There’s a common challenge NCAA mid-major athletic programs face – high expectations on and off the field with limited resources. Canisius College, a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, is no stranger to this. The softball and baseball programs have experienced success, and investments are continually being made to build hockey and basketball championship-caliber programs.
Director of Athletic Performance, Sergio Merino, is focused on the welfare of his student-athletes including educating them about the important role sports science plays in their sport performance regiment. With a small staff and almost 300 student-athletes, the Golden Griffins coach was pulled in many directions and in need of a comprehensive solution. He approached CoachMePlus to help him streamline his workout plans and become more efficient with all of the data he was collecting.
Beginning in April, 2015, CoachMePlus worked with Merino to implement the CoachMePlus athlete data management platform into the Golden Griffins sports performance program. They worked together to develop a daily questionnaire which would allow Merino to have a faster and more accessible look at the various lifestyle factors (sleep, nutrition, hydration, etc.) the department wanted to track to make more accurate and informed decisions in support of the emphasis on student-athlete welfare.
CoachMePlus also populated the program builder function with individualized workout plans and support videos for each of the Golden Griffins sports programs utilizing the system. In-season and out-of-season workouts can be uploaded and easily changed in the event of necessary rehabilitation or program differentiation.
Athlete dashboards and customized reports based on the Merino’s algorithms were developed to eliminate the vast amount of spreadsheets and data crunching he was doing on a daily basis. These dashboards and reports, along with the daily questionnaire and program builder were all supported with the assessment monitor which was installed in an accessible location for all student-athletes and coaches to view.
By far, CoachMePlus has been one of the best companies I have dealt with in the performance industry.
As of June, 2015, 7 of the 16 Golden Griffin teams – about 150 student-athletes and 20 sport coaches – are utilizing the CoachMePlus system. The student-athletes’ response has been overwhelmingly positive. The ease and access of the program builder and training function allows them to follow through with workouts on or off campus, and the step-by-step videos are available if they need reinforcement about how an exercise should be completed.
The assessment monitor has helped the coaches quickly and efficiently determine program compliance. It also has played a major role in educating the student-athletes. They can now easily visualize all of their data and have developed a better understanding about the important role their lifestyle, along with training plays in their performance.
The testing feature has allowed Merino and his staff more time to coach, learn and develop programming as opposed to entering data, crunching numbers in excel and creating charts. The unique reports and athlete dashboards provide a level of customization and centralization for all of the data received from the daily questionnaire, heart rate monitoring, in addition to the previous days and weeks training loads from practice and performance training. There is now an ease of access for the sport coaches, performance coaches and athletic trainers which has streamlined communication and allowed for proper interventions and adjustments being made before student-athletes even enter the weight room or practice.
This improved communication between athletic trainers, strength & conditioning coaches, sport coaches and administration is a critical component in improving student-athlete welfare. Knowing the “what” and “why” behind an athlete’s performance (both on and off the fields of play) allows all of those involved in creating a balanced experience the ability to make faster and more informed decisions.
The sport coaches can also use these dashboards and reports for recruiting. Prospective student-athletes can see the success current student-athletes have achieved and they can also get a sense of the strong commitment Canisius has in their personal development as an elite athlete and exceptional student.
I see CoachMePlus becoming a must-have system for any sports performance department.
Sergio Merino is entering his second year as the director of athletic performance at Canisius. He was promoted to director of athletic performance in September 2014 after serving as the assistant director of athletic performance at the College for two months.
In his role within the Canisius athletic department, Merino will help create and oversee all student-athlete development programs and athletic performance related activities. He works directly with the Canisius baseball, men and women’s basketball, hockey, volleyball and women’s lacrosse programs.
Prior to joining the Canisius staff, Merino spent two years as the assistant strength and conditioning coach at Quinnipiac, where he oversaw strength and conditioning efforts for the Bobcats’ men and women’s lacrosse teams, men’s soccer team, the baseball program and the school’s acrobatics and tumbling teams.
As part of his position at Quinnipiac, he developed and implemented strength and conditioning programs, monitored training readiness and recovery of student-athletes and oversaw, managed and educated interns. Before joining the staff at Quinnipiac, he spent two years working for the Ranfone Training Systems group in Hamden, Conn., for two years and he also worked at the Moore Center for Rehabilitation, where he oversaw daily operations and assisted in the development of the center’s training process for new hires.
A 2009 graduate of Southern Connecticut State, Merino earned his master’s degree in exercise science and health promotion and sports psychology from California (Pa.) in 2013. He is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the NSCA and he’s also a Precision Nutrition Level 1 coach.