error. And I think, you know, like, with anything, that’s kind of how you have to get into the flow of it. And it’s fun. I love it. And I mean, well, we

Jen Casson 11:44
would give you things like, totally out of order, because some like, we might record the actual round table with a guest one day and then another day, we might actually go back and record the intro. And then a day or two later, we might have decided, Oh, we want to change up that promo. So hey, Amy, here’s a new promo. And even even within those there’d be like, you know, five different takes that we’d say like, oh, you know, the beginning use that word. Yeah. So we were always kind of like, sorry, yeah.

Amy Moreng 12:12
I always loved listening to that. And I was always like, Hi, Amy. Like, hi. Made a little more fun to edit. But um, yeah, I think that was also kind of a learning curve is if you have like, the different sound bites here and there, or even with the recording itself being on Zoom, everyone’s volumes are different levels, or maybe they have headphones, or maybe there’s a dog barking in the background or, you know, cutting it up. So it it flows nicely, but also making it also natural in that same sense, because it is a conversation, you know, you don’t want it to be too scripted, in my opinion. So yeah, and now here we are, where I feel like this is the kind of closing of our season one, if you will,

Jen Casson 12:57
it’s been just a little over a year. Right? Yeah, we start in like November of 2021. Yeah, I want to say

Amy Moreng 13:03
yeah, so. So I mean, I’ve enjoyed listening to them. Honestly, it was a great way for me personally, to get into the human performance world and just like learning more about that. Because I mean, I learned so many things, just by listening to this, literally the same conversation over and over and over again. But then I I’m picking up different things each time. So that was kind of cool, too. I think that relays on to our audience to you know, maybe people who are have a military or tactical focus, and they’re learning things that they can pull from the sports side and vice versa. So,

Jen Casson 13:39
yeah, well, that might take us nicely into hitting on some of our favorite episodes. What’s been your favorite episode of The Vanguard roundtable?

Amy Moreng 13:47
Yeah, my favorite episode was probably the body image and performance for collegiate student athletes. Yeah, it was, I think it was my favorite because I connect to it the most out of all the episodes, just based on my previous athletic history, but I also think it just brings to light a lot of a lot of issues specifically in you know, with body image that that are more taboo and just just kind of overlooked. You know, I don’t think there’s, I don’t think there’s a single athlete out there who can wholeheartedly say that they’ve never struggled with body image, whether it’s contributing to optimizing their, their performance, one of my favorite parts that they touch on is just how how prevalent it becomes such a young age, you know, like in middle school, or even girls, I think the specific quote was like eight, nine and 10 year olds were there, they’re getting the sense of, of body image and how that relates into their sport. And I think what they should look like, yeah, like a given sport. Yeah, what they should look like. But then also you have, on the other hand, what society thinks that they should look like. And I think a really big part of that. Just that interconnectedness is okay in middle school. Maybe you’re, you’re kind of getting away from the recreational sports side of it. But now you’re really kind of honing in on a club level, or you’re trying to develop specific skills, or you want to have a specific sport you really want to focus on. But at the same time, that’s the same age as when maybe you’re getting a cell phone, and maybe you’re getting social media, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, all of that.

Jen Casson 15:24
All good things for your self image. Yeah,

Amy Moreng 15:27
exactly. And so you, you know, you want to be the best on the team, like, you’re just able to get down to this club level team, but then you’re on Instagram scrolling, and there’s just all these different viewpoints. And I think that I just think that’s a super overlooked thing. And that’s why I really liked this episode, because they really touch on just those just those like niche niche things that when, you know, maybe you’re in college, or you’re at the pro level, and there’s, I think, a bit of a lack of understanding as to why why that’s so prevalent in a lot of athletes minds and their mental health. Especially like in, in my, in my athletic career, I had, you know, I’ve seen coaches where they’re like, oh, you know, like, they have a great skill set. And they’re at a great level, but physique, and physically wise, like, they can’t compete because they don’t have the muscle or, but you know, maybe that’s leading them to be faster and stuff. So it’s really this like this, this back and forth in this poll of how can you be the best player but also like, the best version of yourself to, and society’s best version of YouTube? So I just thought that was a super interesting connection, I guess. And so I think that’s why I really, really liked this episode. But

Jen Casson 16:50
yeah, if I remember right on this when we had some, I think we had a nutritionist, a sports psychologist, and a strength and conditioning coach. Yeah. So we kind of got these, like three great perspectives of this topic, but it’s definitely one of those we need to be talking more about. Yeah. 100%? For sure. Great. Well, yeah, let’s hear a few sound bites from that.

Emma Ostermann 17:11
I noticed, you know, obviously, the 18 to 22 is a college age. But, you know, do we find that this is more prevalent for particular groups, we see this happening at an early age as we get more and more into these specializing for athletes. And you see gymnasts now stay at eight 910 years old, and they are now competing at a very high level. Have you guys in your experience, seen these with these other particular groups?

Rachel Manor 17:37
Absolutely, I think I’ve seen some research that young girls is ages like five and six, are internalizing ideas that Fitness is important, and fatness is bad. And so that’s really, really scary when little girls are getting that message that their bodies are okay, as they are and that they need to try to control it. It can make her really young.

Brina Derksen-Bergen 18:00
Yeah. My previous experience before coming to you CEOs and private practice, specializes in working with kids, adolescents and emerging adults, and definitely started to see it in elementary aged kids being concerned about weight about what they’re eating about, you know, looking like the next person I remember, on, you know, I feel like I’m fairly active on social media, but being introduced to the term hip dip there for a while and was kind of like, why do you as a middle schooler? What is this? What What are you teaching me here? So yes, very early on. And, you know, like Taylor said, you know, kind of across the spectrum of any classification or, you know, where you could place people categorize people, that it’s pretty pervasive and kind of maybe one of those things that’s flies under the radar, but, um, just because as a society, we have such an interesting relationship with health, wellness, food, body image, etc, that it just makes it that much easier for it to just kind of stay right underneath and not be discussed as much. But yeah, I’ve seen the same, the same research about, you know, very, very young kids being concerned about

Emma Ostermann 19:17
Absolutely. Let me show I do want to ask, you know, you from your previous experience, and you’ve seen it now younger and younger, and I invite everyone here to to also chime in, but what do you think is leading with this change are the shifts so now your 5656 year old is now Hey, Mom, Hey, Dad, like, whoever it might be my body, you know, I need to now focus on this, I got to lose weight, I have to do this or my body image is so important, like what’s causing that shift? Or what would you what would you think it might be leading to that?

