THE STATS VEST AND THE INJURY-FREE BARCELONA

From The Stats Vest and the Injury-Free Barcelona

“Using GPS tracking, data can be gleaned such as distance, speed, heart rate variability, accelerations, decelerations, impact, dynamic stress load, and other goodies such as metabolic power. Increasingly, people are realizing that injuries are not bad luck, but fatigue-based. A tired muscle loses hydration and elasticity. Elongate or compress it the wrong way one time too many and it ruptures or tears. Then Bayern stomp you 7-0 on aggregate as your star player hobbles around.

Distance: Kilometers covered. How far. If coaches know that a player has a good 40 km per match in him and he logs 30 km in the first half, informed decisions can be made in terms of substitution.

Speed: How fast. If Messi runs 30 km/h in the first half but can only generate 20 km/h in the second, something has to happen…. a performance dropoff that might lead to an injury or a chronic fatigue crisis can be spotted….

Heart rate variability: Every athlete has a resting heart rate…. A tired athlete will also have a hard time getting the heart rate into a working zone as well as a hard time with the heart rate returning to baseline. Heart rate is one of the more significant parameters in performance monitoring.

Accelerations: How many and how hard…. a smart training staff will already know how many hard efforts it takes to tire him.

Decelerations: Those are more violent and stressful than accelerations …. deceleration stresses make those muscles contract in a violent way compared to the elongation stresses of acceleration…. Deceleration training is being increasingly used as a way to prevent ACL and hamstring tears, for example. How you slow down is as important as how you accelerate.

Impact: How hard.... Part of the testing of an athlete should be what the joints can tak.…The higher you jump, the greater the impact when landing. A sprinting athlete produces forces many times their body weight. Impact forces beyond certain parameters can increase the possibility of stress-related injury.

Dynamic stress load: This relates to acceleration and deceleration. When an injury occurs there is usually an abnormal increase in dynamic stress load at the point of the injury…."He landed funny" is a layman's way of saying that something wasn't right.

Metabolic power: How much force is required to initiate a movement…. Messi for longer and stronger.

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