by Eric McMahon, MEd, CSCS, RSCC*D and Christina Rasnake, MS, CSCS, RSCC
Coaching Podcast October 2021
Christina Rasnake, Director of Sport Science and Analytics at the University of Delaware, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager...
Christina Rasnake, Director of Sport Science and Analytics at the University of Delaware, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about the budding future of sport science in college athletics. Topics under discussion include the staffing of sport science initiatives, effective communication across departments, and how technology and wellness surveys can support actionable change in the coaching process. Find Christina on Twitter: @Coach_Raz26 | Find Eric on Instagram: @ericmcmahoncscs or Twitter: @ericmcmahoncscs
Christina Rasnake, Director of Sport Science and Analytics at the University of Delaware, talks to the NSCA Coaching and Sport Science Program Manager, Eric McMahon, about the budding future of sport science in college athletics. Topics under discussion include the staffing of sport science initiatives, effective communication across departments, and how technology and wellness surveys can support actionable change in the coaching process.
“I think having an understanding of different ways to measure power, power output through just jump mat, for instance, or a Vertec utilizing the metrics that you're collecting to use equations to give you power in watts is really easy to do. Most universities, D1 to D3 to NAIA to JUCO, they're going to have something there that you can measure jump height, even if it's a wall and a tape measure. You can make that work.” 8:30
“If I get a red flag from a student athlete and let's say their sleep is poor and their muscle soreness is really high, we can ask our athletic trainers to provide self-care information for the athlete on what they should be doing to help with their nicks and bruises.” 13:21
“I'm going to have about nine sport management majors that are going to assist me with the administration of our performance technology, assisting the strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers with providing self-care, as well, to our students, and to help me with dashboards. And yet again, I'm looking at it as an opportunity to help educate and build the field, grow the field, because it is young.” 15:00
“So a lot of what I took from it was understanding how to communicate to different people and different personalities. If I spoke to everybody on staff the same way, not everybody is going to hear me correctly or understand or take it the same way. So it really taught me to get to know the people around me.” 18:20
[00:00:00.66] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast, episode 110.
[00:00:04.53] Understanding how to communicate to different people and different personalities. I spoke to everybody on staff the same way. Not everybody is going to hear me correctly or understand or take it the same way. So it really taught me to get to know the people around me.
[00:00:24.48] This is the NSCA's Coaching Podcast, where we talk to strength and conditioning coaches about what you really need to know, but probably didn't learn in school. There's strength and conditioning, and then there's everything else.
[00:00:35.14] Welcome to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. I'm Eric McMahon. Today, we're joined by Christina Rasnake, director of sports science and analytics at the University of Delaware. Christina is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, and in her current role, oversees data collection, analysis, and performance technology for Delaware's 21 varsity sports teams. Christina, it's great to have you with us today.
[00:00:57.76] Thank you for having me, Eric.
[00:00:59.77] So first, I want to say congrats on your new position. I think I heard about it on social media. It got posted out there. And always great to see a coach getting promoted into a new role. So tell us about this new role and your path into the profession.
[00:01:17.22] Yeah. Awesome. I'd be happy to do that. So currently, at the University of Delaware as the director of sports science and analytics. I started doing sports analytics as a hobby while at a couple of the previous universities. And it became a position. Like you said, I oversee all 21 of our varsity teams. And I also oversee our internship program that we work closely with our sports management majors and our applied statistics and economic majors.
[00:01:51.30] And so they're helping me on the daily to make sure everything's running well in administering and executing the performance technology we have, analyzing it, and providing our coaches, our support staff members, our athletic trainers, strength and conditioning coaches, performance nutrition with reports and the creation of dashboards so it's easy for our coaches to see a snapshot of where their athletes are in real time.
[00:02:18.26] Now, your path was through strength and conditioning, and you still work with some teams at Delaware. Tell us about that, the training side of it, and how that evolved into this role on the sports science side.