Brina Derksen-Bergen 19:47
I mean, it’s really hard. I mean, I could, I could say there’s some, you know, you could point out certain things right, the hot thing to point stuff out right now with social media, you know, the images that we see Um, but that, you know, there’s never an easy answer for that, right? Because you talk about the the family’s relationship with food, and the things that are being modeled for the kid Oh, it could be, you know, if you’ve got a kid that’s, you know, already participating in club level sport, you know, what are those people, you know, putting out to them as far as what they look like what they should be doing? Oh, you look a little heavier. Today, you’re having a hard time jumping, you know, those kinds of things that are that are coming out and also say, you know, when you’re dealing with younger kids and early adolescence, you might not hear the exact phrase, oh, in fact, oh, this and that, you’ll have some food avoidance, you’ll have some, I’m going to work out extra hard, I’m gonna go for another run, oh, I want to stay out and play some more, I want to do this. So being able to verbalize what’s really going on within might not be exactly what’s happening. And so that might be another way that parents, coaches, people who working with them might completely miss it, until you look up and you’re like, wait a minute, there’s food restriction. There’s food avoidance, there’s, there’s all this other activity, there’s agitation, right? There’s so many different ways for people to respond to, and for us to observe what’s going on with folks. And if they can’t even articulate it for themselves, it can be very difficult to pick up one. So I think there’s

Rachel Manor 21:26
a big sort of normalization of those comments, like, Oh, I’ve shouldn’t eat that so bad. Or I’ll just burn this off later, or the, the praising of willpower, and it’s just, it’s just so normalized, and can certainly perpetuate disordered eating and negative body image and preoccupation with our food. And I think it’s so important that as clinicians and performance professionals that we’re calling this stuff out and calling out diet culture, and calling out these things that aren’t contributing to optimizing our performance, and that distract us and confuse us. So yeah, those little normalized subtle comments kids pick up on those they know, they’re, they’re smart, they are interpreting them in a certain way, that’s that’s not helpful. What’s the point about social media? Social media certainly contributes to negative body image and people’s thoughts around around food and bodies. But there are certainly spaces on social media that are also really helpful. There’s a lot of body acceptance being talked about mental health and intuitive eating. And so I think if athletes can find themselves in those spaces of social media, that can provide a lot of helpful body image resilience, if they can find it. Yeah,

Emma Ostermann 22:40
I agree. Definitely would agree. And speaking of social media, Taylor, I’m gonna actually pose this question to you, you know, for me, when I was a strengthing, auditioning coach, you’d have an athlete, and maybe all you have experiences like, Hey, I just noticed this workout on like, on this Instagram app. And you’ve probably seen that, like, Hey, I just noticed, like this recovery information, like this recovery modality that you can use, you know, within the athletic training room, you know, when you have an athlete, when you have an individual who comes to you shows you this social media post that says like, Hey, maybe I should be doing this. How do you navigate that conversation? So it’s, yes, I’m acknowledging that Yep, you’re, you’re viewing it, you’re seeing it, you have access to it. But it’s, it’s obviously gonna be an education point, like, how do you navigate that conversation on your site? Daily?

Taylor Lipinsky 23:27
Yeah, we actually had a big issue when there was like a Netflix documentary that came out a few years ago, and our entire cross country team wanted to switch diets. And it was in the middle of cross country season. And whenever they bring something to me, I kind of push them towards the proper professional, to give them the answer. So when it was switching their whole diet, it’s like, Okay, let’s go talk to our dietician. Before we have this discussion, and just decide we’re going to change all these things. Like let’s make sure we talked to the proper professional, to integrate these things into your life, if that’s what you decide to do. Like, if you want to decide to do this workout or you want to decide to switch diets, then we’ll work with you on it, but you need to seek resources from the proper professional as well before you make those decisions. It’s kind of how I tried to go

Brina Derksen-Bergen 24:16
about it. You know, Rachel mentioning there’s, there’s there’s good spaces and bad spaces right online. And I think across the spectrum, right, you get the workout. Take a look at this workout. I’ll get I saw this tic toc and I think I have this diagnosis. It’s like, okay, tell me more. What are the similarities that you’re seeing? So there’s, like you said, there’s opportunities for education. And there’s also opportunities to model hey, let’s bring it back in and like Taylor said, let’s make sure that we’re involving the right people so that we can get the best advice possible for us as an individual instead of consuming something Coming out into the wide world and going, Oh, that’s me. Let me let me let me talk to somebody who might actually know me and see if they’re in agreement that that’s a good, good idea.

Amy Moreng 25:13
So moving on from that was your favorite, favorite episode from from this past season,

Jen Casson 25:18
the gender identity. It was the official titles, gender identity and new considerations for human performance programs. And to me, this one really just epitomized exactly the type of topic that we wanted to talk about at the vanguard roundtable. And it was interesting, when we brainstorm this topic, I was kind of like, oh, you know, I What, I wonder how smartabase is going to feel about us putting this out there, thought we get a bit more pushback than than we did, just because it is controversial, right. And like I said, In the beginning, it was happening at a time when there was a lot of conversation around transgender athletes competing with what should be allowed, I mean, whether it’s track or swimming, whatever. So it was definitely a hot topic. And, and we got the green light to move ahead. And I think partially because we weren’t, we weren’t taking aside on it specifically, in terms of like, what should be done in terms of trans athletes competing, it was more of like, look, in in human performance, you know, there are athletes who don’t identify like everyone else does. So, you know, I think our our position was if if you’re a leader who wants to create an inclusive environment, and we hope that everyone is wanting to create an inclusive environment to get the best, the best out of their, their athletes? How can we help educate them on that on gender identity? Because so I I’m, you know, a proud member of the LGBTQ community, but even myself, like, I don’t know, all these terms, all these terms, I’m like, wait, what does that mean? How is that different than this? And so there was just a big education component. And I think that’s really what we wanted to do was just educate people, you know, and help break the ice. Like, let’s start talking about this. I mean, there are people out there talking about it. So let’s amplify their voices and just help educate people and not make this about, you know, competition and more make this about how do you create How do you support all your athletes, and really help every athlete you know, reach their potential, regardless of how you their sexual orientation, or gender identity or anything. And actually one of the things that was a really practical tool, and this, this was actually one of our earlier episodes, where we were still doing the webinars, so we had some visuals to go along with it. And there was a slide that was terminology. And so the guests walk through is ash Beck and Julia ire and Brianna, Brianna Dirksen Bergen. And so again, like three great perspectives on this topic. And I remember Ashe use this term sexual slot machine when she was kind of talking about these different, you know, gender identity versus your sexual orientation, versus sex assigned at birth. And she talked about this, like sexual slot machine. And that was just a great like visual metaphor for kind of putting this all together and just helping me understand a little bit more. That was why I really liked like this episode. So we’ll, we’ll play a few sound bites from this. And, you know, if you’re interested at all, if you go to our, go to our blog, and just search gender identity, you can find this find this blog post, and you can find the terminology slide because there’s a lot of different things like gender identity, gender expression, gender fluid, you know, defines all these things that I was like, Oh, this is such a great little cheat sheet. Yeah. Yeah. So yeah, I hope I hope y’all enjoy this one.

