Fitinsight CASE STUDY

Psychometric testing and Artificial Intelligence:

How the Big 5 helps to optimize professional sports teams


Running a successful sports team is reliant on a number of different factors. The physical capability and skill of all team members probably comes at the top of most coach’s lists. However, as incremental improvements of physical abilities get smaller, coaches are looking further afield to eke out a sporting advantage.

Notably, an individual’s character is playing more and more of a part in terms of an athlete’s coachability and propensity to improve.

Furthermore, coaches are thinking less about the individual…and more about what makes individuals work together successfully as a team. Less obvious factors such as communication, leadership and composure are all part of getting a team to gel.

As such, it is getting increasingly common in sport to embrace psychometric analysis during the draft and training phases.

This article looks at how a specialist in Artificial Intelligence and an online sports platform successfully pooled their resources to great effect.

Who are Deep Data Insight and Fit Insights?

Deep Data Insight is a software company specializing in bottom-line improvement through Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Big Data Science. They have designed a number of tools that help leaders across numerous sectors to increase their ROI and get the best from their teams. 

Fit Insights is a platform which is designed to derive personality insights of sports players, by evaluating qualities or abilities of a player. Fit Insights provides a number of reports such as Sentiment Analysis, Big5 Analysis, Risk Analysis and possible Psychological Disorders Analysis to identify the strengths and risks of a given player.

The Challenge:

The ability to psychometrically test has been part of sporting recruitment and development for a number of years now. However, there has been a prevailing concern that many tests can be gamed for individual advantage, leading to false results. Also…an individual’s particular mindset on any given day can further affect results.

The other issue with many psychometric testing platforms is that they only offer one particular insight. This could be The Big 5…or it could be Risk Analysis. The best solution will be holistic and modular; it will offer a true 360 degree perspective of an athlete through a combination of tools that can be used or ignored depending on circumstances.

Another challenge is how to do this with great efficiency. When dealing with elite athletes, an elite solution is needed that is lean and best-in-class. 

The Solution:

Fit Insights decided to look further afield when building their platform. They teamed up with Deep Data Insight, who were pioneering the use of social media content to report on an individual’s psychometric makeup in their “PERC3PT” product. This would provide a number of advantages over more traditional reporting in that:

  • The sentiments being expressed over social media are genuine
  • These sentiments can be tracked over time to judge any changes

An API was built to provide insights based on the personality traits associated with the traditional Big Five personality test for a player from Twitter messages, Instagram profiles and interviews. Therefore, passing through separate models, thirty-five scores (between 0 and 1) are generated through the API providing the big five personality of a given player.

Whilst the solution provides personality insights for individuals from social media, video conversation or any other digital communication source, where these aren’t available, the system uses image-based tests to provide similarly reliable results.

A modular approach means that numerous reports are available from within PERC3PT, with these being switched on or off as needed. These are as follows:

  1. Big 5 (+30 sub traits) –  A report that uses the universal ‘BIG 5’ approach to psychometric testing, as well as an additional 30 sub-categories to drill into incremental traits
  2. Sentiment Analysis –  PERC3PT determines the percentage of the candidate’s social media posts that are positive, neutral, or negative in a format that is readily digestible and can track changes over time
  3. Predicted Risk – PERC3PT uses AI to report on the candidate’s likely level of risk in 5 dimensions
  4. Deep Psychological Profile – An optional report on the potential for psychological disorders around nine risk categories
  5. Trait Report – Comparing individual data with big data to interrogate character, coachability, composure and leadership
  6. Cognitive Report – Gamified cognitive tests taken through a mobile app that generates a CHC (Cattell-Horn-Carroll) cognitive reasoning report

The final challenge – making this all work efficiently – was solved by creating an App to ensure that data can be accessed and communicated with the minimum of fuss.

The Result:

The PERC3PT tool is fully operational. It provides accessible behavioral and social insight reports. Users can quickly and easily find information they need to evaluate the ability of a player and team in order to navigate risk, maximize strengths and develop untapped potential for your team.

Fit Insights are rolling the solution out to NFL franchises across the States. Fit Insights are looking to other markets too, including the NBA and Soccer teams across Europe.