The analysis of training data using GPS trackers is one of the key elements in the work of training staff in Pordenone Calcio. The data from the Sonda Sport system provide us with a measurable picture of our work on the pitch and help to understand how we can develop and improve our training methods to bring our players to the top of their potential.
- WHY WE STARTED TO USE DATA ANALYSIS: NO MORE MEASUREMENTS BY EYE
For many years coaching staff in soccer were used to discussing training methodology relying only on their own experience or what they have learned from other coaches. In this kind of environment, what is visible for the coach’s eyes could only be estimated but not measured. That’s because we can’t measure a player’s effort in an accurate way by eye. Even if it could be possible, we could be wrong due to many other aspects that are not related to the value that we are looking for (our expertise, our feelings, prejudices towards a player and so on). That’s why we needed a tool to eliminate this kind of mistake and to create a scientific approach to analyze what we were doing.
As video match analysis became a good method to implement technical and tactical aspects, we think that the use of GPS trackers allows us to have real measurements of a player’s physical performance. With these kinds of numbers, we can approach the training in a scientific way to bring our players and the whole team to higher levels.
- A USEFUL REPORT TO THE COACHING STAFF
To reach our goal we must share this information also with the other part of the staff. So, we must create a smart and easy report that the coach can understand quickly and using these numbers he can improve his training process. This is possible for us because downloading the data with Sonda Sport’s app is fast, their processing is easy and statistics are clear to understand. A few minutes after training or a match is off, we have a summit in our meeting room that also includes physical data to support coach’s feedback. So, we can know what the team has done, process and manage it for the next training sessions to improve the player’s condition.
Here is what we take into account in our reports:
- Total distance (m)
- Distance/minute (m/min)
- Metabolic Power (W/kg of body weight)
- Player load
- High intensity distance (m)
- Accelerations / decelerations
The last three parameters are particularly useful for us to understand if the training is bringing our players to be ready to face Saturday’s match day. As the Serie B championship is becoming more and more intense, players must be stronger and be ready to change speed, direction even more frequently and faster to win, to be efficient and to prevent injuries. Instead, data as Distance/minute or metabolic power are used to evaluate the training’s volume.
- CREATING AN EXERCISE DATABASE
To adjust the training to the player and team’s goals, we must choose the right exercise or game to hit the target we are focused on. GPS trackers could be so useful to identify how a game or an exercise works. Then we can divide them into different categories, such as neuromuscular or metabolic ones, and their difficulty level. In this way, the S&C coach can help the trainer to select the right option that can satisfy both tactical and conditional fields to make the players more resilient.
- MATCH AND TRAINING COMPARISON
Weekly challenge is the match. Coach must prepare the team for this event. If he knows the match demands from each player, it could be easier to stimulate them to be prepared for what will happen. So, comparing training to match data, he and his staff are able to know if the training is complex and challenging enough for the team. In our experience with a team with a lot of players that have played with us for a long time we have collected a lot of data. Using those numbers, we know how we should increase or decrease the load to adapt the team in a personalized way regarding weekly volume or intensity.
- CREATING COMPETITION BETWEEN PLAYERS
In sport, competition is the key, so generating it during the training could also help to create competitive players and teams for the match and for the championship. We start to share with the team a public scoreboard also including physical data for some kind of exercise or training session where they can see the physical results. In this way we try to create two different adaptations. The first one is that they are pushed to move their performance to higher levels to win against their teammate. So, the challenge is present in every moment of the session. Moreover, this kind of data sharing involves the players in their improvement process because they become more and more curious and want not only to know what these numbers mean, but also how to improve them.
- EVALUATING PLAYER’S TENDENCY DURING THE SEASON
This huge amount of data gives us the possibility to have a large picture of every player. Using a longitudinal evaluation for each of them, we can understand if he is doing his own job in a proper way or if he wasn’t able to repeat his performance due to overtraining or some other kind of problems. He could also perform better than his standard values. In this way we can hypothesize and choose if it could be better to continue to make him play, reduce his employment or give him a rest period.
- RETURNING TO THE PLAY
Soccer and sport push player’s ability to the limit and incidents like injuries are becoming more and more common. The aim of the rehab process is to bring the athlete back to activity in the best condition possible. GPS data can be very useful for some main reasons. It can guide the coach to provide an appropriate progression for volume and intensity. In addition to that, having some data can support the player to reach his own goals day by day and also have some parameters that can give certainty to the players that he recovered fully to pre-injury values.