Emma Ostermann 28:34
Why is the topic of gender identity is important as it relates to optimizing human performance? Grant.

Brina Derksen-Bergen 28:40
Thanks, Emma.

Yeah, thanks for having me

here. And ash. And Julia, it’s awesome to be talking with you. So yeah, thanks for it. I just wanted to add that a really good resource for that is also something called the gender unicorn. So if you want to look online, it’s more on the education side of things, but it helps with that as well. Okay, so gender identity, why is it important for performance? So I think the first thing, kind of when I acknowledge is kind of a difference between the individual and the community when we’re thinking about sport in particular. And I think every single individual has a gender identity, which is really important to note, it’s not exclusive to someone who’s non binary, everybody has a gender identity that is diverse from someone else. And from their experience, which is shaped a lot by our families, our friends, our environments, all of those things. And then within the community, especially within the sports community sometimes, though, that diversity of gender identity is not accepted or recognized because of the gender binary. So thinking about that, like community, ideal sports are an amazing tool for community health and happiness and confidence and So, if we don’t have people who have tools to be successful in the sporting world, if people don’t feel safe in sporting communities, and if they’re not kept safe in those places, then how can we really truly have overall community health. And I know that’s more of it’s less on the elite sports side of things. It’s more on the lifelong appreciation of sport. But I think if we don’t acknowledge the diversity of gender identity within sports, we are being exclusive by nature, and losing out on a lot of human potential. I think my one of my like, favorite quotes from one of my favorites, inspired inspirations was Rick Hansen, a Canadian Paralympic athlete. He talks about how sport is a near for society. And it reflects how we view ourselves. And I want to see an inclusive world sport. Yeah.

Emma Ostermann 30:57
I love that Ash. And Julia, do either of you have anything to add on to you know what Rena said, or anything else related to that question?

Ash Beckham 31:03
I’ll just jump in real quick. I feel like so that it’s so critical. And it’s even just the frame with which you kind of build the industry is it’s about human performance. Right. So and about, like, that’s a broad scale. And, and like so many things in this, and especially for people that are into data and analytics, we want to be black and white, right. But that’s not who you’re, you’re not coaching a spreadsheet, right? Or an app, like you’re coaching a human and their human experience, whatever their diversity might be gender, otherwise, it’s critical that we tap into that to serve them in the best way possible. And gender identity is is one of those those things, and it’s our responsibility as, as coaches and as leaders to be as informed as possible, right? We don’t, we don’t just shy away from it, because it makes us uncomfortable, don’t understand it, or isn’t our personal experience that’s eliminated and how we can how we can coach that we really have to dive in especially I think, as we get into athletes that are, you know, Gen Z, and as they continue to get younger, that that fluidity, and that identity is part of the person that they are, and they have an expectation that that will be respected. And so if it isn’t, I think your program is at a competitive disadvantage. And if it’s not, then you’re not getting the full athlete, right. And if you’re not getting full athlete, then there’s no way they can perform to their full potential. And that is, by definition, what we’re trying to do. And so I think it’s looking at that at the athlete very holistically, knowing that those individual challenges are something that that needs to be addressed and need to be acknowledged for, for us to fully support them in the ways that we need to. Yeah,

Julia Eyre 32:49
I would just tack on to that with saying that, as somebody who’s an advocate for the athlete health above the human performance, I believe that a healthy and happy athlete can always outperform a very unhappy and unhealthy athlete. But the reverse is not true, unfortunately, that it’s not just psychological support that we’re giving them in this but also physiological support. So as a sports scientist, and we’ll get into this later, there are considerations that need to be made, as we go through the next 1020 years and start to regularly have transgender athletes and all of our sports and like we also in youth sports, and you just start having these health conversations as well. And I know we will get to that today. So I’ll let you do the transition. Yeah, I

Amy Moreng 33:33
think that that clip, and that episode is great, because I mean, sports and, and human performance right? Teams, they’re, they’re such a reflection of what society is to. And I feel like that’s a really good segue into another episode I found really, I just really liked I thought it was interesting was the fitness gap. Be a two sides of that, where it was Joe cruise, and Missy Mitchell, where they talk about, you know, how the fitness gap is shown differently.

Jen Casson 34:05
And Joe’s Joe is kind of the on the providing the military perspective. Right? And was he was right, yeah, so that was really interesting.

Amy Moreng 34:12
Yeah, well, so the fact that they’re seeing this, this gap in fitness, right, and the people that they’re pulling from, why are they seeing this? Why are they seeing this difference? And why is it different from maybe generations in the past or just years past prior to it? And kind of tying back to body image and the whole social media thing is the whole notion of sedentary lifestyle and how much how big of an increase I guess that they’ve seen in this you know, people being glued to their phones all the time and how that reflects just seeing the the rest of their their health lifestyle and their performance career. So yeah, let’s listen to a few decided that sound bites at that one.

