Today we are excited to introduce another presenter for The 2013 Seminar, Landon Evans. Landon is on staff at the University of Iowa working with their Olympic Strength and Conditioning Staff and is also the
department’s sport nutritionist. Landon will be presenting on a unique topic that is sure to be of great value and assistance to all the coaches, and trainers in attendance.
JD: Landon, we’re excited to have you back on the docket this year. I know you have been very busy since you spoke last year. Why don’t you tell us what has been going on.
LE: I was given the great opportunity to join the University of Iowa Olympic Sports Strength & Conditioning department. I serve as an assistant strength & conditioning coach and oversee the sports nutrition department for the teams that we serve.
There were many great and supportive people that my family left a lot of great people at Illinois State University. I would be nowhere without the people at ISU, and am grateful for their support in my tenure there.
Additionally, my wife and I are proud parents of a 1 year old little girl. The timing of her coming into our lives, the opportunity to get back to Iowa, and to be apart of a great athletic department and staff has been a dream for our family.
JD: The new position sounds fantastic. How has the transition been? How is the new staff/environment and where do you see things going for you professionally at Iowa?
LE: The transition has been smooth. The staff at Iowa is top notch and they genuinely care about what they do. Additionally, the athletic training services director has been great to work with. The collaboration between our departments has been steadily moving forward and becoming more and more integrated by the day. It has been a great ride so far.
Professionally here, it is limitless in my opinion. There is always more that can be done. The environment in which I work allows for the envelope to continually to be pushed. Outside of the athletics department, I will begin teaching in the Health and Human Physiology department this upcoming fall. The people that I’ve met so far in the department are exactly the people that I love being around. They seem to be a very proactive group. Being a part of this department will lend itself for many opportunities for myself, and potentially our strength & conditioning department.
JD: One thing many people do not know about you is that you studied computer engineering in college. How was the transition, and where does your work as an undergrad help you as a sports performance coach?
LE: When I entered my undergraduate studies, I began in computer engineering. I was head-over-heels for computing in my early years in high school, but as the years went on in undergraduate, I became more aware of the reality of what I was actually working towards. This didn’t sit well with me so I decided to make the switch to a sport related field. Granted, knowing how the profession is now, I may have stuck out the engineering, especially from a software development standpoint. With that being said, I’m very happy with what I’m doing now.
In engineering, I was forced to think critically all the time. You were always in pursuit of finding a better way to do something. That was the expectation. It wasn’t an option. So you naturally developed more and more skillsets to solve a problem. Coaching is all about solving problems, so it was a natural transition.
Microsoft Excel was something I used right away when the Office package came out, but I didn’t get into it until I was actually coaching. From a database standpoint, I was only exposed to setting up MySQL servers, and working within Microsoft Access a bit. As a coach, everything I need (at least right now) is done in Microsoft Excel. This includes everything from workouts, to data analysis, to data visualization.
JD: I’m excited for your presentation on how coaches can utilize computer programs for tracking and analyzing data; I think that this is a topic many coaches are undereducated in. Can you tell us why this sort of work is important for the coach, and what they can learn from utilizing computer programs correctly?
LE: Numbers drive a lot of decisions. Using instinct as a coach is important, but objective data can definitely help us make many decisions a little bit easier. There are many instrumental channels that help us make those decisions. Objective data is just one of them, but a powerful one. Software can help us manage this data much better, especially if you know how to utilize the basic elements of the software.
The talk is going to be strictly on Microsoft Excel as this is the most popular software being used in our profession. Some are going web-based to write their programs, but those programs are still very limited. Excel is what the majority of the strength & conditioning professionals that I know use to construct their programs and to enter in their respective data.
If I look at my work-day, a lot of time is sitting on the computer writing programs, inputting data, analyzing data, visualizing data, staring at data to make sense of it, or reading. All of that can take a ton of time, that we really don’t have, but you can speed up the analysis and visualization by simply writing better Excel programs. Some people are intimidated by Excel, but in the hour that I will be presenting, I’ll share how to write programs easier, showcase best practices with database entry, provide shortcuts, and highlight dashboard design.
I encourage people to bring their laptops to actively work along with my presentation. Additionally, since the presentation is only 1 hour long, I do not have any issue sitting down with individuals to hack at their Excel with them to come up with a better solution for them.
JD: That sounds absolutely fantastic Landon. Finding a better way to track and input data, write programs, and visualize the data is something that can help any coach. From presentations for sport coaches, sharing data with other strength and conditioning coaches, to analyzing the training that they are implementing with there athletes, making that a faster and smoother operation would be fantastic. We can’t wait for the presentation.