Massimo Catalano, fifteen years of experience as a strength and conditioning coach in Serie A, from SS Lazio to Palermo Calcio, ACF Fiorentina and finally to UC Sampdoria with whom he has been working for 5 years, explains how he uses the gpexe system. He also shares some data and reflections on both an annual trend of training sessions and matches and invite us to facilitate the creation of a network of gpexe users to be able to share data, points of view and thus have a greater number of references.
1) How often do you utilise gpexe?
We use the system every day, but not during matches, where instead we collect the data from the video tracking and then import and integrate them on the web app.
2) Which parameters supplied by gpexe are you particularly interested in and why?
The main parameters that we take into consideration are power events, accelerations, decelerations, Edwards (to evaluate the internal heart rate load by comparing it with the athlete’s RPE), the speed ranges.
In particular, for each training/type of exercise, we identify the distance in meters travelled above 16 km per hour and the equivalent distance. These are the parameters that allow us to have an idea of both the internal and external load.
3) What type of feedback do you gain from the parameters of interest?
Our choice is made based on the type of training and the result that we choose to obtain. For example, if our goal is to train particular muscle parts, we will take accelerations and decelerations into account; or we will take only the power events into consideration when we want to do an aerobic session.
Regarding the games, we are interested in measuring the distance travelled at a certain speed, associated with the role.
“we were amongst the first clubs to use gpexe, and since then you kept improving: in short, we constantly have a cutting-edge system with gpexe”
UC Sampdoria Fitness Coach
4) In what way does the monitoring of the data impact on the planning of your work?
In training, for every session we plan, we already know more or less what the result will be in terms of volume, intensity and characteristics for each individual athlete, based on what we have collected with the software over time.
This is true broadly speaking, however, for some workouts, such as those with the ball, it may be a bit more difficult to make predictions, because the values can change based on the number of players available at that time.
5) Do you use the live and for which purpose?
Yes, we use the live: this is an exceptional tool which allows us to see in real-time if and when the expected volumes for a given type of exercise are achieved during training. I also find it very practical to create sessions in real-time and thus assign categories, tags and notes.
In this way, as soon as we download the devices, the reports are in fact ready not only for me but also for my colleagues who may be elsewhere in that precise moment.
6) Is there any significant data collected, as an example of analysis, which you can share with us?
The analysis of the matches is always a useful indication to us because it makes us understand that we are a team that develops a lot of volume. Our average distance is, in fact, higher than the data you have published in the gpexe academy (info sharing section available to users on the web application).
Based on this consideration, we have gained awareness that our training sessions have to guarantee the possibility of us being dynamic.
The average distance of the training is a very rough indication of the content of our sessions but it is still useful to understand how “heavy” the week was and what trend we are following in a 4-week time window. On this and other data it would be great to regularly compare the said with our colleagues and, thanks to your international clients, even understand if the Italian model is any different from other European clubs. Maybe one day soon.…
Below you can see two graphs:
BLUE: the analysis of the average distance travelled daily in training by a player, divided into weeks; in other words, each bar represents a week of training and the height of the bar indicates the average daily distance in that week; in my opinion, the most interesting part is the average (grey horizontal line) which corresponds to 4.925 m. From here, according to how ‘quick’ the reader is, everyone can determine the weekly distance, the value of training related to the game, etc …
RED: the analysis of the average distance travelled in the game by a player, divided into matches; in other words, each bar represents a match and the height of the bar indicates the average distance travelled; Same as above for the horizontal grey line equal to 10.851 m.
Regardless of personal considerations based on one’s experience, I think it is always interesting to have reference values to understand how one trains or plays. Often these reference values are those of your team (undoubtedly useful!), but it is also interesting to have the opportunity to understand other points of view.
7) What type of interaction do you have with the coach relative to the data collected?
Every day, at the end of training sessions, we compare and discuss the data we have just collected together with the coach and all the staff, in order to see if we have achieved what we had planned to reach with a certain exercise (muscular, aerobic, etc.).
On the rare occasions where the target is not reached, we try to analyze the causes together and we decide then whether to integrate or not.
8) What type of interaction do you have with the player relative to the data collected?
We display the daily report on a wall, with the data of all the athletes. Over time, they have also learned to read it, and they can understand how much they gave and how they “performed” during each training session.
This sharing is important for us; if I were the player, I would like to know how I fare compared to the predetermined values of a given exercise which takes my personal characteristics and role into account. I also noticed that this sharing leads to healthy competition!
9) How much time do you utilise on average for the operative phase of the system and on the data analysis?
We personally manage the distribution of the vests and the connection of the heart rate strap for each player, so when they leave the locker room, they are ready. Then, they take their devices from the suitcase (everyone has his own number), and at the end of the training session or match, they place their device back on the table. This phase takes very little time, I’d say a few minutes.
Regarding the analysis, since we work with the iPad, we download the data (which takes between 5 and 10 minutes, depending on the speed of the internet connection) and we have the PDF report ready in no time.
10) What pushed you to choose gpexe and have you had any experience with other GPS systems, and if so, what differences did you find?
Obviously, the accuracy and rigour of your system are crucial for our work, but the main aspect that led us to choose you, even compared to other systems that we have used in the past, is the speed and ease of use!
Also, I want to add that I’m very happy to use your system because we were amongst the first clubs to use gpexe, and since then you kept improving: you have added new parameters, also according to our needs, such as the Edward, you made the web app even smarter, added the live … in short, we constantly have a cutting-edge system with gpexe!