[00:02:32.39] Yeah, so currently I work with our women's field hockey team at Delaware. Previously, I worked with almost every team at UD, except for like five. So I have really good relationships with all our coaches. But my career started as a student intern at Lock Haven University. I was a recreation management major. I played field hockey there. And that got me intrigued with strength and conditioning because I injured myself. And I was agitated because I felt like it could have been prevented. And I liked that strength and conditioning is more proactive than reactive with injuries and performance.
[00:03:11.28] So I started diving deeper into that. I interned at La Salle University my senior year with Brian Bingaman. I then went to Bloomsburg University for grad school. So I got my feet wet with the more science, practical side, but also the logic that is necessary to do our job and understand numbers. So that's where my analytic, statistics kind of bug bit me. So I worked with nine teams there as this strength and conditioning coach, plus was a research assistant. We didn't have a strength coach at Bloomsburg, so I was the point person between the coaches and the administration, the ADs to help our student athletes get an opportunity to use the weight room.
[00:04:01.17] So I stayed there my whole time as a GA at Bloomsburg. Then I went to Dartmouth. Dartmouth was my first full-time position. I worked with 13 teams. That's normal in the Ivy League. I always say, if you can work in the Ivies, you can work anywhere, because time management is one thing you either can figure out, you have or you don't.
[00:04:24.42] So I was there for two years, and started getting my feet wet with performance technology. They had a polar heart rate system that I was able to familiarize myself with. And so that was really rewarding, and opened my eyes and provided me the opportunity to go to my next stop, which was Missouri State University, where I oversaw men's and women's soccer, women's field hockey, and women's track and field and cross-country.
[00:04:52.32] And while at Missouri State, I was able to utilize GPS with both the soccer teams. And what was great about that experience is the coach gave me the opportunity to learn the system, the GPS systems, and to be able to apply it and help them with their practice planning and limited minute kids compared to the full starters, and make kind of a red, yellow, green like system for conditioning and practice. And that obviously then goes into the weight room with strength and conditioning. You know, who can do a full lift, a modified lift, and maybe a recovery after a game. So not so much a cookie-cutter here's men's soccer's program. It was cut down to very specific.
[00:05:41.22] And then after that, I arrived at Delaware in 2016. And I started as assistant strength and conditioning coach. And I was doing the sports analytics as a hobby, mainly with my teams. Our main people that oversee our sport performance team, Dan Watson and Chris Stewart, who is the head strength and conditioning coach here at Delaware, were both very intrigued. Told our AD, Chrissi Rawak. She's a data nerd like myself.
[00:06:11.03] And she's like, we need this for everybody. So then my position grew, and I added a sports analytics slash after the assistant strength and conditioning role. And luckily enough, I was supported and provided the opportunity to make this more of my role with the analytics and sports science side of things, while still being able to keep my feet wet with field hockey in the weight room, which was my sport in college, so that's an awesome connection there, too.
[00:06:41.33] There's a couple themes that come through in just hearing your story. And one is you had a number of different stops along the way, where you picked up different things at each stop. And the other really is, with this push towards more technology in the weight room and on the training side, you were picking up new pieces of technology, whether it was heart rate monitoring or GPS, at every stop. That's a question I actually get a lot, as we were talking more about the NSCA sports science program, is what are some of the key technology spaces or areas that you feel young coaches or aspiring sports scientists should focus in on early in their career so that they're more prepared when they do get into a professional role?
[00:07:32.24] Yeah, that's a great question because I look at as what do I wish I was told in my first internship, right? And that was a couple years ago. You know, I'm not trying to say how many years I've been in the field, but you can put the math together. But I would say the easiest is using subjective data and applying that to your program because it's, number one, free. And if you can utilize the information that the athletes are giving you, you're going to get more buy-in from your head coaches, as well as the athletes, in them knowing that you truly care and you're willing to modify based on how they're feeling in live time.
[00:08:13.26] So understanding how to utilize wellness questionnaires, wellness surveys are a number one priority, in my opinion, because they're free and easy. You can set up a Google Form and the information is collected in Google Sheets, or there's apps out there that can collect that, as well. I think having an understanding of different ways to measure power, power output through just jump mat, for instance, or a Vertec utilizing the metrics that you're collecting to use equations to give you power in watts is really easy to do. Most universities, D1 to D3 to NAIA to JUCO, they're going to have something there that you can measure jump height, even if it's a wall and a tape measure. You can make that work.
