One of Europe’s leading rugby clubs, Saracens also boast one of the game’s most productive academies and has developed several international players in recent years.
Having adopted Catapult’s PlayerTek technology, Saracens Academy use the system to monitor athlete development, manage workloads, and support injury rehabilitation.
“From a strength and conditioning point of view, we use PlayerTek to monitor our pitch sessions to see if they are high, low or medium intensity,” says Liam O’Hara, Strength & Conditioning Coach with Saracens Academy. “By quantifying the intensity of each session, we can see which players are working hard and who could probably work a little bit harder.”
Saracens Academy are still in the early stages of implementing PlayerTek, but they are already building out a database of information to help support key performance decisions with objective data.
“We’ve only had the PlayerTek units about six months, but we’re looking at creating a database that tells us exactly what training drills and match situations look like from a physical perspective,” says Natasha Underwood, Head of Sports Science at Saracens Academy. “In future we can then tell the coaches “your sessions should like this” and try and manage the players better to help reduce injuries.”
For Saracens Academy to achieve their objectives in this area, it’s important for the sports science staff to engage athletes and coaches with the value of performance data. To get buy-in from young players it’s important that they feel fully engaged with the process. In this respect, Underwood has found the PlayerTek app to be particularly useful.
“I’ve been using the app a lot with certain players, because when they come and ask what they’ve done in a certain session I can quickly show them through the app which is really useful.
“The players also like to use each other as points of comparison through the app, which has been great because I create the report myself in the PlayerTek software and they’ve really bought into it and are using it to try and progress with Saracens Academy.”