The challenge:

Through our Performance Edge specialism, Leading Edge Performance have worked with the ECB’s U19 players and coaches to help inform a deeper review following the recent World Cup in South Africa.

Cricket is a data-heavy sport, and the post-match or post-tournament review is a critical part of gathering and making sense of performance metrics. Through surveys with players and coaching staff, the ECB had already acquired and analysed some data to feed into future matches and the programme as a whole. Gathering, understanding and using data is essential for informing a wider strategy to stay world-leading team and gain an edge over rivals.

With initial data headlines only going so deep, ECB Player Identification and Pathway Lead David Court viewed this as a clear moment in time to bring in Performance Edge expertise, to explore the data in greater detail and deepen knowledge and insight as part of a forward-looking review.

Performance Edge designed and delivered a fast-turnaround decompression project to inform findings of a full programme review while generating both immediate actions and priorities along with steps for the future.

What we delivered:

Performance Edge decompressed a group of staff and players through 1:1 discussions.

Where a typical internal post-match review focuses on technical and tactical aspects of performance – very much at match level – the Performance Edge-led decompression supported the person-centric work of ECB’s great coaches to bring out the human perspectives.

Decompression provides an opportunity not only to slow down and pause but also to gain clarity and perspective before accelerating into changes, adjustments and design with heightened confidence in the actions being taken.

The 1:1 decompression discussions were less about a specific match and more about the whole experience, building a narrative for the programme in its entirety. This meant casting the net wider in discussions with both players and coaches. These discussions allowed us to gather data relating to different moments and compare them to other moments in time,

then push down a couple of layers to draw out the sum of their experiences and gain mappable insights to feed into and enhance future programmes.

With discussions complete, the Performance Edge case conference brought our team back together to share themes and begin to allocate useful language to them. This stage follows a rigorous process and requires the involvement of an external voice, someone with just enough client context to ask good questions, challenge assumptions, hold tensions, and help sort fact, information and inference. Systematically working through the raw perspectives captured in this way removes the element of bias and ensures a quality output.

Through the decompression and case conference, we built on their data, hunted for the facts, and uncovered useful dynamics and themes in a way that pulled the picture together for the leadership group.

The results achieved:

Decompression was both complementary and challenging – not the sum, but a critical part that helped unlock lots of other data to inform the programme.

· Data provides a ‘way in’ that’s not judgemental, allowing deeper discussions and opportunities to create and hold tensions to drive conclusions. As a skilful third-party supporter, we can leverage that to benefit clients.

· The leadership group have been able to quickly make sense of what they knew and gain a more complete picture, one that combines players’ voices and coaches’ voices to push beyond a single line in a survey.

· That complete picture opens up much deeper insight across the programme and identified actions to take now, along with priorities for the longer term and steps for the future to elevate performance.

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