Catapult wishes to congratulate one of its UK-based sport scientists, James Malone, on the recent completion of his PhD.

A former sport scientist for Liverpool FC before joining the Catapult team, Malone’s thesis was titled ‘An examination of the training loads within elite professional football’, and looked to quantify the current training load practices with an elite football team using applied methods of data collection (eg. GPS, heart rate, RPE, jump measurement).

Malone is excited to apply the knowledge gained from his PhD to his work at Catapult.

“It has been a tough three-year process,” Malone said. “Combining my work full-time at Liverpool FC whilst also completing a PhD thesis.

“However, it has been a very rewarding process and hopefully I can transfer the knowledge and skillset attained through the PhD process in to my daily work with Catapult.”

The first two chapters of the thesis highlighted the importance of quantifying the error associated with applied data collection methods in order to establish which variables are both reliable and valid.

The second part quantified the periodisation strategies of an elite soccer team, with analysis revealing limited variation in training load during both the pre-season and in-season phases.

The final chapter looked at the response in counter-movement jump performance across a typical in-season micro-cycle in elite youth soccer players, revealing training load was insufficient to cause a change in jump performance across the micro-cycle.

Overall the thesis highlighted the lack of variation in training load currently employed in elite soccer and suggests that future work should look to establish soccer-specific periodisation models that allow for optimal training variation within the time frames possible in the sport.’

“I would like to thank everyone who has helped me along the way, particularly my director of studies, Professor Barry Drust, and hope that this is the beginning of a successful career in sport science research.”


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