Information and communication are critical pieces of athlete development. The sports medicine, nutrition, coaching and strength and conditioning staff all need to be on the same page regarding where the athlete is at and where they need to go. Accurate and reliable assessments serve as an important foundation for athlete development, but just as important is how that information is shared with the athlete and the performance team. Each of these groups will have unique information and context to share that will guide development. Unfortunately, time is a limiting factor in the sharing of information and without direct communication, the results of assessment may be interpreted differently. Different interpretations may lead to different plans.
For example, the strength staff performs a body composition assessment and shares the results with the rest of the staff. The method used is extremely important in the interpretations of the results. Different methods may vary by anywhere from 3 to 20 percent for the same person. Most people will gravitate towards percent body fat because it is a familiar value. However, their own unique experience will affect the interpretation of the data. For example, if the dietician has never seen DXA results, they may be shocked to see the high percent body fat values, and adjust a player’s meal plan to reduce fat mass. Yet this value may be in-line with that individual’s position and the strength coach may be trying to have them gain lean mass. The modification in the dietary plan would conflict with the adaptations expected from the training plan. Another potential flaw when only using percent body fat is the misunderstanding that it is a ratio. Someone with higher than ideal percent body fat may have the ideal amount of fat mass but are lacking sufficient lean body mass for their body type. Rather than reducing fat mass, this individual would benefit from increases in lean mass.
We designed Dexalytics as a solution to these problems. Dexalytics allows for sport and position-specific scoring of body composition and body types. This provides a clear interpretation of where the athlete is at and any changes that may need to be made. By measuring the total and distribution of fat and muscle mass we provide a more accurate assessment of the needs of each athlete.
Importantly we also have an area where different members of the team can communicate their thoughts and plans for the next training cycle.
This allows for each team member to be pulling the same end of the rope and increases the likelihood of success for the athlete. Dexalytics saves time and increases communication by automating the reporting process and facilitating information sharing. The web-based application allows the users to access the information from anywhere at any time. If you’d like to learn more visit our website to set up a demo.
About the Author: Tyler Bosch, PhD is a Research Scientist in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, and is a co-founder of Dexalytics.