[00:09:07.64] And the next one, it's not invasive, but heart rate. I think understanding heart rate is really important because it's the easiest thing to measure. You can either have the student athletes tracking their resting heart rate or have a moment in the beginning of lift where they just calm themselves. They can see where their resting heart rate is in that moment. You can track that day to day. And if you have the opportunity to have wearables, which is awesome, it gives you more information.
[00:09:37.49] And you can learn how to program your conditioning, how rest time or substitutions could occur in some sports that allow for multiple substitutions, other than men's and women's soccer, lacrosse, field hockey. There's multiple subbing throughout the game, offense to defense. So you know exactly how long a student athlete or an athlete has the ability to rest, and then recover and get back into it. And I think that's really important to understand. And those are all things on a budget that are easy to track. But I feel like breaking it down, understanding how to look at subjective data, anything that measures power output, even if it's force plates, and then heart rate monitoring.
[00:10:23.12] And you can get familiar with GPS, but I think that's an extra level of financial burden to some departments. And the way I look at it is what's bang for your buck. What can I get more out of, a survey or an RPE rating, where I don't have to then go and buy GPS? But I think getting your feet wet in how technology works and how it can help us is very vital for strength and conditioning coaches.
[00:10:50.33] Yeah. I think back one of the first times I spoke for the NSCA, I was speaking on BBT, and much like you, it was just an experience where I got exposed to GymAware and one piece of technology, and then I was sharing just the program that we put in place with it, and how beneficial that was. And that was really the presentation. But feedback after the presentation, there's a lot of coaches that just aren't going to have the financial means to put that program in place, just because of the cost burden of certain technologies.
[00:11:21.53] And it's a unique approach to start with this objective, like you mentioned. I think one of the big pushes, as we say, oh, evidence-based. Well, we assume in that we're getting more objective with our analysis and our outlook on performance and decisions versus the subjective, but if we can use that, it may actually help us on the back end of relating with our athletes, because that's where the information needs to really be applied.
[00:11:49.91] I want to ask you on the staffing side, you know, you're part of the strength and conditioning staff, and now you oversee sports science, data collection, analytics across a wide variety of different sports. How is Delaware approaching staffing and support for you in this role? And how are the strength coaches for the teams supporting this new direction?
[00:12:15.38] So I will have to say that it starts from the top and works its way down. So Chrissi Rawak, like I mentioned earlier, is our athletic director. And she really supports this new area of the sport science and analytics department that we've created under the umbrella of our sport performance team. And with her support, that trickles down. We're a sport performance team first, and we have different areas. So there's performance nutrition, sports psych, sports science and analytics, athletic training, and strength and conditioning.
[00:12:47.96] So we're all a team supporting each other. So the workflows need to flow where we're communicating with each other, which obviously, with a team of one, which is me, communication is key. So if I can have the support of the strength and conditioning coaches to help with our force plate testing and have my interns there, that saves me time to then have a meeting with a head coach and break down practice plan for the week. Our athletic trainers are great with helping with best practices based on our wellness survey that we collect.
[00:13:20.99] So if I get a red flag from a student athlete and let's say their sleep is poor and their muscle soreness is really high, we can ask our athletic trainers to provide self-care information for the athlete on what they should be doing to help with their nicks and bruises. So that's very helpful for me, so I don't always have to be that voice. So we're all talking on the same level.
[00:13:50.56] We do have one role, which was my previous role, the assistant strength and conditioning slash sports analytics. That position we kept, and we have just hired her onto campus. She just started last week. Her name is Gabby Smith. So she just started with us. So she will be my right-hand person. She's going to be overseeing strength and conditioning with teams, but she's also going to be assisting with me on all the sports science and analytics.
[00:14:24.94] And what's really cool, and I mentioned it earlier, we have great partnerships with our upper campus, our sport management program through Lerner College and our applied economics and statistics majors. And so I'm going to have three statistics majors, two remote, one hybrid, throughout the fall. One of those students is with me all year. So he's going to be doing a lot of statistics, look at the sports statistics intertwined with the performance.
