The use of GPS in professional rugby is widespread and allows the Strength and Conditioning team to collaborate closely with the coaching staff, ensuring that trainings are replicating games from a physical, technical, tactical and psychological perspective. Benetton Rugby shares its experience with the use of the gpexe system through the words of his Head of Strength and Conditioning, Jim Molony. In particular, he tells us about the use of the Rolling Window Peak feature, available from last season into the gpexe web app, which helped them defining the weekly target.
Rolling Windows Peak: how does this calculation system work? How does it relate to the “Peak Game Intensity”?
Rather than using a block of time to calculate the peak running demands of the different positions (0-2, 2-4, 4-6) we use a rolling average to calculate the peak demands of a game (0-2, 1-3, 2-4) as the peak demands may occur in minutes 1-3. The block of time method would miss the peaks.
It’s also important to calculate throughout each game, as not every player will get stressed at the same time. A prop forward may get stressed early in a game (minute 5) whilst a winger may get stressed in the 55th minute of that same game. Therefore, it is important to analyse each moment of a game and break it down by position.
Analysing each game throughout the season ensures we as an organisation are constantly looking to strive forward and can notice trends in a game (increased accelerations/min for the forward pack) and we can resemble this in training.
Do you use RWP for the match or training sessions? How do you use the numbers you get?
We use rolling averages in games and with this data, we try and resemble or exceed these peaks in training sessions, if it meets the desired tactical and technical outputs for the game at the weekend.
Typically, in a traditional training week in rugby, this would occur on a Tuesday. From the opposition analysis and by looking at our strengths, we predict a game that will have a large number of linebreaks. The key to success will be supporting the ball carrier in attack and showing desperation in defence to turn over the ball once a linebreak occurs.
We decide two GPS metrics need to be isolated (M/Min and HSR) for this scenario and it will be explained to the players beforehand what approach we are taking to training and the benefits leading into the weekends’ fixture.
I have shared some theoretical information below from rolling average information gathered before the training session.
In order to achieve a 2min game that resembles or exceeds the above data, we decide to play 13 vs 13 which will ensure space on the field enabling a greater amount of linebreaks (a normal game of rugby has 15 vs 15). With the increased linebreaks and good skill execution, you should therefore resemble or exceed the metrics shown above.
It is important to say that achieving GPS metrics alone will not ensure success at the weekend. The technical, tactical, psychological and most importantly decision making under pressure will contribute to success just as much, if not more so to success than the peak running demands of games.
Author: Jim Molony
To learn how to use this feature from your gpexe web app, visit the gpexe academy and read the document available in the “TUTORIALS” section.