Eric Ciano will start his sixth year with the Buffalo Bills when the team begins training camp for the 2015-16 season. A Springfield College and University of Tennessee graduate, Ciano had previously worked with Georgia Tech Athletics prior to joining the Bills staff.
His background in college athletics gives him a unique perspective about the sport performance needs of athletes as they move up the ranks from high school standouts to collegiate competitors and then transition into professional athletes.
CoachMePlus sat down with Ciano to gain his perspective on how he has adapted the CM+ system into his sports performance regiment, the positive results he has witnessed and how he sees CoachMePlus progressively impacting the sport performance and sports science industry in the future.
When did you start using CoachMePlus?
We’ve been using CoachMePlus for two years. We first started the application by starting out simple, and using the offseason workout app. It is very user-friendly, basically anywhere the players go they have the accessibility to workouts. It has made our job much easier because we are able to change a program on a weekly basis. If the guys are away from here I can customize it to their individual needs, for example quarterbacks, kickers. That has been a huge asset for us. Also with our injured players, we can individualize the workouts for them while they are rehabbing.
Talk about using the assessment monitor for daily programming…
We actually use a lot of things in our daily program, and CM+ has helped us tremendously from a time management perspective. When our athletes walk in the building, the first thing they do is check out the monitor above the scale. It has all of their pictures on it, and everyone starts the morning as red. We have three tasks they have to complete every morning. When the athlete has completed all three of those tasks, their face initially turns green so we know everybody has completed that area of the testing. What’s nice about it is we don’t have to write everything down anymore, it automatically goes into my computer. Also, for the athletes, they simply touch their face, the weight goes in, they do their questionnaire, and they move onto the next task, so it’s basically been real simple for our players. Easy to pick up, easy to use. By using this technology with the daily body weights questionnaire we are able to see this information in real time and we’re able to make decisions on the spot.
What are the benefits of having subjective and objective information in one place?
By using CoachMePlus we are able to house all of our information from all of our different technologies in one place, helping us make informed decisions on athletes on a daily basis. From questionnaire and body weights to any GPS, HRV or sleep/fatigue data, we can look at each individual’s daily profile and make a decision if we need to make some adjustments to his workout and/or practice.
How has using CoachMePlus improved communication and coaching with the players?
Communication has been improved amongst our staff, and throughout our players. As a staff, we can review all of the information and discuss any issues we see. Also, we can bring an athlete in and sit down with him and discuss what we are seeing on his profile and questionnaire, along with any of his measurements. We can talk about the areas he may need to improve in, maybe from a recovery standpoint in terms of sleep and nutrition – factors that can help keep him on the field longer.
How has using CoachMePlus saved you time and improved coaching efficiency?
CoachMePlus has been a huge timesaver for us in terms of man hours everything is imported into one data base, one page, and all I have to do is click on the person’s name or I can click on the team report. We can pinpoint the data we want to see in specific graphs and reports. We have our data, our way and by having all this information in one uniform place it helps us make a better decision on athletes on a daily basis, and helps us relay the information to our staff as well as the coaching staff on the player’s status. I can actually be on the floor more, and be more of a coach than sitting behind Excel all day long putting together stat sheets, data bases and bar graphs.
When you were making technology decisions, were you limited by what devices you were able to purchase or was it open for you to pick?
By using CoachMePlus, we were actually able to adapt any software we had. There were a few companies they worked with to make sure all of our technology worked with their system. There were a few companies we did use that they did not have at the time and they worked to integrate them as well. They expanded with our needs.
How do you see CoachMePlus benefitting collegiate athletes differently than professional athletes?
I think this would be a great tool and a huge asset in the college setting. Being a former college strength coach, looking back at how I could have applied this to our program, from a recruiting stand point and from an athlete development standpoint, helping to make informed decisions on our athlete’s readiness every single day or from the day before. The number of athletes you have in a college program is huge, so from a communication and efficiency standpoint, it’s a much bigger impact. I also think in the college setting it is a huge recruiting tool for athletes because you can also show recruits how your other athletes have developed over the years and you will be able to show them their progress over their career with you. It’s important on a yearly basis for the athlete to see how he has developed in all of the different areas, not just the weight room, but you can see body composition, body weight, strength training, etc.