Dr Fergus Connolly (High Performance Consultant, Speaker & Author)

data leadership performance strategy Apr 28, 2024


n episode 17 I speak to Dr. Fergus Connolly sports performance expert, consultant, speaker and author. Fergus has worked in professional football, rugby, the NFL, NBA and with elite military units to name a few. In this episode we dive deep into his philosophies around data collection, interpretation and meaning as well as how he strategically guides teams to identify performance problems and solutions. Fergus provides a very deep insight into how he influences performance and covers the topic broadly and pragmatically from his experiences with top teams and organisations.

In this Episode with Fergus Connolly we discuss:

  • The teams and organisations he has worked with over his career
  • His PHD in Computer based optimisation – an action based research PHD. Designing and writing software but implementing it in practise, which gave him an appreciation for both theoretical and more importantly real work application. Something he took with him into sport.
  • Evolution from the Information age to the data era and now we’re missing the knowledge era
  • How Fergus focuses on people and outcomes in sport science.
  • Current state of education as an industry and pyramid scheme leading to a gap between theory and application of real world sport science.
  • The realisation that nothing matters if it doesn’t affect the scoreboard.
  • Challenges of implementing methods and tools into practise. Is education ill equipping coaches and performance personnel to deal with the real world and different personalities or cultures.
  • Problems and Solutions
    • Starting with the problem rather than starting with a pre-selected solution
    • When consulting to teams: Often the problem they employ you for is different to the problem that you arrive at from the fresh perspective.
  • Interpreting and communicating data correctly
  • Collecting Clean Data: The benefits of individualising data and the disadvantages of relying on averages.
  • How does Fergus ensure the meaning of data is interpreted the same across staff and departments.
  • The value of developing intuition and interpersonal skills not just immersing yourself in academic theory.
  • His books and what they each cover:
  • Where does Fergus stimulate his development and knowledge
  • Pros and Cons of employing Individual specialists with larger teams or professionals with more range who are better generalists.