AIK Academy uses XPS Network and Team Pro API connectivity to analyze training load of players
When it comes to athlete tracking technology, it's challenging to stay ahead of the curve in modern day world of sports performance analysis. Coaches have access to a wide variety of analytics platforms and wearable technology solutions in a rapidly growing market to quantify player performance, optimize training sessions and reduce injuries.
As Agust Thorkelsson, the CEO of Sideline Sports explains: "The challenge for most sports teams is to choose the right tools for its coaches. And even with the right tools at hand it’s a challenge for the coach to keep track of all the data these systems generate, create quality analysis based on that data and make correct decisions based on the analysis. To be able to choose the most important key metrics is extremely useful for the coaching staff in our opinion, and the more parameters you can choose from, the better."
Polar Team Pro API offers a gateway for 3rd parties to connect with the right tools and fundamental athlete performance metrics. Through Polar Team Pro API platform partners, teams and their coaching staff can access Polar Team Pro-specific data sets such as team and training session details and player performance data such as distance, sprints, training load and heart rate available for up to 10Hz samples. Whether your team has a proprietary team platform or uses third-party technology, Polar Team Pro API links your athlete performance analysis solutions and Team Pro Player data together.
Sideline Sports XPS Network – a comprehensive, user-friendly software platform that helps sport clubs and coaches to become more efficient and effective in the areas of organization, planning, communication and analysis – is one of the first 3rd party athlete management platform providers who have used Polar Team Pro API to integrate Team Pro data in to their solution to offer easy and time-saving one-stop-shop type of access to athlete performance data.
Thorkelsson says: "We regard Polar as one of the top choices when it comes to digital equipment for heart rate monitoring and GPS and this makes the integration with Polar very powerful. Although XPS Network is a platform for the whole coaching staff, there are always some variables and parameters that we need to consider to be added. Data derived from heart rate and GPS has been on the wish list for a long time to be integrated with subjective data such as Readiness, s-RPE and Acute Chronic Workload Ratio."
Thorkelsson continues: "Partnering with Polar was a natural choice for us as so many of our clients use Polar technology. The integration with Polar has been on top of the wish list for a long time among our users in order for them to be able to get one more scientific dimension in everything that they are doing regarding recovery and rehabilitation."
Right tools certainly make life easier for the entire coaching staff. One of the most important benefits of open data integration is having every bit of data transferred automatically between systems: this saves time and is safer than transferring data manually. Every club and coach have their own unique key metrics that they have chosen to analyze and the more time they can save from not having to export data manually, the more time they can dedicate to analyzing the data without the worry of any important parameters getting lost in the process due to human errors.
AIK Academy, a long-time partner of both Polar and Sideline Sports, is working with young players between the ages of 16 to 19. They have been using Polar Team Pro since the beginning of January 2017 with tremendous results. Nils Lindgren, the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of AIK Football Academy says: "At the AIK academy we wanted to have a reliable system that is easy to handle and didn’t include hours and hours of analysis. Since our first team already worked with Polar the choice was easy for us to do the same."
Thorkelsson adds: "The time issue is very important. Many coaches spend a lot of time exporting data from several different programs in order to be able to create their own reports with e.g. Excel. It’s of course positive that this kind of option is available, but at the same time it’s possible to save significant amounts of time with integrated data solutions within the XPS Network. Another important aspect is that the data is easily available for the entire coaching staff and also for the players through mobile apps."
Professional team sports coaches work in an environment that requires fast decision making in a very short time frame between practices and games. This is why it's crucial to have player performance metrics readily available on the go and presented in a simple and easily interpretable way.
Lindgren explains: "Polar Team Pro supports us in our aim to nurture academy players to our first team. With the system we can keep players injury free and ensure optimal training load during the season. In terms of data collection, we at AIK mainly focus on three variables: distance covered, number of sprints and distance covered in the highest speed zone (above 19km/h). During games and practices the players' heart rate also comes into play, as we have fixed targets for how long a player needs to stay in certain zones during the session."
Lindgren continues: "Polar Team Pro is a key tool for us since an academy player’s week can vary a lot in terms of the number of games, first team practices and national team duty. One of the biggest benefits of using Polar Team Pro is, that it gives the coaches a valid tool for analyzing the practice. We can easily understand if we accomplished what we set out to do and if we need to adjust something for the next practice session."
Given the nature of soccer as a sport, getting players back to shape post-injury is a delicate process and the valuable insights into science-based athlete performance data help formulate an effective rehabilitation plan for each player as an individual.
Lindgren says: "The medical staff of the academy uses Polar data to ensure that the players' fitness doesn’t drop too much during rehabilitation. When, for example, designing a session on the spinning bike, the heart rate zones are used as motivators for the player to achieve the needed level of exertion."
Lindgren concludes: "We have been a partner of XPS and Polar for a long time now and the interaction between the two makes our work so much easier. Now we only have one place to go when we need to analyze our external or internal load and the players' response to the load. Keeping it all in one place makes sure that nothing is missed in our difficult work to foster players to become the best versions of themselves."
Want to know more about Team Pro API? Learn more.
Interested in finding out more about Sideline Sports XPS Network? Learn more.
Teams such as AIK, AFC Ajax, Kilmarnock F.C. and VfL Wolfsburg use Polar Team Pro. Want to join them and optimize your team's performance? Learn more.