Feb 9, 2018
Testing Mode
Michael Gordon

After participating in the Q-Collar study at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, we were bitten by the research bug. We looked for other areas to investigate, which led us to a partnership with Catapult Sports GPS.

Currently, we have 15 GPS devices and heart rate monitors to track our athletes, and we have utilized this technology with our football and lacrosse teams. The results have helped us figure out when to push harder during training and when to back off.

For example, during our football two-a-days this year, we noticed a significant spike in heart rate exertion and overall workload. After discussing this with the head football coach, we adjusted our practice schedule to accommodate more recovery and aid in keeping legs and bodies fresh.

We also witnessed significant differences in our in-season preparation from what we had predicted. Our Thursday practices before games were the most intense workouts we were documenting, even though they were much shorter than our Monday through Wednesday practices.

After speaking with some of the players and coaches and consulting the GPS data, we figured out why. During the early part of the week, the first-, second-, and third-team players got reps in each activity. But on Thursdays, the first team received the vast majority of reps and was expected to run them at relatively full speed. This data told us we may have been overexerting our athletes 27 hours before they were expected to be at peak performance for a game — obviously not ideal.

We are in discussions about how to fix this for the future, including potentially changing the way we structure practices across the board to better prepare for Friday night games. Seeing the metrics from the GPS tracking has been tremendously valuable in helping us tailor practices to better prepare athletes for game play.

Our next step is to work with various partners, including the University of Cincinnati Business Analytics team and the Xavier University Coaching Education and Athlete Development program, to decide what data from both football and lacrosse is valuable for injury prevention, peak performance, and periodization. We’re aiming to put together a research article on data from the 2017 spring lacrosse season and publish it in the coming months. We hope that we can make an impact on the high school lacrosse and football communities and give coaches the resources to help their athletes perform at their highest potential.

Michael Gordon, ATC, CSCS, is the Head Athletic Trainer at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati. He has served as an NFL injury spotter for the Cincinnati Bengals and was recently named President Elect of the Greater Cincinnati Athletic Trainers' Association.

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