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Human Performance | Sep 18, 2014
Sports Analytics Meets Sports Science

How do you minimise the injury risk of an athlete using Catapult?

The biggest way to initially minimise risk is to understand what an athlete has to be able to handle for their given sport. Catapult allows us to do that. Not only will you find different values of metrics for various sports, but within that sport there will be positional variance. Utilising the Catapult system initially in the off-season to prepare the athlete for the demands they will see during Spring Ball, Training Camp, and the fall season. From there after you have prepared the athlete for what they will be asked to do in each competitive phase, you must then structure each season so the athlete can optimally handle the load asked of them. After a plan is in place, monitoring individual fluctuation and trying to make correct decisions on how to handle their response following each training session. In the future, the goal will be to make adjustments following each competitive phase and become better in our predictability through our statistical findings.

How do you use Catapult to ensure athletes are ready for competition?
First we want to make sure they have been prepared for the demands of the competition during the off-season training. Secondly, working them up to game loads and perhaps exceeding them during training camp and leading them into the regular season. Lastly, structuring the game week so the load is placed in the proper position to allow for recovery & stimulation to occur at the appropriate times.  What has your experience been using Catapult to return an athlete to play following injury? This is an area we are still getting better in. In the short time we have had Catapult we have created positional norms for what is expected in practice. Knowing this allows us to provide a template for what the athlete needs to be progressed to.We also have some personal data on each athlete from a performance standpoint. This can be a guide to see how far the athlete is from returning to their previous achievements.

How does the technology improve your job?
The technology that Catapult provides allows for improvements on how we can approach our athletes on a daily basis. How we prepare, plan, and respond to the athlete can now be objectively quantified and dealt with. In most situations, coaches are in a place where subjective feedback is the only option. Without real guidance of what the athlete has done, this subjective feedback leaves us with uncertainty. Technology gives objective feedback and allows the coach to better make decisions in all areas of athlete preparation.

Risk
Athletes are predisposed to injury when they become fatigued during practice and games. Fatigue also reduces skills necessary to compete at an elite level.  Fatigue may be mechanical, physiological or neurological in nature. Catapult enables micro-level recognition of motion and sub-optimal pattern discrimination by coaches. Integrated heart rate monitoring with PlayerLoad provides the optimum in performance management.Keep a fluid training model by monitoring periodisation and peak at the right time. Know who is overworked and economise practice by removing the guesswork.

Readiness
When is an athlete capable of performing at their best? There are many tools available to assess a component of the readiness of your athletes. RPE, hydration status, sleep and wellness data all have their place, but they miss the most direct reflector of readiness: performance. Catapult allows you to measure and track performance over time. Know when an athlete is peaking, measure when their performance is dropping, and use this objective information to prepare them for competition. Compare athletes, sessions and weeks and stop guessing. Coaching is an art, but back up what you do with science.

Return to play
Keeping athletes healthy is the single biggest challenge in the role as an athletic trainer. Most injuries are unavoidable, but using individual athlete profiles will take the guesswork out of knowing when an athlete’s rehabilitation is complete. Tailor athlete ‘fingerprints’ with benchmark data, monitor injured athletes remotely, and use positional comparisons to analyse asymmetries with transparent information. Place variable limits on specific metrics and get real-time feedback if an athlete exceeds these key limits. Justify your methods with evidence-based knowledge that will protect your athletes.

About Catapult
Catapult empowers elite coaches globally with scientifically-validated metrics for the advancement of athlete performance. Catapult engineer wearable technology that provides objective information behind athlete risk, readiness and return to play. The company was born out of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and a scientific research organisation, inventing GPS tracking for team sports prior to the 2004 Athens Olympics. Catapult now works with over 750 elite teams and institutes around the world, providing an all-encompassing solution with research-based insights in to athlete management. Catapult is privately owned, with Mark Cuban playing an important investor/advisor role, and is run out of Melbourne, Australia, with offices in Chicago and Leeds. For more information, please visit catapultsports.com.

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