HOW GPS MONITORING SYSTEM HELPS IN INJURY PREVENTION
Striving to improve one’s own performance was always a common thing among professional athletes. However, not all the results can be measured by scores. In football, for example, scored goals do not show your total productivity. Such factors as teamwork, tactical decisions, player prominence and total covered distance are also taken into account. All of these factors are followed by hard work, discipline, intelligent planning and hours of training. At the same time, all types of physical qualities are interrelated, constituting a single process of sportsman’s improvement, which is carried out using general and special training instruments, methods and loads of various forms. Along with it, athletes engage in dynamic exercise which may be beyond their physical abilities and leads to serious problems like overuse, overtraining and injuries.
THE EFFECTS OF INJURIES WITHIN A TEAM
While undergoing lots of pressure and focusing on the goals, there is still one thing every coach should keep in mind – to keep athletes safe. Injuries are common among different sports and remain a serious problem. Moreover, the occurrence is higher in team sports compared with individual ones. It takes months for an individual athlete to recover, but if we talk about a team player, it has even greater effects. Rehabilitation of athletes is a comprehensive program developed jointly by traumatologists, physiotherapists, coaches, psychologists. For a player it becomes a real challenge and is very difficult for him to come to terms with the fact that he will leave sports for some time, lose his physical shape, and lag behind partners and rivals.
That is why one should think of effective methods that can help to overcome these problems. We will talk not only about the importance of safe training and injury prevention, but also how a GPS monitoring system helps in it. Either you are working on a professional level or have just started your career in sports you will find this article helpful.
HOW MODERN TECHNOLOGIES HAVE CHANGED SPORTS INDUSTRY
There is no doubt that modern technologies have significantly changed the sports industry. More and more new discoveries allow a person to set records, create new techniques and approaches to training. Nowadays, diagnostic equipment is actively used in sports, which allows you to repeatedly reproduce the image of the athlete’s movements, for further analysis and correction of training and his technique.
With technological development we can also observe a drastic decline in daily activity, especially among youngsters. Jacek Piegza, physical preparation coach of KGHM Zagłębie Lubin Football Academy remembers the “good old days” when physical education classes were held from an early age on the full spectrum of movement. In the morning a young player is driven to school by his parents, during breaks he mainly looks at his smartphone, then the training session and after that he is diven back home. This is how a young athlete’s day looks like today. Jacek states that private care causes even worse results. Being watched by a grandmother or nanny in a small apartment with several square meters, kids cannot shape their balance, mobility, strength and courage. He is enviously looking at the physical culture in the USA, where school sports are extremely well developed and the fantastic infrastructure means that everyone will find something for themselves. Children at all levels of education experience many sports and recreational activities. All of it puts young players at a greater risk of injuries in comparison to professional ones. That is why it is important to be active during the whole day. Therefore, many academies and schools organize additional sports classes among main training, trying to make up for motor deficits. For example, a parkour track was organized at Chelsea Football Academy. They also held three-day trips resembling survival camps, where children solve riddles, score points and expand their knowledge in different disciplines.
However, being engaged in different disciplines is not enough. As stated by Jacek Piegza, concentration on one discipline occurs only after the period in which the competitor has fully mastered the motor abilities. Then we shape the player’s technical skills and after some time we have very good physical preparation.
PLAYER’S PHYSICAL ABILITIES
Here regular player’s monitoring plays an important role, as it provides us with the information on his condition during the training and matches, how many accelerations he has made while having just a few seconds for the rest. Still, not all the players are of the same physical abilities and play on the same level. After becoming a PFA founder and Manchester City’s youngest scout, Jakub Bokiej tells us the story about the times he used to play football. “I couldn’t keep up physically. Most face-to-face situations ended in losing the balance, I wasn’t ready to compete with the players of my age and it didn’t help me to defend myself as a football player”. The point is, each of the players needs a different training load. Observing and comparing them with the individual data gives a larger picture that allows us to capture the early symptoms of overtraining or undertraining, the most common causes of soft tissue injuries.
