Interview: Bill Moreau, USOC on the Pursuit of a Career in Sports Analytics

We discuss challenges in applying Data Analytics to sports, advice to beginners in the field of Sports Analytics, and more.

bill-moreauDr. Bill Moreau, DC, DACBSP, CSCS is managing director of sports medicine at United States Olympic Committee(USOC) . He is a chiropractic physician and conservative evidence-based sports medicine clinician. In his current role, he oversees the organization’s sports medicine activities – including providing medical care to U.S. athletes at the Olympic Games and flagship U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado – and the USOC’s National Medical Network.

He served as Team USA’s medical director at the London 2012 Olympic Games and the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games, in which he was responsible for administering medical care to more than 500 athletes as provided by more than 100 medical providers.

Dr. Moreau has more than 30 years of clinical expertise in both general practice and sports medicine. He serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine and has served for many years with the American Chiropractic Board of Sports Physicians.

First part of interview

Second part of interview

Here is third and last part of my interview with him:

Anmol Rajpurohit Q8. What are the biggest challenges in applying Data Analytics to Sports? challenges

Dr. Bill Moreau: Sports may have cultures that can be resistant to the implementation of data collection and analysis as well as changes in sport preparation. Culture typically resists rapid change from what might be preserved as a successful platform to become more successful through new applications of technology driven change. The “culture factor” can be a major barrier to implementing data driven science into sports medicine, sports science and coaching programs.

Clearly culture is not an insurmountable obstacle because when the data driven change drives positive performance outcomes this makes a difference. Success can be achieved through careful communication and the appropriate introduction of data science into the sport. Positive results on the field of play rapidly change the culture.

AR: Q9. What advice would you give to students and professionals aspiring a successful career in Sports Analytics?

open-mindedBM: Young professionals should be encouraged to know their sport. One way to better know your sport is to acknowledge that you will learn more by routinely stepping out of your niche or area of specialty and engaging in conversation with anyone involved in the sport. Everyone has a story to tell and there are pearls of both success and lessons to be learned from defeats. We all need to be open minded to new topics and new ideas when collaborating with other individuals within the same area of activity as well as those outside your specific area of knowledge.

Take some time to understand the specific area of sport that really drives your inner heart. Learn to avoid asking all questions, but instead to ask the right questions so you can provide the right answers. Remember the right question for you to solve might not be what you first think is important. Look from above down and see the entire field of play in regards to what the athlete, coach or other end user feels they need to achieve success. Sometimes the question(s) may seem impossible, but by parsing the question into smaller blocks you can build to the final answer.

sport-analyticsSports Analytics is still very young and there are and will be many opportunities now and in the future. At the USOC we encourage those interested in becoming an analyst to routinely step out and up to focus on the athlete. This is achieved by engaging in thoughtful conversation with all partners including sport scientists, coaches, sport technologists, and most importantly the athlete to learn better learn their needs. Always be open minded to new topics and ideas. Be a true partner with others within your department and across professional disciplines. Ask the questions you want to answer and think of the athlete or coach being able to apply the end product to make a change.

AR: Q10. On a personal note, what book (or article) did you read recently and would strongly recommend? What do you like to do when you are not working?

a-whole-new-mindBM: I am currently reading and really enjoying A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink. It is a great read as demonstrated by these lines “When facts become so widely available and instantly accessible, each one becomes less valuable. What begins to matter more is the ability to place these facts into context and to deliver them with emotional impact.” That is sage advice.

When I am not working I like to plant trees and take care of the woods where I live in Black Forest Colorado. It is always interesting what thoughts drift into my mind while I work in the trees. No electronics are allowed, well I guess I still carry my cell phone, but I do turn the ringer off!