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  • Matt Hauck

Pre-Season Performance Science for Soccer

There are some pre-seasons that simply feel like a continuation to the previous year for many pro-soccer clubs. Between play-off runs, groups preparing for international call-ups, or players remaining at the facility to train, all too often the off-season is anything but time off. All of these factors can carry over into pre-season, a time so important for staff and players to maximize preparation for the long haul ahead of them. There are many approaches health and performance staffs use to plan and execute a successful pre-season, but common goals remain centered around optimizing performance and limiting injuries.

Knowing how the long days can add up over the weeks and take a mental and physical toll on players, emphasis on athlete monitoring and recovery takes precedent during this busy time. Fortunately, tools and technologies have continued to develop over the years to help support this process. Additionally, research with elite level teams is helping continually inform day to day protocols and procedures when caring for athletes.

Field-based studies on hydration monitoring techniques & performance outcomes reveal clues to guide a best-practice approach

Traveling to warm weather for pre-season, or wanting to stay ahead of the curve before those trips south for matches in summer? The latest insights from Lee et al., are a great reminder of hydration impacting performance, and why the methods to your hydration monitoring matter. Researchers used USG as an objective marker of hydration along with a subjective scale to assess thirst. Pre and post soccer-match assessments were taken with both hydration status (objective and subjective), as well as sprinting performance. Not surprisingly, the findings highlighted the impact of hydration levels on performance.

The applications of this study also serve as a reminder that player-perception will always be an important part of athlete monitoring. However, it’s also important to recognize the need for objective information when it comes to critical elements such as hydration.Creating objective awareness, paired with highlighting it’s impact on performance and outlining a plan for action, are what will help drive athlete behaviors around hydration.

Achieving fitness and combating fatigue: Top markers for monitoring fatigue in elite soccer require staff to go the extra mile (…after the players have)

Health and performance staff are hard at work in pre-season implementing plans for building the squad up for a lengthy campaign in 2022. Those two-a-day session can add up over time, creating fatigue that leaves your efforts stagnant. Djaoui et al., outline key areas to consider when monitoring squad to help identify and combat excessive fatigue. Several areas are of key interest, including an array of heart rate metrics, key biochemical markers, as well as subjective feedback from the athlete. The reality is that the intensive training period of pre-season will require some accumulation of fatigue, but keeping tabs on positive adaptions as well as supporting recovery efforts is a key to survival.

Something of note in this review is the cost-benefit of the time is takes to implement each of these monitoring approaches, both for the athlete as well as the staff. While biochemical markers may give the best information, invasive techniques such as repeated blood draws or saliva tests will lead to ‘monitoring monotony’, or worse, burnout & noncompliance. Efforts to implement invisible monitoring techniques to gather vital information save effort for both staff and player alike.

It's time that sports tech helps solve real problems

Athletes need objective feedback on their hydration status in order to optimally fuel for performance and refuel for recovery. Intake Health’s InFlow hydration monitoring solution combines laboratory grade testing seamlessly into an athlete’s normal routine, giving added daily support without adding extra work for health and performance staff.

Want to learn more about continuous hydration monitoring without adding headaches for your staff or your athletes? Connect with one of our practitioners and learn how to evolve your team's approach to optimizing hydration and performance.

Whether you are aiming to optimize performance or help boost recovery this season, Intake Health’s InFlow system helps support your staff without adding extra effort.



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