WHOOP Unite Helps NCAA Field Hockey Team Reach First Division I Championship

Customer Case Study

Field hockey players using WHOOP Unite
Nikki Parsley-Blocker
Head Field Hockey Coach

“There is no doubt in my mind that WHOOP Unite helped us make the run to the national championship.”

As one of the fastest growing athletic programs in the nation, the Division I Field Hockey team sought a partner that could give student-athletes the tools to implement lasting behavioral changes into their daily lives, and the education to understand why it matters. 

Enter WHOOP Unite, the only comprehensive health and wellness solution that prepares student-athletes for holistic success through personalized insights, coaching, and education.

quote from field hockey head coach

Partnering with WHOOP Unite’s Customer Success Program

As a former Field Hockey All-American and All-Big-10 honoree, head coach Nikki was keenly aware of the importance of understanding performance factors. 

Eager to transform her team’s culture to optimize performance, Nikki was confident that engagement with WHOOP Unite’s Customer Success Program could empower her student-athletes with education about the factors that impact their performance and the tools to better manage their physical and mental stressors.

The Field Hockey team’s partnership with WHOOP Unite included customized onboarding and education. A dedicated Customer Success Manager worked with the team to provide education sessions surrounding the key physiological metrics that impact performance, how to adjust daily behaviors to see results, and where and how to track their progress with WHOOP.

Head Field Hockey Coach

“Part of the challenge of the head coach role is knowing what your athletes need to succeed and being able to adapt as their needs inevitably change.”

Transforming team culture with education

Nikki attended WHOOP Unite’s education sessions alongside her student-athletes, working closely with them to help them absorb the education and apply it to their team’s five pillars of success:

  • Selfless: We before me.
  • Accountable: Do what you say you will do.
  • Relentless: Outwork and attack at all times.
  • Free: Not held back by failure.
  • Vulnerable: A willingness to show up and be seen.

Equipped with detailed insights about their sleep quality, consistency, and duration, as well as metrics related to strain and recovery like resting heart rate (RHR), heart rate variability (HRV), and respiratory rate, the student-athletes began making lifestyle changes to embody their team pillars more powerfully. This meant evaluating factors that could affect physical or mental performance on any given day, remaining attentive to why their bodies were reacting a certain way, and being proactive about asking for help.

Throughout the season, the Field Hockey players worked towards these goals together, helping them grow increasingly in tune with one another’s needs and ultimately improving their relationship as a team both on and off the field. 

Head Field Hockey Coach

“If we can give our athletes a clear explanation about why they’re doing something to improve their performance — they’ll go to the nth degree to make it happen. ”
Graphic demonstrating team improvements with WHOOP

Measuring team-wide success

With the help of WHOOP Unite education, the team saw measurable improvements in their individual and team performance.

The goal of the education programming was to get players to be more consistent with their sleep, get higher quality sleep, and sleep longer. 

Head Field Hockey Coach

“Many student-athletes get to college and they’re really bad sleepers, especially in this environment. But when they learn why they’re not sleeping well and start making changes, they’re like wow, I feel like a completely different human.”

Paving the way for future championships

In partnership with WHOOP Unite, this athletic program’s success has skyrocketed. The Field Hockey team made it to the 2021 NCAA Division I National Championship title game — the first time in school history that any team at the university made it to the finals of a national championship. 

While there was a learning curve — and changing team culture didn’t happen overnight — the results demonstrate the value of partnering with WHOOP Unite, especially from the start of a student-athlete’s team career. From the moment players stepped on campus, student-athletes were encouraged by insights from WHOOP Unite and the Customer Success Program to understand and act on the key factors that impact their performance. In turn, they were able to see the impact of their growth at both the individual and group level, ultimately bringing them closer together as a team. 

Interested in learning more?

See how WHOOP Unite can help your athletic department elevate student-athletes’ wellness to optimize team performance.

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