The day after I wrote my blogpost, this clear example was written in a column of Wilfried de Jong, the producer of the best sports documentaries ever made in Holland and writer of very good books about sport, Wilfried described the case of Kjeld Nuis, a Dutch speed skater, who prepared to qualify in the 1000 meters for the Olympics in Sotchi, at our qualification competitions. Months ago Kjeld and his coach though they prepared a great leap forward in his preparation, in order to beat their opponents. They had set up sixty (yes, 60) cameras for biomechanical analysis, and this was shown on national TV in October. His coach now could exactly measure specific angles during skating: “yes, here it is still 106.8 degrees, but when he gets tired it’s 113 degrees”. Or like Wilfried described: “every muscle, every bone could be observed, never before in history a speed skater was studied this way”.
During the TV broadcast Wilfried wrote: “Kjeld looked confident, easily lifting 120 kgs above his head”.
Probably nobody noticed that a training session is not necessarily the same as a competition and that other processes are involved as well.
Kjeld failed miserably during the competition and came in at a sixth place at his 1000 meters only. Nobody runs, skates or cycles faster from biomechanical evaluation only, no matter how many biomechanical factors you measure, there are always more performance factors to consider and to change (or not). A patient doesn‘t get better from diagnosis only. I just can’t repeat this often enough.
The often use phrase: “paralysis by analysis” in my opinion applies more often to coaches than to athletes.