Joe Cruz 34:59
Basic Training has changed, you know, in the way that they’ve, they’ve executed that training and developing soldiers. And so we’ve gone through so many different organizational challenges of dealing with the demographic group that we pull we pull from, and the, the differences, right, like how it changes in, it evolves. And that, that plays a role in how we train them how we communicate with them. And and I think that’s been one of the major difficulties, right is we’ve made these adjustments to try to kind of meet in the middle, but then at the same time, it has slightly reduced the quality of the training that soldiers are getting coming out of basic training, to the point where, you know, it’s basic training is just a catalyst to the preparation of the soldier. But in reality, the responsibility lies on the unit when the soldier arrives, to finish the product. And so that becomes very difficult, because what you have is, we’re pulling from a demographic that isn’t as active as the Gen Xers, right? The Gen wires, like the baby boomers, right that generation in 1960 7080 92. Now we have, we have, you know, gals, and guys that are coming in, that aren’t as active, they have pre existing mental health conditions, they’re not as social because they become more siloed in their communication, their interpersonal skills lack, and they have just different lifestyle habits than the previous demographic pool we pulled from. You also have different motives of what drives them, what factors are influencing their motivation to join to serve, you know, whereas before, it was more patriotic, and more of a duty and a sense of service, you know, more and more and more, we see things like education, and just the opportunity to get out of a place and move to a better place, right. And so the drive is different, the discipline is different, and the quality of the soldier is different. And so that puts a very difficult, a difficult task ahead of leaders that are within the formation, because the leaders that we have in the formation aren’t that much older. So it really strains the communication. And I would even say there’s a, there’s a difficulty in the communication, because the leaders are leaders, they’re all the same. There isn’t like that, you know, when I was when I was a private and I joined the Army in 1994, as a as a PV one, my team leader in my squad leader had 10 years on me. That’s a significant difference. When you talk about teaching, coaching, and mentoring soldiers to be better soldiers are coming out of high school, into an organization where now you are expected to make your own decisions, you know, you You’re, you’re in the barracks, you’re getting a car, you’re doing this, you’re doing that you’re doing the other. It’s very different. And so the demographic today, I mean, they’re pretty much leading each of that there, it’s like, this same pool is leading this each other, essentially. And so it presents a difficulty in communication. And and what that what that ends up breeding is a conflict because the people we’re pulling from are now more apt to ask why why are we doing this? Or why are we doing that? Whereas before, it was less of a why and everybody there was greater communication. There was more interaction, so there was a greater understanding. Whereas now there’s less communication and less interaction. So when you’re asked to do something, there’s a lack of understanding. And then you’re in an organization where like, I’m telling you what to do, go do it. It’s kind of a dictatorship, if you will, right. And the organization is having that trouble because it hasn’t necessarily been able to fully adapt. Remember, the society we pull from changes much quicker than the organization itself. That presents a problem, because very basic example. Leadership, we have, you cannot say that we can lead every soldier the same way. We have to lead differently so we as leaders have to be able to adapt our leadership style to the demographic that we are receiving. And that’s difficult because the organism Asian is so ingrained, it has a subculture in and of itself, right. And it’s so set in the way that it has done things. Change happens very slowly. So now getting leaders to have hybrid or adaptive leadership styles that foster the kind of communication and the kind of interactions that are positive. And that helped teach coach and mentor the soldiers that are coming in with these lack of physical performance with poor lifestyle habits with, you know, less than physically fit are optimally fit, it makes it for a very difficult challenge. And I think that’s what really contributes to that fitness gap.

Emma Ostermann 40:43
That’s a really good point, Joe, and miss, you’re just up I would love to hear your guys’s thoughts as well, especially on this topic, because it’s so interesting. It does definitely great point from Joe cruise on the US Army side point. But like Missy, especially from the high school standpoint, I would love to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Brina Derksen-Bergen 41:01
So a lot of my kind of thoughts are going to be more geared towards sport participation, because that’s the realm that I’m in. But I think, you know, Joe brought up some interesting points about motivation and drive, which I’m going to touch on. I think the elephant in the room on sedentary lifestyle is obviously the glowing rectangle that we all have on us at all times, which is technology use. And the reality is that not only does that impact our physical preparedness, it also is impacting the mental preparedness. So from a physical standpoint, I’ve got X number of hours in the day, if I’m devoting devoting seven, eight hours of screen time, that’s seven to eight sedentary hours that kids might be outside playing, but instead they’re glued to a device. The other issue if you know anything about the work of on a limb ki she’s an addiction specialist at Stanford, she is talking about how that impacts your dopamine levels in your brain. And the issue with that is dopamine is acting on your prefrontal cortex. So basically, what we’re doing is we’re constantly flooding ourselves with the use of technology, with dopamine hits, artificial dopamine hits, and we’re creating a dependency like we are self like self creating a dependency on our screens, and on our sedentary lifestyle. And the issue with that is you then are like their cognitive functioning is impaired, they’re more anxious, they’re more susceptible to depression. So the pre existing mental health conditions that he’s talking about, a lot of that’s coming from our technology use it also, they can’t regulate their emotions, they have no impulse control, all the things that we’re seeing in this generation of kids, and coupled with some societal factors, which I’m not sure if I want to touch on, but

Jen Casson 42:37
the fitness gap, that’s a good one. And you mentioned kind of hits on that youth, kind of the youth base. And that actually leads me to my next one, my next favorite, which was the episode we did on youth athlete development. So in that one, we actually had James vo with the AFL academies and Mark Dyer with US Ski and Snowboard. And then Jack Halley, who’s one of our principal consultants here at smartabase. And when it comes to use sports, it’s like, things get really serious really quickly. So it was interesting to see how data and analytics are being used even like at the Academy level, to help identify talent to help develop talent to things that that stood out. For me in that podcast was this idea of the maturation offset. So I have a 13 year old son and in, it’s really interesting. So he’s in seventh grade right now, but a lot of times he’ll be competing against eighth graders. And you can see this just like this, like, male hormone is kicked in, like full blown, or like, these are like, young men, I’m pretty sure that’s a five o’clock shadow. You know, so he’s playing against these, like young, like men now, you know, and he still seems like a little bit, you know, even though he’s on the older side, you know, just that idea of that maturation offset, and how they’re able to actually start to take that into consideration. And when they’re developing a player and not necessarily like pick out these kids just because they are maybe ahead on that curve. And then thereby eliminating some kids who actually might have done really well. They just relate later bloomers, so I thought that piece was really interesting. And then they also talked, I forget exactly who it was, I think it might have been mark from your ski and snowboard he he used the term, the slow cook approach. And just with that the athletes maturing later. And then also this idea of specialization. And it was interesting, having James from the AFL Academy is just a kind of a more of a global perspective, like how that youth development is being done outside the US because in the US, at least from my experience, in my viewpoint, it is early specialization at a very early age and like that’s the one sport even though they might say oh, we you know, we totally encourage and multi sports Well, practically speaking, when you practice you know, four days a week and then you have, you know, one or two games every weekend like you can’t be a multi sport athlete. In reality without your kid just being so burned out and then probably injured. I love this episode. I could definitely get on the soapbox for a long time. But instead of me talking, I’m going to shut up. And yeah, let’s hear from these guys.