[00:14:58.57] And then I'm going to have about nine sport management majors that are going to assist me with the administration of our performance technology, assisting the strength and conditioning coaches and athletic trainers with providing self-care, as well, to our students, and to help me with dashboards. And yet again, I'm looking at it as an opportunity to help educate and build the field, grow the field, because it is young. Sports analytics, sports science, in my opinion, is still young. It's still growing. You can say the same thing about strength and conditioning. It hasn't been around for 100 plus years. So it's not like teaching, right? Teaching has been happening forever. But I want to make sure that I'm teaching my student interns so if they truly have an interest in this, they can go to the next level.
[00:15:50.05] I liked how you got into the affiliation on the academic side-- sports management, economics, statistics. In putting together this new NSCA sport science certification, we've had to dive into a number of different academic fields that really connect under the sports science umbrella. And so it's great to hear you mention that because the role of mathematics, statistics, we typically wouldn't think of economics, but those skills do cross over in a lot of ways.
[00:16:24.64] I saw in your background you have a master's degree in strategic leadership. And I know business analytics is a huge growth area right now, and it parallels what's going on in sport. Speak to your background on the leadership side, how that connects with your coaching in this new role, and what leadership principles you value as important in strength and conditioning and sports science.
[00:16:55.54] Yeah. So I received my MBA in strategic leadership from University of Delaware. So that was pretty cool. I just graduated this past May. So I'm taking a break from school right now. Not done, but taking a little break right now to recover and re-energize.
[00:17:14.80] What was cool about that MBA program is it was fully online and self-paced. So I was able to do my full-time job, as it was obviously maturing and becoming what I'm doing now. I was able to apply almost everything I was learning in every class, whether it was business analytic-specific. I had to take an economics class, and that was the first time I ever dealt with economics, but everything I learned, I could take something and apply it to sports or the way I worked with my peers or the way that I supervised my interns and other people that reported to me, and the way that people now report to me.
[00:17:57.70] So a lot of what we learned is people skills. And I feel like that is something that everybody can utilize and learn from as they continue in the field. Whether it's year one or year 20, we can continue to learn how to work with each other and communicate. So a lot of what I took from it was understanding how to communicate to different people and different personalities. If I spoke to everybody on staff the same way, not everybody is going to hear me correctly or understand or take it the same way. So it really taught me to get to know the people around me.
[00:18:42.49] And on the more business side, I was really able to learn a lot of easier way to manage my time with the data science, the analytic side. I was able to shorten the amount of time it took me to analyze things because I was learning new concepts and able to dig in with different articles that then I can apply to what I'm doing currently in my role currently at UD. But one thing that I loved the most was there was an ethics class I had to take. And this happened-- I took the class right before-- it was in spring of last year, so there was a lot of ethical issues going on in our country and a lot of social injustice issues.
[00:19:38.18] And what was really eye-opening for me was what I learned in that ethics class kind of rolls into how we treat each other in society. We need to be more aware of that. And I really feel that that ethics class has made me a better strength and conditioning coach, and understanding what is right, what is wrong, what happens in business. You know, there's a lot of things in business that aren't ethically correct. Well, we need to make sure that in strength and conditioning, in sport performance, in sports science, we're ethical, right? That's how we track our data, de-identify what we're posting online. Those are all part of ethical practices that I learned and applied immediately because we need to protect those around us and who we're serving.
[00:20:30.02] So we're serving our coaches. And they might not want certain things publicized. Our student athletes' private information should be privatized, de-identified, call them, I don't know, Mickey Mouse or Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, other than like Jane, Joe, and Sally. Those type of things really helped me realize it's cool to show off your big-time kids, right? It's fun for us. But it might be not so cool for the head coach, who we just gave ideas to our rival. And maybe that kid has family issues, and they don't want a certain family member to know what's going on, right? So these are all things ethically that we need to be more aware of.
[00:21:18.76] And I really didn't think of much of that until I took that class. And it's definitely helped me. And it's not science-based, and it has nothing to do with strength and conditioning per se. It's not in many textbooks I read in undergrad or grad school. But I think maybe it should be added in there. There should be some sort of research ethics class or exercise science ethics. You know, I assume athletic training has some type of ethics and best practice. But I feel like our field will continue to grow as we look closer into the ethics behind our practices and how we serve our student athletes and our clients.
