Blaming Bill Gates AGAIN! Misuse, overuse and misunderstanding of performance data in sport

D. Collins, H.J. Carson, A. Cruickshank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently in Sport, Education and Society, Williams and Manley (2014) argued against the heavy reliance on technology in professional Rugby Union and elite sport in general. In summary, technology is presented as an elitist, ?gold standard? villain that management and coaches use to exert control and by which players lose autonomy, identity, motivation, social interactions and expertise. In this article we suggest that the sociological interpretations and implications offered by Williams and Manley may be somewhat limited when viewed in isolation. In doing so, we identify some core methodological issues in Williams and Manley?s study and critically consider important arguments for utilising technology; notably, to inform coach decision making and generate player empowerment. Secondly, we present a different, yet perhaps equally concerning, practice-oriented interpretation of the same results but from alternative coaching and expertise literature. Accordingly, we suggest that Williams and Manley have perhaps raised their alarm prematurely, inappropriately and on somewhat shaky foundations. We also hope to stimulate others to consider contrary positions, or at least to think about this topic in greater detail. More specifically, we encourage coaches and academics to think carefully about what technology is employed, how and why, and then the means by which these decisions are discussed with and, preferably, sold to players. Certainly, technology can significantly enhance coach decision making and practice, while also helping players to optimise their focus, empowerment and independence in knowing how to achieve their personal and collective goals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1088-1099
Number of pages12
JournalSport, Education and Society
Issue number8
Early online date10 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015


  • Elite Sports Culture
  • Empowerment
  • Professional Judgement and Decision Making
  • Rugby
  • Technology


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