Identifying Key Performance Indicators
An API should be built by Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) specific to the sport or position being analysed (Turner, 2014). In the sport performance world, some common KPIs are speed, strength, balance, mobility, stability, power, etc. KPIs may even be more specific, such as shoulder stability, ankle mobility, horizontal power or single-leg strength. The KPIs used in an API should be determined through the completion of a comprehensive Needs Analysis of the demands of the sport, along with coaching experience. If you haven’t conducted a Needs Analysis before, read this “Needs Analysis” article.
If Lacrosse is used as an example, in general, the physical attributes involved in the game of lacrosse are speed, horizontal power (acceleration), anaerobic and aerobic capacity, strength (upper and lower body), and change of direction (Akiyami et al., 2019; Polley et al., 2015). Whichever KPIs you choose should be determined by an evidence-based needs analysis, your personal experience working in the sport, expert opinion in the field, and the coaches you’re working with.
The importance of involving head coaches when establishing KPIs is threefold 1) It involves them in the process which makes the final product easier to understand. 2) it gives them a sense of ownership in the testing process, which in my experience, leads to higher precedence set on data and testing weeks. 3) Coaches may use tactics which mean certain KPI’s are more important (e.g. if high running and pressing are involved) then aerobic and anaerobic capacity may be a major part of your API.
In certain sports, some qualities are more important than others. Upper body strength is much more important in American football as opposed to soccer. Which means when we design an API, we need to weigh some KPIs differently than others.