Emma Ostermann 45:12
What are some of the biggest trends you’re seeing and use talent ID and development? Mark?

Mark Dyer 45:17
Yeah, so one of the biggest things that I think we’re seeing is the use of maturation as a terms for identification of talent. So using things like maturation offset, or peak height, velocity, or percentage of a percentage of a predicted adult height, are starting to are starting to be used. I know USA football and a lot of the clubs over in Europe are using it as well, to put a maturation level onto what talent is, and, and general fitness as well. So I think that’s something that’s coming in to not only see what’s happening next, so that relative age effect isn’t so much of a factor but actually seeing what is causing that talent may just be because that athlete is three years above their maturity level and is a quick mature. So I think and that’s something we’re trying to incorporate in our in our fitness testing, as well as just to see what those maturation offsets are, because we do have a fitness test that goes into criteria for certain types of camps and invitees. So we use that as a criteria for ourselves and our programs and our camps that rerun. So we want to start adding in some of that maturation offset to see if it is something that is a short term or long term gain in terms of a talent identification. But I think what a lot of programs are doing now is kind of taking that holistic approach, right, and they’re seeing what the actual talent in the sport is, what their talent and fitness and the strength and conditioning and high performance is. And then also getting a sense of who the athlete is and what they mean and what they stand for, and how they just present themselves in the day to day. I know in our development system. You know, we have regional coaches as well. And our director at chip night, he kind of has his finger on the pulse with all the regions. And we’ll have those conversations, you know, annually throughout the year where we’re where we want to invite athletes to a camp, and then we get the coaches on the phone, the regional coaches on the phone, we see their fitness scores, and we kind of like break down if this athlete is able to come to a camp, so we kind of have that Trifecta in there. And I think a lot of clubs are starting to do this as take that more holistic approach. Because, you know, through talent identification, it’s so hard to say like this 12 year old is going to be the next Michaela Schifrin. Right, it’s so hard to put a pinpoint on that. And I think a lot of people are trying to search for that kind of answer. But in ski racing, it’s, it’s it’s a gamble, it’s so hard to tell, because a lot of what happens is people put so much weight into the specialization, they see their youth, well, they’re you 14 Crushing everybody in the region, then they just stick to ski racing. And by the time they hit that second or third year, fifth, these athletes are burnt out, and the later athletes who are maybe later matures, come up. And that’s where we start to see those athletes really produce results. I mean, we don’t even see our best World Cup results until late 20s or early 30s For most of our athletes. So it’s really just taking that slow cooker approach and how we develop these athletes. And I think a lot of these systems are being developed that way, right, you have to develop a good youth athletic development system that produces these athletes that gives the athletes those opportunities to run through the pipeline.

Emma Ostermann 48:25
Absolutely, that’s a really great point and brings up a point, you know, in terms of, you know, you’ve probably heard about it within you know, the environment of you have an athlete who maybe is really good at, say your team sport will say basketball, and then they just focus on that they don’t do anything else. But they’re probably losing out on skills that they could have gained from, you know, maybe being a two three sport athlete. James, I see, I see you have some thoughts as well, I’d love to hear

James Veale 48:48
from your side. Absolutely. So our draft age being at 18 being their senior year of school. That’s really the only time where where’s the pathway will start to suggest that that athletes will start to look at narrowing their focus across sports. So we’re really big on load management and not burning athletes out or having those overuse injuries that the other traditional or big sports down here in Australia. So cricket is a big one, which has quite a lot of stress related injuries specially through back. So we get a little bit of concern in regards to load, as well as just on the athlete for playing seven sports, as well as basketball. But the better players arguably are the ones who come from multi sport backgrounds. So we’re always getting those questions of if we’re going up the pathway, when are you going to tell him to stop playing cricket when he’s going to tell me to stop playing basketball so on and so forth that might be concerned concerning questions, but we’re really big on the strengths that you can gain from so many other different sports which cross over. But then just making sure in that final year that you really haven’t found yourself in a situation where all you’re doing is playing sport and you’ve forgetting that you also need to train, and you need to develop, and you need time in the gym. And if you’re constantly just trying to play, recover, play, recover, play recover, then your ability to actually continue to progress, your, your body’s natural development will really be stalled, which is what’s either going to really push you into that injury space for, really, I guess in the gate, the speed at which that first second third year in your senior career, if you’re fortunate, can really take off. One of the things that the AFL is really bounced about around about that, you know, it almost sounds like it’s been going around for a very long time. But these are draft age. So we have to turn 18 In your year of the draft. So you could either be first of Jan, talking about that relative age effect, or December 31. But as long as you’ve turned 18, in that period, then you’re eligible. And there’s always been arguments as to whether we should actually push that up to 90 or beyond. So you know, a little bit more in that American sport, let’s say American football, where you have to do your two or three years in the collegiate level before you’re able to move in. And you know whether having that, as a part of ours will give longevity, decrease injury risks, put a little bit less stress and pressure, knowing that final year high school exams are around the same time. So to digress slightly, say that 10 or 15 years ago, the actual draft itself was on the first day of the exam period, for our kids, to try and be able to focus in both aspects of life was always a challenge. Not for those who were your top two years, who, in a sense, knew they were going to get drafted. But I guess even in those, were they going to be drafted in state? Would they have to pack up their bags and move by the time they finish their last exam? So all of that is constantly being then questioned with Okay, well, then, how much more? Do we have to invest in the pathway to keep players in there for another year? Do you have your absolute superstars who could potentially play at the age of 70? Do they have to spin their wheels in the talent pathway for another 12 months, when really, they would actually be lining it up? In the senior competitions? So can you have a, you know, a tiered approach? Or do you just trust your second tier competition so that the guys who don’t get drafted are the girls who don’t get drafted at the age of 18. You know, make it as a 2021 22 year old and can often forge some of our best plays. Historically, there have been some who have had to had that resilience had those extra years of development and come through absolute superstars to get so ironically, it’s actually our women’s draft tonight. So there’ll be a stack of girls who will be really excited, and there’ll be others who will have to be looking for that next pathway.

