Obtaining more powerful and prolonged high-intensity actions through the increase in the duration of the recovery phases, better if during the possession phase. This is the main goal in Empoli FC’s work philosophy. The Fitness Coach Rocco Perrotta, with previous experiences abroad in CSKA and Levski Sofia, AEL Limassol and Bulgary National Team, as well as Torino FC in Italy, explains how he uses some of the gpexe metrics for monitoring his current team.
In your experience, what are the most useful parameters for monitoring performance?
There are several parameters and each of them has its specific utility. To easily communicate with the coach, however, I choose a few: the ones I consider most effective. With Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli we mainly focused on the analysis of power events (MPE) and their characteristics. The MPE section on the gpexe software is very rich. The metabolic power event identifies when the player pushes on the gas pedal, regardless of the speed at which he is. It corresponds to all those events with a high energy demand (anaerobic), which subsequently need a recovery time (to pay the owed oxygen debt).
The following parameters are available in the MPE section:
- MPE average time
- MPE average power
- MPE maximal speed
- MPE recovery average time
- MPE recovery average power
How did you use these parameters?
After many years spent in the continuous goal to always maintain high rhythms during the competitions and training sessions, I was lucky enough to be able to work for almost 2 years with Coach Andreazzoli who led me, with his requests, to a series of reflections concerning the data analysis and the use of GPS.
At Empoli FC, his work philosophy was based on ball possession aimed at creating and exploiting spaces on the opposite side of the ball. His goal was to obtain more powerful and prolonged high-intensity actions; to achieve this, the coach revealed the need to increase the duration of the recovery phases, which had to possibly occur in the possession phase (with a consequent increase in the average recovery power). From here the idea comes to use the parameters above mentioned, thanks to the gpexe software which fully answers the coach’s request.
“the gpexe software fully answers the coach’s requests”
Empoli FC Fitness Coach
The extraordinary thing is that the coach can interpret the physical data (an aspect on which the coaches often do not have a specific competence) in a very simple and smart way. After less than a month of daily monitoring, we were able to interpret our reports with extreme awareness.
Finally, for a deeper analysis, especially on my part, the MPEs can be further divided according to the speeds and distances, e.g. how many power events were carried out above a certain speed threshold, i.e. 16 km/h and 25 km/h and how many power events were related to distances between 0-10 m, 10-20 m and longer than 20 m.
As an example, below is a graph showing the MPE of a match.
Fig.1: Distribution graph of a player’s MPE during a match, sorted by distance; inside the balloon are shown the characteristics of a single event.
In short: with this approach, it was possible for me to give the coach the information useful to him to:
- describe the performance model of his team
- have a few smart parameters under control, which allowed him to program and create exercises satisfying all technical, tactical and athletic needs.
To sum up: train to increase the power of the high-intensity actions, their duration, and the average recovery power. Can you show us some data?
I’ll show you two things. First, a trend grouped by month, from January to May, with a side midfielder’s parameters.
Fig. 2: monthly-grouped trend, MPE average time (blue bar), MPE average power (black bar), MPE recovery average power (green bar).
Almost all the training sessions were carried out with the ball and this is an element to be taken into consideration while choosing the drills without the ball. By common agreement with the coach, we decided to use many exercises that reproduced the stimulus of the match, therefore fast runs alternating with ample recoveries. In the same way, while choosing strength work, we could not ignore the mechanical stress to which the players were subjected and what expressions of strength were required by the performance model.
Second, this video:
It concretely shows in the match what we mean with:
- long recovery times
- high recovery average power (in the possession phase)
- increase in peak power
- increase in speed during the power event
Concerning player number 8, the side midfielder, he alternates for a long period mild running and walking; next, he sprints about 30 meters and performs the assist.
This confirms that we reached the goal that we originally set: recover during the possession phase, for being able to carry out a more intense power event.
This gpexe parameter makes the difference in data analysis and in the ease of making decisions together with the coach.
Additional references on MPE
C. Osgnach, “How to detect the high intensity”
C. Osgnach, “A simple intermittent exercise analysis: gpexe vs traditional metrics“