According to the statistics collected in the U.S. through the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS), young athletes (age 10-14 and 15-24) are at a greater risk of injury than team players of other age groups. For example:
- In 2019 a total of 239,943 football injuries were treated in U.S. hospitals and on the report of FIFA, ankle sprain is the most common one;
- About 9% of cricketers on a squad of 25 have an injury at any given time, although the incidence in fast bowlers can be as high as 15%, as in cricket injuries vary depending on the position played;
- In rugby an estimated 57% of injuries occur during matches, more often in the second half of the game, where 35% of injuries are fractures, since it is a rough sport.
WHAT REALLY COUNTS
In order to analyze the physical parameters of an individual player in comparison to the whole team, Jakub Bokiej uses the Sonda Sports monitoring system. He says that thanks to the collected data, he tracks the statistics of training load and compares daily values with the average one for the last week. On this basis the young scout examines the symptoms of overtraining and undertraining. Statistically, as much as 90% of them are the result of insufficient motor preparation.
Thanks to the GPS monitoring system, we also know that within a few years the distance covered by sprinting and fast running has increased by as much as 30%. Players accelerate with greater intensity and gain higher speed. That is why this system is widely used in team sports to control athlete’s performance.
The system allows you to measure over 30 key parameters. It is up to every coach what data to pay attention to. For the physical preparation coach of KGHM Zagłębie Lubin the key things are Total Distance, Average Speed, Number of Sprints, Acceleration, HID, VHID, HMLD, Player Load and most important – RZ (“red zones”), the basic indicator of fatigue, overtraining and injury. Paweł Stempel, strength and conditioning coach of the Polish national rugby team, is primarily interested in heart rate ranges and speed zones in which the player was during the match, and of course whether he was able to withstand the hardships of the entire match at maximum efficiency. Pawel also uses Sonda Sports system, which makes his work much easier and shows all training parameters not only in terms of one training session but also for the entire month, so he can use the appropriate periodization of training and have training volume or intensity under control.
Irrationally prepared work and rest regime is another important aspect of injuries, as well as lack of skills when using self-regulation methods or not following the coach’s regulations. All of this can manifest itself especially in various contact sports, when an athlete acts unreasonably rude and tough in a training situation. This leads to severe fatigue and poor performance, usually characterized as overtraining. An overtrained athlete usually stays motivated, but we can observe some negative symptoms, such as lack of concentration, loss of body weight, increased resting heart rate, confusion in natural rhythm and technique, muscle tenderness etc.
MIND OVER MATTER
Last but not least, what is inside one’s mind. Every athlete may suffer a variety of emotional reactions upon being overtrained or injured. For each of them exercises and physical activity are the basis for survival and the solution to many psychological problems. So trauma or some kind of injury can lead to even greater distress.
With young players it is even harder, as their mentality changes together with the bodies. Many of them put senior players as an example and start focusing on such things as supplementation, special techniques and fancy training equipment.
Here we should mention Michał Góral, a 17-old football player from Śląsk Wrocław, who despite his young age already wrote his first book about personal development I’mpossible, can tell you a lot about self-awareness and time management, things every young athlete should put in the first place. According to Michał, he tries to organise his day in the way he can get most out of it. Today, football is in his priority and the right approach to training together with development is above all. When playing he also suffered some injuries after which the young athlete was willing to quit. His motivation, ambition and persistence made him continue. Of course, as every young player he was inspired by such famous sportsmen as Michael Jordan and Christiano Ronaldo. Only changing his own mentality helped Michał except another approach to football and training. Going back to additional activities, a young player from Śląsk Academy has the gym in his permanent plan. The recommendations from the coaches, regular fatigue monitoring, speed monitoring and parameters endurance, obtained from training with Sonda Sports, are most important and pay off on the pitch.
MAKE IT EASY
The benefits you can get out of all the facts above can be achieved in very short terms for your sports career to last long. Remember, the effectiveness of the athletes’ training and competitive activity come along with the right approaches and set of mind. Training an athlete can be a real challenge and requires lots of effort. Only by identifying the problems of your team / player, gaining new knowledge and practice and with the right tools, you can achieve the best results with minimum risk.