You hear coaches, performance analysts and conditioning coaches all talk about how GPS tracking systems help prevent injuries of their players. However, you don’t hear what actual metrics they use and how they apply these metrics to prevent these injuries from occurring. You try and read articles online about how professional teams use their technology to reduce soft tissue injuries for example. But you find yourself reading the whole article without having any real evidence of what these teams look for when reducing the likelihood of their players being injured. Why would they release their methods?
In an article written by Richard Akenhead and George P. Nassis ‘Training load and player monitoring in high-level football: Current Practice and Perceptions,’ they mention the importance of monitoring training load for high-level football teams during their trainings.
But what is training load (TL)?
TL ‘is typically represented as external and internal training load, defined respectively as the work done by the athlete.’ Metrics such as speed, sprint efforts, distance and time all contribute to your TL.
Knowing what TL is, how can we apply this to prevent injuries?
In a recent study done by the School of Exercise Science at the Australian Catholic University, researchers found a relationship between an increase in training load, intensity and soft tissue injuries (non-contact) in professional soccer players. The researchers found that when athletes performed significantly higher metres per minute during their trainings and games compared to their season averages they were prone to soft tissue injuries. This essentially indicates that a sudden increase in training and gameplay intensities can lead to a player encountering muscles tears.
So how does SPT help?
Not only can SPT measure your metres per minute, but we have also created an intensity rating that takes into account the numerous metrics in the performance. Coaches can now analyse and compare their players’ intensity ratings to previous performances. If the coach sees a spike in metres per minute bars or the intensity rating then they can reduce the workload of that particular player who has undergone a large increase in their performance. By reducing the workload at training will reduce the strain on the muscles and help them recover in order to perform at a higher intensity come game day.
SPT acknowledges that many of our athletes can’t afford to get injured for many reasons so we aim to provide the highest quality of data to prevent this from happening.
We spoke to Alexandra Gummer who is a defender for the Melbourne Victory Women’s team and has been using our unit to help her come back from injury and monitor her workload.
“Coming off a navicular stress fracture which had me out injured for 7 months, SPT GPS really helped me manage my training load in returning to football. By quantifying the amount of distance covered, the speed and the amount of high speed running, helped not only myself but the medical professionals looking after my recovery to modify and monitor my training to gradually build up the load to enable me to be back playing as soon as possible. The ease of use and analysis make it easy for anyone, even myself, to understand the intensity of each session, and what more I needed to do to be back playing football.”