EXPLORING WELLNESS DATA
A visit to a professional football club in Melbourne initially sparked my curiosity about wellness data. A
friend of mine worked at the club, and while on a tour of the team’s training facility I noticed two PCs in
the corner of the indoor training area. He told me about a new initiative in which players would answer
a series of questions about their physical and mental wellness every morning as they arrived for training.
The data was analyzed by the coaching and fitness staff, and used to modify a player’s training program
based on how he was feeling physically or mentally.
Later, I began thinking about whether it was possible to apply the same approach to wellness and
individualization to students and learning? What if we could collect data on our student’s wellbeing and
adapt their school day based on how they are feeling?
Could wellness data be collected and integrated into our school environment to improve and
individualize the education experience of our students?
Wellness data at St. Kilda Football Club
The data and findings of the wellness program conducted at the St. Kilda Football Club were published in
the Journal of Strength and Conditioning. The players rated their wellness in 9 areas (fatigue, general
muscle, hamstring, quadriceps, pain/stiffness, power, sleep quality, stress and well-being) each day for
the 180-day season. The staff then modified each player’s program based on the results. Examples of
such modifications included decreasing a player’s training load if he was feeling overly fatigued or
providing yoga or meditation to a player who was feeling stressed. At one stage during the grueling
season, the team’s wellness data was so low the coaches cancelled training for the entire club and they
went to the movies instead. The study concluded “that self-reported player ratings of wellness provide a
useful tool for coaches and practitioners to monitor player responses to the rigorous demands of
training, competition, and life as a professional athlete” (Meyer & Robinson, 2013).
Given that asking how tight are hamstrings and quadriceps is not highly relevant for 12-15 year-old
students, what questions should we ask? What questions might give us insight into how students are
feeling and how it might affect their learning?
In my Health classes, students learn the concept of the Health Triangle. The Health Triangle is a model
used to describe the interrelationship between a person’s physical, mental, and social health. It teaches
that all three elements are interdependent and that a complete state of health and wellbeing cannot be