Based in Hartford, Connecticut, Hartford Athletic is an American professional football team competing in the United Soccer League (USL) Championship. The team uses Catapult’s PlayerTek wearable technology to “maximize the development and performance processes by providing detailed information and qualifying the decision making that becomes driven by scientific data as a complement to the qualitative analysis from the technical staff”.
Luiz Fernando Silva, Hartford Athletic’s First Team Assistant Coach and Director of Scouting and Performance Analysis, first used Catapult when he was at América Mineiro in Brazil.
“As a Performance Analyst, I need to track physical demands and effort levels of our players during training and matches to provide an interdisciplinary analysis of their performance. When talking to the Sports Science staff, Catapult came up. Catapult is a well-known company when it comes to enhancing performance through load monitoring.”
Monitoring athletes returning from injury is a huge driver for Luiz and the team, and an area where load monitoring is critical.
“We have set protocols in place to plan and monitor the load of the player during the transition period from injury to full training — managing the load in a progressive process is important as we also measure how players are responding to provide any necessary adjustments.”
Empowering technical staff
“Individual plans are delivered and monitored according to a player’s profile and positional demands,” Luiz said. “Also, it helps improve our scouting as we can pursue players with similar or complementary characteristics.
“Data from training sessions and games provide a database for future decisions in regards to the most appropriate session for specific goals. The overall feedback provided to players is stronger when qualitative video analysis has the support of data.
“Acceleration/deceleration, sprint distance and top speed are crucial for us to measure during training sessions and games as they are the key factors of our playing philosophy. They are also variables directly related to player acquisition for evaluating strength, aerobic capacity, and speed.”
Minimizing injury risk and preparing for competition
“The external and internal load data provided by Catapult is analyzed individually to support the management of each player’s training workload in an acute:chronic ratio to avoid under- or over-training and minimize the risk of injuries.
“During the pre-competitive period, players are exposed to loads that are monitored to analyze their response and progression towards the physical demands of the game according to the club’s style and principles of play. Within the competitive period, the monthly and weekly loads are planned and adjusted to stimulate continuous development and to ensure our athletes are ready and fresh to perform at their highest level in order to contribute to a winning club.”