[00:22:06.89] It's really powerful to think that deeply on it because I think it brings a couple thoughts. You know, I had one class back in grad school that just stood out for me, psychology of the college-aged adult. And I don't think a lot of strength and conditioning students were taking it, but I was so fortunate I did because I took so many things from that. So I think it speaks to any students listening, is that if you have a class you have any marginal level of interest in taking, even if it's a little outside the norm, that might stick with you and be something that shapes your coaching philosophy going forward.
[00:22:48.61] But on the ethics side, I think this is so relevant for sports science. And what we do with the data and information, there was a time we were collecting more numbers than we could keep track of, and it was something that, OK, testing's done, now we're going to get into preseason. We're just going to go play. If we get back to the numbers, whatever, it might just be height, weights, body fats on an Excel sheet, handed to the coach, and then that phase is over.
[00:23:17.46] But now, especially as we get into more monitoring, you always have a picture or a dashboard communicating what's going on with that athlete or subjective information, private information, the whole question of whose data is it, athletes rights. There are so many relevant conversations on that right now. And I think it's really interesting.
[00:23:46.38] One thing on the college side I do want to ask you, this is something that in our college special interest group has been a very big conversation lately, is the whole NIL conversation. Is that something that you are having to make adjustments with your programming, or you've seen at Delaware? And what impact do you see that having?
[00:24:07.97] So currently, I don't see it really interfering with sport performance here at Delaware, at least. I haven't ran into any issues. But as student athletes learn more about how they can monetize based on their name, image, and likeness, the things that we do put out, they might say, well, if you're going to put this out on social media, then I deserve a tag and, you know, it's me, it's my face, it's my name, right? You know, technically they have the right to their name and to do what they want with it.
[00:24:54.68] You know, I just gave a report to one of our football players. I don't know if he's contracted with anybody via NIL, but he put out his stats himself from the sheet I gave him from GPS. And he did what he wanted with it. I have no problem with it because it's his information and he chose to do what he wanted with it. But I could see it becoming a little more of an issue with some bigger schools, potentially, more Power 5s, the SEC, Big Ten.
[00:25:35.94] Those student athletes might see it as a way to get sponsorships with different performance technology, which I don't see anything negative about that. That just helps with the buy-in from future recruits. And OK, well, this school has this, and they utilize it, and they do this with it. And this John Doe over here is using it, and I can see what he's gaining from it. It may help with recruiting.
[00:26:03.21] So that's how I look at the positive, with the buy-in. It puts it out there more. I don't think they would use it, really, like the data side of it. It would be pretty much more of like, hey, look, here's my relative strength or here's my 40 speed that I hit or my top GPS max speed for the session.
[00:26:29.66] I really don't see any issues here at Delaware as of now, but it's so fresh and new, I think we're all still currently learning about how it may affect us. But just like I said, we just need to make sure we're communicating with compliance and understanding the ins and outs of it on a sport performance side of it to make sure we're not taking any actions that may or may not cause us issues down the line. Kind of what I was talking about with the ethics.
[00:27:00.95] Yeah, this is an important conversation. And not to put you on the spot, but we don't have all the answers right now. We're working through this for the first time. Our athletes are working through this for the first time. And these companies that are getting involved are also doing this for the first time. So I like that you spun it towards the positive there.
[00:27:22.65] And one thing they came through is you mentioned sharing data and meeting with the football player. Well, I played college football, and I don't remember that being sort of the narrative or process of, hey, we're going to do your performance eval, let's go in and we'll go through your report card here. Like, talk through that conversation. You know, how do you navigate those one-on-one conversations that maybe, in strength and conditioning, have always been reserved for the head coach. How do you do that on an athlete level?
[00:27:55.79] Yeah, so I think that's the most fun type of meetings I have, is-- and what's cool is usually it's sparked by the student athlete. Hey, can I come in and talk about my GPS numbers or my force plate information? And what's really cool about UD and what I've created here is we have an athlete management system that I've created. So we don't have a third party.