Amy Moreng 52:50
Yeah, I think that conversation has a lot of cool, interesting points on that. The next one I really liked was the athletes rights to performance data. And that was really just CEO Marcus Deutsch and at Osterman just having a conversation back and forth, you know, like very raw material, so to speak of just of just their opinions on it. I think he’s specifically hit the nail hit the nail on the head with saying how showing the athletes, okay, this is what your data is, okay? What does that mean to them now, and in having them engage with that data? Hopefully, that makes them want to, you know, have specific goals for themselves. So like, Can I can I do better than I did last time, or any, any of that aspect and, and also as a team, too.

Jen Casson 53:45
Yeah, if I can add on to that. I thought this, I thought this was really interesting. Not to steal your favorite. But this one was a good video, partly because I think we recorded this one back in like August or something August or late August. And in college football, the NFL and transfer portal, like it has just wreaked havoc on teams, like so I’m see you alumni, and gosh, the number of good players we lost to the transfer portal, you know, so thank goodness Deion Sanders is about I know

Amy Moreng 54:19
that we’ll look at it now. And there’s so many players

Jen Casson 54:22
I never benefited from from so I thought was really interesting timing, with this, this conversation around who owns that data and what our athletes allowed, like, what should they be allowed to do with it? And, and all that. I also think this was interesting, and it was kind of a POV from from smartabase. And I think that, you know, stepping back to why we were doing these these roundtables. Yes, it was about starting the conversations. But we also saw this as an opportunity for smartabase to put out our opinion on this, you know, because of what we do our platform houses all that data, you know, so I think it’s important for was to have a point of view on that. And and so I think Marcus did a great job of putting that point of view forward. And hopefully, it will just continue to, you know, that conversation will just continue around what athletes can do with their data.

Amy Moreng 55:14
So, so yeah, I really, I really liked that one. And we’ll, we’ll get right into it.

Emma Ostermann 55:21
For sure. And, you know, we talked, we touched on the athletes, but what if we switch it? What do you think is the best interests for an organization like universities and sport academies?

Markus Deutsch 55:31
I think there’s a lot of positives there as well, some of them that the organizations will like some of them that they won’t like, but a good for them anyway. Right. So I think on the ones that I think they’re like, look, again, I think it’s a good opportunity for organizations to get more exposure, especially organizations and sports that aren’t in the sort of big four, you know, like, I think it’s a good opportunity for sports to be promoted. That’s a good thing. I do think and again, the whole athlete engagement around data is definitely a positive, you know, being able to, you know, have a good driver to get your athletes to engage with your performance staff, and coaches and really understand their data really buy in, the more, you know, more engaged with entering data and all that sort of thing, I think that could be, that will be a really positive as well, right. So there’s definitely positives to it. And the positive that will be a positive that people might not like is that it will make people be a lot more focused on their security. And, you know, people might not like that. But it’s a good thing. And it’s good for them, because it’s gonna, you know, it ultimately, if if people have to embrace good security practices and privacy practices, their decrease of making a mistake, and having a really serious incident goes down. And that’s good for them, even though they might not think it’s much fun at the time. So yeah, I think there’s some really good positives in all directions. Yeah, as long as it’s done properly, and everyone’s educated, right?

Emma Ostermann 57:01
Yeah, there’s always there’s always those caveats of you know, we need to make these boxes are ticked, in order to go smoothly, we’ve got these nice positives, but you know, the landscape is changing, there’s new, there’s new policies, guidelines coming out for different organizations, within the collegiate settings, specifically, there’s now a really big rise within the transfer portal. So you see athletes going to a university, say for for a year, and then they’re going to they have the ability to then transfer to go to a different university if things aren’t going well, or for whatever reason that might be with these incidents, like these types of events happening, where where do you see data, being able to like having access with to data being created for these types of events? Whether like ease transfer of data for two different institutions, how do you see that plane?

Markus Deutsch 57:54
Yeah, that’s gonna be really an interesting one. You know, again, hopefully, what it drives is a bit more standardization around the data that’s being collected with people realize that by embracing a bit more standardization across the board, you’ll get more consistency of that data flow. Hopefully, that’s positive that comes out of it. Probably not, or it might take at least take a long time for that to happen. Yeah, but definitely challenging. I mean, I think that, you know, the danger there is that organizations and professionals within organizations might become very gun shy about the data they’re recording, you know, it might become and that’s the potential downside of this whole thing. Is that people sort of like, oh, well, God, if I put that in the system, it’s on record, and not just to my own organization, but to other organizations into the whole world. So maybe I just don’t put that in. And I think that’s a real danger. Because then what you’ll get is a decrease in the data quality, you’ll just get a whole bunch of useless vanilla data, that everybody shrugs their shoulders and goes, Yeah, well, they just didn’t enter the truth. So that’s a real concern. And I didn’t really have an idea of how to count how to counter that. That’s a really tricky one. But yeah, that’s definitely the potential downside here is that people just they’re too scared to put data in. So I’d say about that one.

Emma Ostermann 59:23
Yeah, I’d agree. It’d be it’ll be interesting, especially as the landscape continues to change to see how we adapt to these new changes and what ends up coming.

Jen Casson 59:32
All right, well, last one, our most recent one, and it was engaging stakeholders in high performance. That when featured Alex Calder with the Houston Dynamo and Scott Q with LSU football, I think the thing that I was struck by in both of their cases was just the openness with what they shared, you know, both from like a both from like, details of what they’re doing in their programs, but also just humility with like, what they’ve done that didn’t work right. So, I mean, we taught, we covered the gamut of, you know, engaging athletes and Kate engaging coaches engaging, you know, whether it’s your athletic director or the higher up leadership in your organization. So we definitely covered covered a lot of ground ground here. I think the part I wanted to focus in on for this little soundbite was on the engaging of athletes, I guess there’s, yeah, there’s kind of two parts, the engaging of athletes, and just kind of some best practices that those guys provide to do that, in a way that both benefits the organization and the athletes. And then the other thing that I found really interesting was when Scott talked about the use of data and analytics and recruiting, and I think this is something we’re going to see more and more of, you know, so especially, especially now, again, going back to like the wild west with the transfer portal, you know, you bring the bring the these recruits in, and they show off in like, amazing facilities and the program. And now this, this data and analytics program is becoming part of that. And it’s really just kind of a way that they’re showing, hey, this is this is how the school is committed to supporting our athletes. You know, 360, holistic approach. So I thought it was really cool, what what they’re doing, and Scott shares some of that, in this episode. So let’s get into that one.

