As sports is becoming increasingly professional, coaches need to try new methods instead of relying on the same systems as always before says Head Coach Dr. David Cook, Norwegian National Taekwondo Team
When Dr. David Cook started working with the Norwegian National Taekwondo team he had a clear mission in mind:
to improve the level of the Norwegian National team so that qualification and success in Rio 2016 were realistic goals.
Quite quickly, however, he realized that even though he knew in principle what a professional athlete needs to develop and succeed, the complex nature of the human system and the many environmental interactions meant that ‘theory-in-practice’ required much more. They would lose important training days if they didn’t have a greater understanding of the athlete’s body and responses to training modality and load.
Gaining valuable information about recovery
As sports is becoming increasingly professional, coaches need to try new methods instead of relying on the same systems as always before. When David heard about Checkmylevel, he got really interested in the neuromuscular approach, which could provide important information about the state of neuromuscular fatigue.
“I have now used the system for over a year. Nowadays, I start my days by looking at the morning readings and they help me adjust the training for each athlete individually. Without Checkmylevel I would not be able to make as informed a decision with respect to athlete recovery. This type of information is very important for me as a coach” says David.
Pre-plan the training days and get better results
For the team, one of the concrete results of Checkmylevel has been avoiding
illnesses. As the human body is very complex, athletes don’t always feel
what’s going on in their bodies. Because of the daily measurements, David can get data from the actual state of an athlete’s body and pre-tune the training days accordingly.
“Of course, Checkmylevel is not the answer to everything, but for a lot of
coaches and athletes it can truly improve perspectives on training. It’s crucial
to know when you can work out hard and when you should take it easy.
Checkmylevel gives you a combined quantitative-qualitative measure which
is easy to understand and helps you in making decisions about how to train”
“Daily measurements show the actual state of the body and help you
adjust the training plan.”
Dr. David Cook
Head Coach Norwegian Taekwondo Team
Norwegian National Taekwondo Team started to use Checkmylevel about a year ago. Their Head Coach Dr David Cook decided that athletes will have two accounts each and they will do assessments every morning and evening. Checkmylevel provides the option to hide all the results from the athletes and only coaches can see them, Coach Cook decided to also use this option. We got short user review from Tina Røe Skaar, full-time Norwegian National Taekwondo Team.
The Checkmylevel system is to me a valuable tracking device for monitoring my health situation. As a full-time athlete training almost every day, staying healthy is my first priority. Without having the energy and being able to perform when it is necessary, making continuous progress, improving and steadily achieving new targets becomes a challenge. Trying to become the best athlete is a challenge itself, and that is why it is helpful to have a tool that helps monitor my recovery, as this is directly linked to my overall health. My physician from the Olympic support team states that staying healthy is the most important thing to succeed as an athlete, and this is where the Checkmylevel device is important.
To be in good health as an athlete, it is crucial to make the right decisions and priorities in your everyday life. Factors like sleep, restitution, diet and nutrition, hygiene and mental well-being are all important for good health. To assist in making the right decisions with my own health, the Checkmylevel works as a strong addition to the coach-player dynamic. The National team coach tracks the daily changes (morning and evening) of the scores associated with the Checkmylevel system. Actual results are seen solely by our coach who then shares with us when necessary and adapts our sessions (individually or group) appropriately. This has been a positive approach, as we already have many things to deal with already in our daily lives as athletes.
The Checkmylevel device easily fits into my daily routines. I use the Checkmylevel twice a day, after I wake up in the morning and right before I go to bed. When using the Checkmylevel you use the reusable electrodes that and your phone with the downloaded Checkmylevel application. The electrodes are easily placed on the left arm, before you plug it into the Checkmylevel device and connect the bluetooth on the device to your phone. The "Checking my level"-process lasts no more than approximately 5 seconds. At the end of each session the device also has a subjective measure that considers training intensity etc., which enables an objective-subjective relationship to be made. The data that comes in every day gets logged and saved on my user-ID in the application, making it possible to monitor the results using graphs and statistics that the application generates. After setting a baseline (approximately 7 days) you can after a period of use, analyse days with low scores or sickness, and start to identify patterns that may be causal factors. The scores are based on percentages and colour codes. Green means you are ready for training, yellow means you are okay, but it is not ideal and might need adapted training; and orange/red that the health status is low and you should rest or maybe seek a physician. This system makes it very simple to make sense of.
The Checkmylevel is an easy device to use, and has been very helpful for me since I started using it. Personally, as an athlete I have been prone to illness, resulting in breaks and periods off training. Checkmylevel system had made these situations easier to identify and in turn put in strategies to deal with. As such, I believe the Checkmylevel system is a valuable tool for any athlete or active person wanting to keep track of their health, and to more easily read their body ‘signals’ to maintain an active lifestyle.
We have had questions how Checkmylevel can help athletes and coaches. Here is some thoughts from Dr. Dave Cook whose team uses Checkmylevel.
In January 2013 the Norwegian martial arts federation, Kampsport, implemented the first ever full-time national Taekwondo system in response to the rapid increase in professionalism of this Olympic sport. As such this system encompassed the first ever full-time Norwegian National Taekwondo team with the aim to qualify and be successful in Rio, 2016.
At a similar time the sport of Taekwondo entered a new chapter with the implementation of regular World ranking international competitions (almost bi-weekly) and an additional Grand Prix series. When this is coupled with major championships, such as the World and European Championships, European games and the Olympic games the notion of general periodisation structures are somewhat redundant.
In order to facilitate optimal performance in such a schedule it is important to have a quantified perspective of the respective athletes and more importantly their recovery status between training and competition performance.
After reviewing the market for devices that may provide such information an interesting and somewhat unique approach came to the fore in the guise of the CHECK system. Having had equivocal experiences with using heart rate systems for similar profiles I was very interested in the more neuromuscular approach taken by the CHECK system. As such the norwegian national team has been using the team package offered by Checkmylevelsince the beginning of 2015, the start of a very important year with respect to Olympic qualification.
In this time the system has enabled me to effectively individualise recovery patterns through assessment of ’readiness’ and the constructs that form this measure. This is of particular importance during the tapering period prior to competition and such importance is magnified when athletes are required to ’cut’ weight. Furthermore, the stability of signal has given insight in to the possible occurrence of infection, enabling a quick referal to medical assessment.
The CHECK system has already proved itself to be a very useful tool to help inform decisions specific to indivual athletes in term of recovery, intensity of training and health.
Dr Dave Cook
Norwegian National Taekwondo Team.
Hope this will aswer some of the questions how you or your athletes can benefit from using Checkmylevel.