Playing in the Campeonato Brasileiro de Futebol Feminino, the highest tier of women’s football in Brazil, Corinthians are one of the world’s most successful women’s teams. Since being re-founded in 2016, the club has won a league championship and enjoyed continental success with two Copa Libertadores Femenina titles.
In an effort to maintain the team’s success, Corinthians’ sports science department started looking for new ways to generate competitive advantage. The result of that process was that Ronaldo Kobal and Marcelo Rossetti, the club’s Sports Scientist and Strength & Conditioning Coach respectively, decided to use PlayerTek+ wearable technology by Catapult to gain a deeper understanding of player and team performance.
In 2019, Corinthians broke the all-time record for consecutive wins in professional football, winning 28 in a row to surpass the 1971/72 Ajax team (26 wins) and the previous mark of 27 set by Welsh side TNS in 2016. Following their record-breaking season, we caught up with Ronaldo and Marcelo to find out how the club is using the technology to optimise performance.
According to Ronaldo, Corinthians’ players wear the PlayerTek+ devices in training and games to support objective decision making, provide insights into intensity, and improve communications between athletes and coaches.
“Catapult is very important for us because we use the metrics to monitor each player throughout training and games,” Ronaldo explains. “At the end of a specific period, the technology also enables us to monitor an athlete’s evolution.”
More specifically, both Ronaldo and Marcelo are able to individualise sessions to reflect the intensity of both games and training. Together, they have been able to use the technology to “characterise the physical demands of games by certain positions.”
By analysing and evaluating player performance by position and across each session, the training staff have been able to more effectively periodise strength and conditioning programs. “We strategically plan weekly and monthly according to our schedule,” explains Ronaldo. “Last season we were able to complete two or three strength and power sessions each week; even during weeks with two games.”
Setting The Standard
Now that they’ve been using PlayerTek+ for some time, Ronaldo and Marcelo are able to identify the performance levels they can hold players to and make comparative performance assessments by.
“We started using the technology by analysing and characterising the metrics we wanted to track during training and games,” said Ronaldo. “Soon after we were able to establish standard measures which formed the next step, comparing individual and team metrics throughout the season.”
Now that the Corinthians players wear the devices during every session, Ronaldo has been able to collect a considerable amount of data that he uses to “create a database of player data that is updated on a daily basis.” As such, Ronaldo can assess each player against their typical performance levels. If there are any discrepancies around those performances he can keep the technical coaches informed with objective performance insights.
Throughout last season, the Corinthians players and coaches used performance data in their communications as part of a two-way dialogue to provide both parties with constructive feedback.
“The communication between coaches and athletes is very important, we frequently give feedback about performances to each player,” says Ronaldo. Through the Cloud-based functionality of PlayerTek+, the players are able to see their data and coach’s comments whenever and wherever they want.
This accessibility is something Ronaldo believes is essential for achieving the very highest levels of performance. “All players can access PlayerTek+ via the Cloud and see their data. The information is essential for our coaches as they make more accurate decisions. Nowadays, tracking technology is fundamental in trying to reach your potential.”
Following a record-breaking 2019, it will be fascinating to see how Corinthians build on their recent success. We look forward to continuing to support the club with monitoring technology as it goes from strength to strength in domestic and continental competition.