Haley Muller 1:01:22
Scott will go and start with you for this one.

Scott Kuehn 1:01:24
So it’s been pretty interesting being here, because we came into a situation where there wasn’t really a any sort of premium placed on sports science. And in you know, more, I think, fundamentally, tying it all together and representing it kind of as the big world that it exists within in terms of, of sport. And so we really had a great opportunity here from kind of scratch to, you know, with a clean slate, bring them into and figure out what are, you know, how we’re going to disseminate information, because it’s, you know, in the same way that we want to return on investment from the products that we choose to invest in, the athletes want to return on investment in the time that you’re asking them, so you’re going to ask them to come to, you know, a countermovement jump test prior to practice, or if you’re going to have them do weekly Nord board testing, they, you know, to an extent they want information back from it, they want action back from it. So we, you know, to me, the two kind of big points that we hit on are the the timeliness of getting them the information and then the utility of the information. And so, you know, we started really, really high level with stuff that really easily resonates with them, things like max velocity outputs, things like jump heights, obviously, they they know, strength numbers really well, because it’s kind of the culture of American football. And it’s been a very slow unraveling of, Okay, now let’s roll out a new score for them or a new number to for them to be attuned to. So we took the concept of momentum, we call it a hit score for them, just from purely a physics standpoint, being bigger and faster, means you’re gonna have more momentum going into a collision, which means you’re more likely to win that collision. So calling it a hit score for them and giving them that back that yeah, you may be faster, but if you only weigh 150 pounds, you know, it’s gonna be like a another blown into somebody else. So we want them to, you know, we started getting them to talk smack to each other about their hit scores, or explaining the value of, you know, an RSI mod and what it may indicate about how they perform their jumps and explaining that, you know, the speed at which they performed, the jump is just as important as the output of the jump itself. So, you know, we’ve been pointed to be very, very timely with getting some information back. And that’s where my boss Jake has been awesome about consists of a sports science role that I am in as opposed to being a dual performance coach and sports scientist, he’s been very deliberate in making sure that I understand that the priority is getting that piece of it done first, which is awesome for me, because, you know, if we run a speed session outside, I come in kind of process and break down the information that we got from the training session, and I can get him some numbers to talk about to the guys before the sessions done. So now he’s bringing it up to them, they’re able to see the results, real time we throw them up on a leaderboard. And they see exactly, you know, what they just did in the training session. So they have that information right back, if you wait too long to give them the information. They’ve got dozens of other things on their plate between academics, their social lives, you know, like Alex said, you know, everybody kind of wants their, their chunk of skin. And your moment of your opportunity is kind of lost if you don’t act on it in a timely manner. So we make sure that we when we do training, or if we have, you know, points of emphasis that we’re working on throughout the season, we get them back that information really, really quick. And then we also make sure that if it’s information that may need to be acted on that the right stakeholders have that information to approach them with and you know, it’s not always necessarily that you’re taking action, but also at least that they’re aware that you’re looking at the information. So my job may sometimes be making sure that coaches that work a little more hand in hand with particular athletes. Just have an awareness that the guy didn’t sleep well last night, and that is reporting higher amounts of stress than normal. And so then he can engage them about it. And then they know that we’re looking at the information where we’re utilizing it, we just may not be readily making a decision off of it, because it’s, you know, what’s expected or at the end of the day, just culturally, it’s, you know, you got to put your head down and work a little bit. So I think it’s the the timeliness of kind of your, your acute reporting strategies, and then on a chronic, you know, timeframe, what you report to them to show and demonstrate the, the progress they’ve made. And so we’ve been pointed about that as well at the end season, because obviously, we’re not necessarily looking to, you know, make physical training adaptations throughout the season. But just showing them, hey, this is why we continue to test so we can see what your your offseason values look like and how we’re preserving or even improving them in season. And that, you know, training and physical outcomes are not the goal. They’re a byproduct of kind of a very holistic approach to sport preparation. But you know, when we bring all this together, we look at it very holistically, you can still get some favorable outcomes in terms of the physical markers that we have a you know, direct measure on as we go through our, our off cycle. Cycle. Excuse

Brina Derksen-Bergen 1:06:09
me. Thanks, got, Alex, what

Haley Muller 1:06:13
about for you?

Alex Calder 1:06:15
Yeah, I think I think so maybe even altered the question a little bit, because I think I’ve not only first strategies, the work that I’ve also should maybe tell you things that haven’t worked for me, but I applied, trying a variety of things to gauge athletes and showing their data sets for them. But I think like, to exactly what Scott said, the utilization of data sets and information is, is for me the integral piece, so it’s providing context to what the data is. So from us, maybe it’s a little difference, and probably is, at times are harder to track because we, our sport, being soccer is traditionally there’s a lot of old school concepts. And it’s traditionally very technically and tactically driven with probably physical being the last element, even though the sport is growing and getting faster and players are required to be stronger and more physically robust, especially against injury and things like that. So however, this laggy mindset of of the, you know, non non necessity of physicality still exists. So for us providing contexts to data sets is is vital. So even when we’re talking about what works, let’s say for example, Scott’s talking about some of the performance markers, whether it’s speed or strength, profiling, or repeat spreadability, and stuff like that. There’s a lot of our guys, especially our South American guys, if we’re trying to provide context of, okay, this is your jumps for that they often don’t care. So they’ll say, I don’t care how high a jump, I scored three goals last week, you’re like, Well, you’re right. But so there is there is context providing context is massive for us. So the verbiage for me majors drastically. I’m grateful that I played football for 20 years as well. So when I’ve verbalized things to them, I’m like this is the same, this will help you beat a player one on one. This will help if we’re doing some endurance testing. Getting this score high will help you in the 70/80 minute track that ball down in defense of verbalizing that so they can bridge the gap between what we’re trying to do. So I guess that the other part of my answer here would be some things that I’ve done that hadn’t worked in my favor. Maybe five or six years ago, I used to print the GPS game reports and put it up in the locker room. There were certain individuals that liked that. And certain ones that didn’t, but they didn’t care. So I used to pin it up there. And then there was a point where that kind of backfired on me, because one player, for example, got dropped from the lineup. And he actually pulled one of those reports down and took it to management and said, Look at this, I’ve run 10k and I’m 30 years old and your 18 year olds Don’t run 10k Why we get dropped. So by having that sort of feedback and not providing context really backfired for me and that that ended in me having a conversation with management. So now when I don’t hide information, but I don’t do that anymore, where I make it readily available and I I tell every player if they want to see it, come see me in the office. So then there’s now a player’s post game a lot of them will come in say how am I numbers and I’ll say take a seat Bayesian numbers now let me provide context to it. So on why, let’s say if we looking at the GPS numbers or whatever their, their sprint was 30% below their average game, right? And like in other sit on the bench game day, so I have a bit of context to it. And I say, look, there was there was a big period there where we’re, we’re sitting back and there was no need to sprint so and then I’d engage them in context as well. So so how do you feel in that they apply? And they say, like, Oh, this is the best I felt. And I was like, Okay, well, your fitness is getting better. Your Wellness scores look to be improving, like when we haven’t our big acquisition sessions. So like, we’re on the right track, and you’re able to still output this and look good. So that’s the most important thing, regardless of what the numbers are. So I think, yeah, that’s how I engage them now and providing an hour and I’m trying to learn the hard way by getting my ass kicked by management here four years ago. But that’s, that’s probably why no one shut it down.

