The data suggests that, for most players, peak match-intensity was not reached during the specific drill. Markedly lower peak 60-seconds training intensity during open play compared to highest match intensity.
Earlier this year the coaching staff from a club in a European top league came to us with a request. They said that they were unable to match certain teams on a physical level, and they often got destroyed by them. Now, they wished to make sure that all their players reached their peak match load in practice and they wanted to show the data to the players that weren't pushing it hard enough at the training ground.
Using our Player Load metric, which emphasizes the mechanical load placed on the lower extremity, we estimated the cumulative load placed on each player during a 10v10 drill aiming to reproduce the intensive in-game demands that occur during open match play.
Firstly, we tracked an MD -3 practice session (with seven days between matches) with a large sized game 10 vs 10 designed to reproduce peak match load. Then we tracked the players the following weekend as they played one of the strongest teams in the league. We then compared the most intensive 60 seconds from each occasion.
We identified the specific periods during training and match with the highest load for each player in 10 varying ‘time windows’. One minute, two minutes, three minutes and upwards to 10 minutes. The results confirmed some of the staff’s assumptions but they also provided a number of new insights about the players’ performance and peak load in the specific drills and elements of the training session.
The data suggests that, for most players, peak match-intensity was not reached during the specific drill. The results were used to start a constructive dialogue with the players who worked with a significantly lower peak intensity in training. These kind of intensity data is super useful for coaches when assessing training intensity.
After the test, the team has used our system and its load benchmark feature to track and compare the players’ overall load and their high-intensity work in matches and practice. Additionally, the comparison between peak load in 2 minutes, 3 minutes etc. showed the same pattern as the graph below although with a slightly smaller difference in load at the higher end of the scale.