TRAINING LOAD, PERFORMANCE AND INJURY RISK IN RUGBY PLAYERS
A rugby player’s ability to perform high-intensity intermittent exercises is associated with a higher training load (TL) which takes place during matches.
Changes in sport are closely linked to changes in society. Life expectancy is increasing and the retirement age has also progressively increased in Spain. This same trend can be seen, for example, in tennis. The average age of the top 100 male players has increased in the last decade in 0.34 years per season, going from an average age of 26.2 in the last decade to a historical high of 27.9 years.1
A recent research study2 confirms that this trend also takes place in football, players are becoming increasingly older. After analysing the ages of all the players who took part in the Champions League between the seasons 1992-1993 and 2017-2018, the researchers discovered a number of interesting findings:
The explanation as to why football players are getting older is likely related to a combination of multiple factors. Technology, diet, training, injury prevention, money invested and the expertise of nowadays coaching staffs could all be contributing factors. Teams now train better; players take more care of themselves and science has helped to better understand what is needed to make fewer mistakes. It is also possible that we are expanding the limits of performance.
The practical application of these findings suggest that:
1.We should not just focus on signing very young players. The market value of players decreases drastically after the age of 30, however it appears that at this age athletes can still offer quality performance for a number of seasons. Furthermore, an experienced player may possibly require less time to adapt to a new club and play their best from the moment they join the club.
2. The trend of ageing players appears likely to continue in upcoming years. Players are getting older, especially goalkeepers and centre-backs.
3. The investment made by clubs in research, technology and well-qualified coaching staff may all have contributed to maintaining the value of the players.
Carlos Lago Peñas
1 Kovalchik, S. A. (2014). The older they rise the younger they fall: age and performance trends in men’s professional tennis from 1991 to 2012. J. Quant. Anal. Sports 10, 99–107.
2 Kalén A, Rey E, de Rellán-Guerra AS and Lago-Peñas C (2019) Are Soccer Players Older Now Than Before? Aging Trends and Market Value in the Last Three Decades of the UEFA Champions League. Front. Psychol. 10:76
Mental abilities, although not yet fully appreciated, are already considered a relevant part of performance. But their importance could go beyond that: Do they also influence the injury risk, including recurrence, once the player returns to play?
Although several studies have tried to evaluate the characteristics of the risk of injury in handball players, they have been unable to reach sufficiently reliable conclusions. A new study of all the FC Barcelona handball categories has attempted to shed more light on the subject.
Although there are several studies on this topic, many of them have analyzed these demands by looking at just a few variables or using very broad timeframes. A new study completed by physical trainers from F.C. Barcelona has analyzed several of these details more closely.
An article published in The Orthopaedic Journal of Sports Medicine —in which members of the club’s medical services participated— now suggests to consider the detailed structure of the area affected, and treating the extracellular matrix as an essential player in the prognosis of the injury.
In this article, Tim Gabbett and his team provide a user-friendly guide for practitioners when describing the general purpose of load management to coaches.
For the first time, it has been demonstrated that it does not take months of training to significantly improve both muscle volume and strength; instead, two weeks of an appropriate exercise are enough.
Training using eccentric exercises is important to prevent possible damage. However, intensive training can also cause muscle damage, so it is critical to be vigilant in order to keep injury risk to an absolute minimum.
Cardiovascular endurance manifests as a moderator of the load result to which the athlete is exposed.
Through the use of computer vision we can identify some shortcomings in the body orientation of players in different game situations.