Athlete Monitoring via Google Forms

There is some really awesome information to be had via regular surveying of athletes (aka athlete monitoring). You can get a very quick snapshot of how an athlete is feeling, responding to training (via markers of mood, sleep etc), and any other variables you might be interested in.  However, it is often difficult to get all of the information down quickly and efficiently.  Many people have used paper and pencil surveys, then entered data by hand, or have used dot sheets, to scan it with software/hardware later (think Scantrons). Personally, I am not a fan of the tedious task of data entry.  Recently, I began using Google Forms as a means of collecting this monitoring data (and avoiding long sessions of typing in individual data points). Google Forms is great because it runs inside a browser- so we are not tied to any particular device. We use a laptop, but some of my colleagues have used various tablets brought to practice for the same purpose.

At the beginning of a training session, we set out a laptop for each athlete to fill out prior to the training session. It takes less than 2 minutes for each athlete to fill out (about 20 questions). They each have their own “athletecode” that uniquely identifies them.  I have it set up this way so that I am able to easily sort the data afterward (in a later post, I will show how I process the entered data). Google Forms dumps the data into a spreadsheet in Google Docs, which I am able to process and access online. You can see in the screenshot below how it looks (I have obscured data for privacy reasons).

So far, this has really sped things up for us.  We are not stuck to a single computer or paper, and we don’t really have to deal with a whole lot of data entry, since the information entered by the athlete is automatically integrated into the spreadsheet that does processing, calculation, and statistics on the data. No need to enter data twice!
Now, this does require a significant amount of back-end work.  I consider myself to be very well-versed in Microsoft Excel, and while Google Docs is very similar in a lot of ways, it does have some differences that I had to navigate.  Regardless, I think it has been worth it so far in terms of time saved. Check back for more- I will be writing more about this method in the future.

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