15 YEARS OF PROGRESSIVE CHANGE
As I started out in Sports Science support in soccer, in it’s infancy (15 years ago), it would have been difficult to predict where the support systems employed by the staff at football clubs would develop to. Training grounds were effectively places for footballers to turn up, train, eat and depart from. A small gym would be sparsely furnished with limited equipment; the only computer was the one used by the Manager’s PA to do her work. Fast forward 15 years and what a world of difference!
Football is now among the leading sports embracing technology and its rate of adoption is fast increasing in a trickle down effect to lower league clubs. This has been driven on a number of fronts.
- Staff employed in support roles are now more ware and confident in the use of advanced technologies to help support and underpin their work. Why guess when you can know? Data is available if you can find a means of collecting it!
- Companies have developed technologies out of the needs of the professionals and the recommendations from the research. Some elements have been ‘sport=led’ such as the use of Prozone, while other interventions have come on the back of applied research, which perhaps the use of coritsol and testosterone measurements in the saliva through companies like iPro Interactive.
- Media companies have developed solutions to provide a competitive advantage over their competitors in order to attach (or keep) their viewers. Rich media on-screen becomes commonplace to fans, players and managers alike and clubs which can’t provide similar levels of information may be seen as lacking!
THE APPLIANCE OF SCIENCE
Lets take on specific area to focus on; monitoring of training load (the frequency, intensity duration and type of training completed by each player). There are a large number of relevant pieces of information that the staff would want to explore such as:
Prior to training there may be a number of subjective and objective measurements including:
- Heart Rate Variability Assessment
- Salivary Assessment
- Total Quality Recovery Questionnaire
- Readiness to Train Evaluation
- Muscle Soreness Rating
- Leg Power Assessment
- Skeletal Alignment (including Jaw alignment)
- Soft Tissue Investigation
- OmegaWave Montitoring (Central and Peripheral Nervous System Test)
- Sleep Pattern / Regeneration Monitoring
During training players will be monitored for
- Duration of training
- Total Load (based on pre-defined individual parameters)
- Load in different zones of HR / La / VO2 %
- Durations / Distances at different speeds and directions
- Frequency of Sprints
- Frequency and number of changes of direction
- No. of Accelerations & Decelerations / Ratios of Accelerations:Decelerations
- Recovery time between sprints
- Number of collisions / falls / tackles / jumps
- Interactions with the ball (passes, shots, crosses, clearances etc)
- Recovery time between training drills / sections (whether active of passive with coach)
- Rate of Perceived Exertion
Clubs will employ a variety of different technologies to monitor measurements and in related articles we will stat to explore the variety of systems available. Of course, the staff will always be preparing with an eye on match day and the loadings they will experience there, so check out the variety of performance analysis systems clubs utilise here!