[00:28:21.02] And I've created it, and it's a snapshot. And all the technology we have-- GPS, force plates, we have 3D technology for velocity-based training, we have cameras on all of our racks in our weight room-- we take all of that information, plus some KPIs. So based on the team, what do you consider to be an elite athlete? So we're looking at a certain drill at practice, squat, bench, and an endurance test, let's say. And that's all in one snapshot for our athletes so they can see where they're at.
[00:28:58.55] So when an athlete comes in to me, usually that report is a little different-looking than what I give the coach, because the coach is receiving specific stuff and information that is going to help them make actionable decisions and data-informed decisions to help them with practice or game planning. So with the student athlete, I shape it more based on performance, health, and keeping them on the field, the court, or in the pool as much as they can, or to help them get more minutes or be able to, instead of being second in the depth chart, giving them ideas of what they could do performance-wise and health-wise to move up a spot. So I try and map it where we're looking at the performance and their trends and what we've seen in the past.
[00:29:50.07] So if we know that, in late September, our midterm period is going to start in early October, I'm sitting down with the athlete and saying, OK, well, last year this happened. Your stress levels rose. Your sleep suffered. Your performance, like the statistics in the game weren't where you wanted them. So what steps can we now take, what action items, best practices can we be proactive with and get you started on now as we prepare for that period of time? Because we can't push midterms back, but we can prepare better for them while you're competing in your sport.
[00:30:30.54] So with our fall teams, when midterm season comes up, they're deep into season. Some of our teams are getting closer to playoffs. So they're in conference play, where the competition matters very much in their standings to make it to conference championships and then NCAAs. So I string it that way.
[00:30:51.51] I also, with the health side, if they're a chronic kid, if they've got chronic knee pain, we're coming up with strategies in the weight room that's going to keep their longevity in a positive linear line. So we're not seeing any peaks and valleys or declines. We want a nice, linear, straight line of health and improvement, but bang for our buck, quality over quantity.
[00:31:20.63] So I'm trying to help them understand, due to this injury, we're going to do this differently in the weight room. Your strength coach has got you covered. You're going to do more recovery with your athletic trainer. And I would love for you to go and have a great conversation with our performance nutritionist to help make sure that you are prepared for the season.
[00:31:41.99] And they'll provide you with education and resources that can help you plan your meals better for practice, post-recovery tips, what supplements you should or should not be taking. So yet again, it's communication with our whole sport performance team. But I'm just the voice leading kind of the horse to the trough, right? I'm trying to help direct them, because at the end of the day, I want the athletes to become accountable and adults.
[00:32:10.98] So I want them to become the best version of themselves in that day, but holistically, I want them to be good citizens in their area, wherever they're going to live in their community. And that's what I'm trying to help them be accountable for their actions, for their needs so then they can help those around them also rise to new levels. So you know, instead of saying you're doing this wrong, this is bad, it's more about how can we improve your performance, how can we make you feel better, how can we improve your health, and how can we stretch you out one more year because you have an extra year because of COVID, right?
[00:32:51.80] We have kids that are going to have an extra year of eligibility. So we want to prepare the student athletes to be able to reach that new year, instead of them saying I don't think my body can handle this. We're setting them up for success by giving them the blueprint to reach their goal of competing for another year.
[00:33:12.47] I'm glad you mentioned that extra year of eligibility because I think that's something that came out of COVID, the COVID year. Like, how is that affecting-- and speak to your experience with it, but how is that affecting the recruiting process, the athletes coming in, the competition for scholarships, and all those things? Have those been challenges or concerns for the athletic department, or how are you guys looking at that?
[00:33:43.58] I see it more challenging for coaches in high school recruiting, where they're saying to the student athlete recruit, hey, you might not get the scholarship that you're looking for in year one. But in year two, we can up the percentage of your scholarship. I think those are harder questions for the coaches that they may not have been ever dealt in their history of being coaches.
