As coaches getting started with DeepFit for your teams, it's important to know the basics of reading a DeepFit dashboard. Every day, I want you to be able to see, with a quick glance, where each of your athletes is at in his or her cognitive-emotional cycle.

If you can optimize each training day for each athlete (and for yourself), you will see cognitive-emotional strength growing over time. Beyond that, you'll also begin to see increased objective performance from your team and better retention numbers.

So, here we go. You are basically parachuting into your athletes' inner lives. Each individual will start at a different point in the following cycle, and some will deviate significantly from it, but the essential pattern of this loop is well established in sports psychology.

The DeepFit Cognitive-Emotional Cycle

 Black and iceberg days indicate high readiness. These are the days when your athletes can make the greatest cognitive-emotional gains.

Black and iceberg days indicate high readiness. These are the days when your athletes can make the greatest cognitive-emotional gains.

Black and iceberg status. Typically, an athlete's deepest cognitive readiness (long, black bar) is paired with an "iceberg" emotional status. The athlete has been recovering well, feeling well and perceiving his or her training from a stress-free perspective.

On days like this, cue your athletes to dig deep. These are the days when you can work very positively on their "wiring." You may see them performing movements they haven't been able to do before, and you'll often see them smiling through any level of physical effort.

 Blue and variable days indicate average readiness. These are good days to put in solid work, but coaches need to be aware that stress is present.

Blue and variable days indicate average readiness. These are good days to put in solid work, but coaches need to be aware that stress is present.

Blue and variable status. No athlete stays at his or her cognitive peak forever. Stress enters the equation and accumulates for a few days. Athletes start to report greater perceived effort, greater emotional variation and difficulty recovering.

On days like this, cue your athletes to keep the pedal down, but be aware that it may not be a "breakthrough" period. Take some extra time to ask them if their stress emotions are directly training-related, or if the source is elsewhere in their lives. Depending on their answers, you may be able to help with various factors (especially recovery factors) and keep them in an average state for a little longer.

Why keep them there longer? Well, an uphill battle is coming ...

 Gray and uphill days indicate overtraining and/or low readiness. These are days to lower your expectations for cognitive-emotional growth.

Gray and uphill days indicate overtraining and/or low readiness. These are days to lower your expectations for cognitive-emotional growth.

Gray and uphill status. This happens. Life gets hard. Training gets hard. Athletes will start to report higher perception of difficulty and higher emotional stress. They may even get a little self-destructive in their recovery factors.

If you planned for this, you won't be surprised as a coach. You may have been consciously increasing the training load for a week or 2. However, it's important to track how long this status persists for your athletes and to assess where it's coming from.

You can learn a lot in these periods. How do your athletes respond to stress? What gets them out of it, even if it's only for a second or 2?

The Return To Black

Just as stress increases through training and cognitive-emotional status inevitably declines, human beings always bounce back. There are as many routes "back to black" as there are athletes. It's a very individual process. You'll see people go directly from gray to black status in one day, you'll see a few blue days in there and you'll certainly see a wide variety of emotional trends.

The point is to make sure an athlete never goes over the cliff. Don't lose your team to extended gray and uphill periods. Don't let them completely burn out.

Need help assessing where your athletes are at? Get in touch with me. I can look behind the dashboards at each individual's complete reporting history and provide you with more specifics about what may help.

-Dan