Attention, Concentration and Emotions in Sport
Attention is the ability to correctly detect the environment stimuli. In a football game, for example, there are numerous and varied stimuli.
The quarantine necessary to flatten the pandemic curve has completely changed the training and competition dynamics of athletes and clubs, which suddenly have had to modify their usual training.
Technical staff, trainers and nutritionists are facing a major challenge. Not only preventing the lack of training, but the objective is also to induce a training load similar to a normal period so that when the competition is resumed, the athletes can face it in optimal conditions.
“Even though that as a community we were not aware of the impact and the measures that were to be adopted, we tried to anticipate them and developed a schedule for each player that tries to simulate the workload of a regular week,” says Antonio Gómez, strength and conditioning coach of FC Barcelona’s first team.
“The load dynamic is very similar to our regular microcycle. We simulated our two-game weeks and the day off, by outlining two workload peaks, one in the middle and the other at the end of the week”, says Gómez, Doctor of Science in Physical Activity and Sports.
Coaches and physical trainers are in daily contact with each player at an individual level and they follow a schedule that combines strength training and endurance training suited to the context available.
“They perform endurance sessions on the stationary bike or treadmill. Players have the objective of performing an interval work where they reach speeds and heart rates that can simulate the competition”, explains Andrés Martín, F.C. Barcelona U-19 strength and conditioning coach, and Doctor of Science in Physical Activity and Sports. “Players are not allowed to go outside; therefore, it is not possible to analyse GPS data, so, after each training session they send us the RPE (rate of perceived exertion), the distance and running pace in order to analyse the workload and thus be able to make modifications based on it ”.
The exertion perceived in these sessions is to be considered a relevant fact. “The players are reporting slightly higher values (7-8 compared to the average of 5.5), which may be related to thermal stress, since the sessions are performed indoors and the body is unable to dissipate heat with the same efficiency as it does outdoors and with the mechanical stress generated by exercises which players are not used to. Also, with the emotional load of not being able to leave home and last, with the non-specificity of the stimulus ”, both Martín and Gómez affirm.
Another relevant aspect is that during this period, players’ energy consumption will be reduced. That is why weight is also being monitored in order to prevent an increase in fat percentage.
This extraordinary situation demands extraordinary measures that prove the ability of coaches, physical trainers and nutritionists to find new formulas that allow maintaining the players’ fitness and motivation in such a difficult context.
The Barça Innovation Hub team
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.