[00:34:13.89] You know, the rosters are going to be bigger. So far, almost all the rosters are bigger. So you know, walk-ons, not going to be able to have as many walk-ons due to, obviously, roster management. That's going to also, if you look at the business side, that's extra shirts. That's extra food. Those are all costs that have to be weighed into the big picture. And I'm talking about this just general, not just Delaware.
[00:34:42.64] Currently, I haven't had to deal with it yet. But I think next year, we'll probably feel that a little bit more with some of our athletes, because everybody got it. So technically, with last year's freshmen, they have an extra year. So we're going to be dealing with that for a couple years now. So that will be a challenge for our coaching staff. I don't see it very challenging for our strength and conditioning coaches and our athletic trainers because, if anything, we're just going to build better relationships with those student athletes. They get an extra year. And then they can just help continue to be a voice for us, and support us in the field or in the weight room or in the athletic training facilities.
[00:35:28.58] I think that one thing that the strength and conditioning coaches need to be aware of is how they're progressing their athlete once as they reach that next year. So if I have a senior now and they have one more year, I need to make sure that what we're doing now as strength and conditioning coaches or sports science directors is preparing them to be able to make it through that next year. So if it's pulling back a little bit now based on training age, injury history, those are things that I think, out in the strength and conditioning community, we should all be having conversations with our athletic trainers and our head coaches to see who's taking that COVID year and setting up plans.
[00:36:19.67] So I'm doing that with our women's basketball team. We are currently making plans. It's myself, the strength and conditioning coach, the athletic trainer, the head coach. We met, we came up with what the coach is looking for, who are those players. And now the athletic trainer, the strength coach, and myself are going to sit down, we're going to populate a plan so we know that that athlete will be able to make it through this next year into their COVID year, they're kind of calling it. So that extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19 pandemic.
[00:36:52.13] And if you're not having that conversation now, we're going to see burnout. You know, last year was tough for everybody, from the student athletes to the parents of the student athletes to the coaches to the strength and conditioning to the athletic trainers. Everybody. It was tough. And I think the way that we respond in this next year and the year after with eligibility and monitoring our athletes is going to be key to success.
[00:37:18.51] And when I say success, to providing the athlete the opportunity to play, Win, lose, draw, it's giving them the opportunity to play is going to be the success of the strength and conditioning coach having that conversation with the athletic trainer. That's key, and that's something new that we're all going to have to learn, if we're not already having to deal with that.
[00:37:40.77] And redshirt fifth-year seniors is big, but this is different. You know, this is totally different. They played. They still got to play. So it wasn't they were sitting out. They got the reps. They got the yards under their legs. We have to manage that now.
[00:37:57.76] I think it's really interesting. There's a lot of new challenges that are being faced by the coaching community, the performance community. It's exciting to see programs like Delaware stepping it up, adding positions, roles, supporting the coaching community by bringing in more staff and getting more resources to pour into student athletes, especially during this time. And Christina, I just want to say thanks for being with us today. This was fun.
[00:38:28.12] Absolutely. This was awesome. I loved getting to talk with you today, Eric.
[00:38:32.23] Yeah. So for our listeners tuning in, what's the best way for them to get in touch?
[00:38:36.61] Yeah, so I'm pretty big on Twitter. I've done the 66 days of data, and I'm going to start that up next Monday, actually, doing round two. You'll get to see my interns in action, some of the student athletes utilizing our performance technology. I put out tutorials on easy ways to track and monitor on a budget. And my Twitter handle is @coach_raz26. And you can also reach me at my email. It's firstname.lastname@example.org. So I'm always free to chat it up.
[00:39:26.11] That's Christina Rasnake, the director of sport science and analytics at the University of Delaware. Christina, we will put your Twitter handle in our show notes so everybody can follow your 60 days of data. And I'm looking forward to that. And for everyone tuning in today, thanks for listening. And we'd also like to thank Sorinex Exercise Equipment. We appreciate their support.
[00:39:46.93] From the NSCA, thank you for listening to the NSCA Coaching Podcast. We serve you, the coaching community, so follow, subscribe, and download for future episodes. We look forward to connecting with you again soon, and hope you'll join us at an upcoming NSCA event or in one of our special interest groups. For more information, go to nsca.com.
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