Keeping workload smooth and consistent in busy teenage players

Monitoring player workload for smoothness and consistency

Underage athletes, especially in the 10 – 14yo age group, exhibit wide range of activity levels. But what is the recommended optimum level of work? Or maximum? Or minimum? Every coach wants their team to be fit, but how to compare players. And how to help them develop into athletes while keeping injuries to a minimum?

It’s better for kids to play multiple sports for as long as possible. Football and Hurling in GAA. Camogie and LGFA. Basketball and Gaelic Football. Soccer and Athletics. Tennis and Cross County. Club and School. Each training session, every fixture contributes to workload, as does their ‘own practice’ and non-club events, such as the occasional Parkrun 5k. How can any coach understand each kid’s situation, all of the time?

Organised Sport

Traffic and urbanisation mean that kids no longer play on the streets and fear of injury mean that kids no longer climb trees. Parents enrol their children into organised sport to combat sedentary lifestyles, often expecting professionaltraining and intensity as value for money.

Research shows that physical strength, movement skills and robustness are generally reduced. Consequently, when kids attend training or matches, they experience loading spikes and increasingly results in injuries historically not associated with children playing sport.

Consistency is the key. Whether a 11yo enjoying football and soccer, or a student representing their club and college, having a consistent level of activity will reduce the spiking effect or an additional session or match, and Sports Science (Acute / Chronic Workload Ratio) as used by elite coaches across the world links this with reduced risks of injury, as well as helping the athlete perform at their best.

Continuously assessing workload for 20+ players is a headache, for the coach and for the athletes. Never mind that in the 10 – 14yo age group, the kids either forget or exaggerate what they were doing in previous few days.

Workload Scoring

SURPASSPORT was built to address this complex problem. Working as a coach’s management App, keeping attendance records workload for each child. Uniquely connecting around the child, this workload builds across all their activities and is shared back to each of their coaches and teachers, helping them know more about their players.

Workload is scored and presented on an easy to read, visual dial, colour coded for risk of injury and presented in the context of the past 30 days and projected forward for the next week. The score indicates green when there is good consistency, amber when there is an elevated risk of injury and red when these risks become significant and require further attention.

Workload spikes (high risk of injury) may arise when recovering from an injury or illness, inter-season breaks, holidays or due to additional activities that move the child well beyond their normal levels.

When coach feels a conversation is needed, they can access that player’s activities that contribute to the workload.

The athlete, or their parent, can also record external activities, including future activities, to complete workload records and also helps with planning family weekends.

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