How Melbourne United used PlayerLoad to balance workload during championship-winning season

As Melbourne United were on their way to an Australian National Basketball League (NBL) championship, High Performance Manager Eric Hollingsworth and the coaching staff had a difficult decision to make on how to balance the workloads of physically opposing players.

“There seemed to be a bit of a trend with what happened to our team when we hit our high intensity bands, and how we could get our players up to those levels,” Hollingsworth said.

“It all seems logical but it actually gives you quite good information on how you want to train, how you want to practice, and how you create the ability of your players to get into that high intensity through your workload and your manipulation of your training program.

“How that works, in particular with some of our guys, over the season it developed into a situation where multiple high-intensity trainings during the week proved challenging. Any training over a certain threshold meant that productivity on game day dropped. And it took a few games to work that out.

“So you have the coaches’ philosophy of training hard, and most sessions were really hard with high intensity, but you have some players who react differently to it. They can do it, but they will have less in the tank on Saturday or Sunday for game day.

“One of the best things about this situation was that we met and consulted as a team to get the best result with a variety of adaptations for our players by adjusting their load management accordingly.

“You can have two players that respond totally differently. Whereas one might be your highest-working player with the highest work rate in a game, and that’s how he performs, but when you pull the workload down, performance drops. Conversely, high workload in some players can produce poor performance on game day. So you have diametrically opposed ways to get performance, and identifying this kind of information via Catapult is a huge benefit, and then being able to work with the coaches to manipulate the workloads and training leads to smart performance management.

“One of the interesting contradictions of getting more advanced with this stuff is the individuality you have to create, which then starts to compromise all the accepted norms around team culture of doing everything together.”

Melbourne United used PlayerLoad to manage workload on an individual level, dissecting the metric in the following ways to better understand performance capacity:

  • Intensity
  • Workload
  • Average load per session
  • Load against particular opposition
  • Quarter by quarter workload
  • Weekly workload distribution

After a full season of using Catapult, PlayerLoad averages looked as follows:

  • Average PlayerLoad in games: 536
  • Average PlayerLoad in wins: 528
  • Average PlayerLoad in losses: 553
  • Average PlayerLoad in training: 429
  • Top individual PlayerLoad for the season: 1221

Why not join Melbourne United in finding out what Catapult can do for your team? To discover more about our range of athlete monitoring technologies, click here.