Haley Muller 1:11:02
Very nice. I like the holistic approach, the both seem to take with this where it’s not just here’s the numbers, do what you want with them. But it’s, here’s the numbers, and let’s talk about it. Let’s talk about why they are what they are. Let’s make decisions about it. And let’s kind of approach it from a holistic aspect to look at maybe other things like how the players were feeling in those moments, besides just here’s what the hard numbers were. Scott, a question for you kind of being in the university setting? Have you seen any benefits to like recruiting efforts, based on data that you’re collecting or how you’re reporting it or buying that you’re getting from the athletes? Have you noticed that at all.

Scott Kuehn 1:11:37
So that’s actually been a very kind of central piece of our recruiting pitch, especially when the athletes come through for their their talk with, you know, depending on the size of the group, and you know, the the caliber of the athletes coming in, will try to have the entire staff or at the minimum, they’ll meet with our Director of Athletic development. And what we’ve been able to build out in smartabase, particularly the most representative of what we do is kind of just player profile page that it’s very, you know, we keep coming back to the buzzword of the podcast, holistic, it’s just, it showcases their demographic information, goals they provided for us and in several different domains of their lives, athletic performance numbers. Like what else they’re anthropometric data from DEXA, scans from weigh ins weigh out. And then we have our accountability program that we call Swat. That’s just it’s, you know, on the field off the field performance, they gain and lose points, kind of the most succinct way to piece that all together for you all. And they’re able to see a visual representation of you know, where they gain the points where they lose their points, but it’s a very, you know, one stop shop, almost kind of Madden profile for the coaches to see. And then the athletes have a similar but obviously adapted version that they can do on their phone that shows them all the exact same information, just reformat it to fit on a phone screen, not a desktop screen. And that’s always one of the pieces that Jake, my boss brings out in recruiting to show you, hey, here are the things that are important to us here is how we’re going to show that you’re improving. And we’re not just going to, you know, put the book behind the scenes, to make you look better everything that we’re doing automated. And as soon as the numbers come in, they flow in and they show how you’re you’re adapting how you’re changing. And, you know, this is what’s important to us. And this is, you know, we’re going to make sure that you have ownership of your information you can understand and see the way that you are progressing. And that if you have a question, you’re able to look at it, you’re able to come to us and ask the questions of why and understand why a certain number may be trending in a certain direction, why maybe your your sweet numbers are down from what they’ve normally been. And so that’s been the the feedback we’ve gotten from parents and from prospective athletes that have come in is that they’ve not seen anything like this at any of the the other organizations that they’ve visited. So we do feel that it’s a really kind of defining pay for us as an organization. And again, that comes from the top down coach Kelly preaches total preparation as part of how we’re our developmental model, if you will, and he talks about the mental, the physical, the technical and the tactical. And that’s, you know, on our walls in our team meeting room, and he always, you know, speaks to development through those four kind of collectives. And so it’s, you know, important for him that what we’re doing is representative of that holistic model and so again, to have somebody at the very top that believes in that that very synchronized, very holistic approach it makes the job a whole lot easier and it helps to create kind of a a lens or a muse for how we develop our our systems for reporting and for you know, athlete feedback.

Jen Casson 1:14:44
Well, Amy, that was fun. It was really good just like kind of take a look back at the last while pray 1314 months right? Yeah, going through these episodes and I think I just in closing want to take a second to really appreciate obviously, all the guests that we We’ve had over the last year, we couldn’t be more grateful for just the the time they were so generous with their time and sharing their knowledge. And everyone was so just like excited and encouraging and like, Yes, this is keep going, you know, these are really important topics. So they definitely fuel fuel are our current and continued efforts. And then to Emma, and Haley who is also a new host of ours, both of both of them, you know, helped guide guide the conversation, keep it, keep it light, keep it interesting, keep things moving, they both did a really great job, and then to you for taking all this and getting it out there and putting it into a format that, that you know, people hopefully enjoy and listen to and download and share with their friends. And, you know, it’s a lot of work. I think people don’t realize how much work goes into producing a single episode unless they’ve done it themselves. And they probably do, which now I think everyone has a podcast. People do.

Amy Moreng 1:16:04
Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I mean, I’ve, I think that all these conversations that we’ve had, for the past year and a half have been really, really helpful to a lot of different people, you know, just sparking conversation, like you said, from the start and, and getting us all a little bit more involved. And just some of the some of the cool and overlooked topics and ideas that are out there and excited for season two.

Jen Casson 1:16:26
Yeah. Great. So any, you’re probably the best person to ask if someone wants to subscribe, where should they go?

Amy Moreng 1:16:32
If you’d like to subscribe to the VAM card roundtable podcast. You can find us on Spotify, Apple, and Google podcasts.

Jen Casson 1:16:41
Great. Well, thank you and everyone have a wonderful rest of your 2022 and on to

Amy Moreng 1:16:47
2023. See you next year.

Haley Muller 1:16:50
The Vanguard roundtable podcast is brought to you by smartabase, the premier human performance optimization platform for elite sports teams and military organizations. Our clients are racing to build their human performance analytics team to help make data informed decisions better serve their customers and give them a competitive advantage. That’s why we’ve published our latest guide building your human performance analytics team. To download your free copy of building your human performance team, visit

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