Personal Data and Team Dynamics: Tracking Technology in U.S. College Sports
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My dissertation focuses on coordination around personal data and human-data interaction in a high-stakes, high-performance environment: college sports. In the last decade, wearable tracking technologies—e.g., FitBit, Garmin, Catapult, Whoop, Ōura Ring—have introduced new data streams, such as heart rate and sleep measurement, which college sports teams hope to harness to improve performance, prevent injury, and gain a competitive advantage. Sports teams, journalists, and entrepreneurs are all asking what can be done with tracking technologies? Their excitement about the potential of these technologies and the data they collect is shared by sports science and engineering researchers. However, when sports teams go to adopt these technologies, they face a myriad of options for tracking technologies and data management systems—all sold with the promise that tracking data could be used to keep athletes healthy by preventing injuries and overtraining and improve the team’s overall performance to win more competitions. It is possible that none of the options available are what teams need, but the promise of tracking technology has lured the sports community nonetheless. Drawing on socio-technical perspectives from Drawing on socio-technical perspectives from Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW), Information Science and Discursive Design, my dissertation takes a critical approach to the promise of tracking technologies. Instead of asking how tracking technology can be designed and used, I aim to shift the conversation to ask how tracking technologies should be designed and used? I examine how the adoption of tracking technologies may be disrupting current coordination between roles and explore how this disruption could make room for improved coordination and how the design and use of tracking data can support the needs of different roles at play in college athletics.