18 Jul Player Status Module: Supercompensation
In the last blog, we have seen how the Player Status module helps you to determine the optimal amount of load for your players. However, the amount of load isn’t the only thing to take into account when designing a training schedule. Variation in training load within a week is also important for getting your players fit and fresh for the match. Therefore, in this blog we will go into more detail about how the Player Status module supports you in getting the players fit and fresh before the match.
In contrast to most individual sports where the focus is on one absolute peak performance in the season (e.g. World Championships, Olympic games, etc.), in team sports peak performance is expected every weekend. During the week the focus is, therefore, on working towards the game. But how can you optimally prepare your players for this performance? When your training load during the week is monotonous, you are either constantly overloading or underloading the players. If the training load is constantly (somewhat) high, players do not have the time to recover from the previous training sessions or match. The resulting accumulated fatigue will cause decreased match performance. On the other hand, if the training load is consistently low, players are insufficiently prepared for the higher match demands, and will, therefore, underperform in the math. The solution is to alternate high-intensity sessions with lower intensity session: variation in training load over the week.
When you apply variation over the week in your training program, by planning one conditional session in the week, you are making use of the supercompensation principle. This means that you expose the players to the challenging demands of matches and conditional sessions (which should be 80-120% of match load), and thus challenging the body to adapt to these demands; in other words, players becoming fitter. To make optimal use of the supercompensation principle, one conditional session should be planned 2-3 days after the match (and also 2-3 days before the next match). To make sure that you don’t overload your players, you plan less intense sessions around these conditional sessions or matches. This way the players have time to adapt to the challenging demands and are recovered at the start of the next match. The resulting pattern of training load over the week is a wave-like pattern: variation in the week (see figure 1). To check whether your training program follows this wave-like pattern, the Player Status module will analyze the variation of training load during the week. When there is insufficient variation (monotony score is >3), there will be a detection and corresponding training suggestions will be shown.
Let’s assume you have a detection on monotony for explosive actions (accelerating) (see Figure 2). This indicates that you need to vary more in training load within the week. There are, however, two ways to do this: (1) increasing the load of the conditional session; and/or (2) decreasing the load of the lower-intensity sessions. First, you need to determine whether your conditional training was more than 80% of the match load for accelerations. If this is the case, you should lower the training load on the lower-intensity sessions. If your conditional training was lower than 80% of the match load for accelerations, you need to increase the load of the conditional session. This way you make sure that you make optimal use of the supercompensation principle.
There are, however, also some things to take in mind when working with this part of the module. Currently, the module only analyses whether there is sufficient variation during the week. However, it does not provide feedback on whether the high- and low-intensity training sessions are planned at the right time during the week. Furthermore, during the pre-season training period, variation during the week is less important. During this period, the main focus is on getting the players fit for the start of the season, rather than on preparing them for peak performance at the end of the week. To improve the fitness of the players, high training loads are needed. Therefore, there will be more high-intensity sessions during a week, leading to less variation. Even though variation in the week is less important during this time of the year, there still should be some variation to let the players recover from high-intensity sessions. Recovery scores are a great way of getting feedback from the players on this aspect.
The Players Status module helps you to design a training program with sufficient variation. This way you are optimally preparing your team to be fit and fresh for the match. When an alert on monotony shows up, you need to check whether your conditional training was of sufficient load. If this is the case, you need to lower the training load on the lower-intensity sessions. If the conditional session was less than 80% of the match load, you need to increase the load of the conditional session in order to make optimal use of the supercompensation principle. However, bear in mind that the module only analyses the variation in the week, it does not analyze whether the high- and lower-intensity sessions are planned at the right time during the week. The module supports you in analyzing the data, but you need to apply it in the right way in practice!