How Dawn Scott Uses Polar Wearables to Prep the US Women to Victory at the Ongoing FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada | LESSON FOR NIGERIAN COACHES:

 THE U S WOMEN’S National Team emerged at the top of Group D (the “Group of Death”) on last week after winning against Nigeria at their final Women’s World Cup group stage game in Vancouver.  And also defeated Colombia at the Round of 16 last Monday June 22.

As they chase down the title, the USWNT is barreling full-steam ahead to ensure that their best match performances are still ahead of them. 
Dawn Scott, USWNT Fitness Trainer

Behind every world-class team is a training staff that works to keep players healthy, and much of the preparation going into these important matches is orchestrated by Dawn Scott, the strength and fitness coach for the team—as well as a little accessory sitting on the wrist of every USWNT team member.

For years, Scott has been using wearable and activity monitoring tech to make the most of every training session.

 “Heart rate monitoring has been around for over 10 years now, but in the past five years there has been an increase in the use of GPS technology in soccer and sports generally, which is basically like a car’s satellite navigation tracking every single movement and impact a player makes on the field,” Scott says.

Polar Wrist Watch

 The USWNT uses Polar wearable to gather metrics from training, which lets the coaching and training staff analyze how hard each player is working and allows them to adjust future training sessions and tailor individual workouts. This isn’t just some fun data your Apple Watch or FitBit spits out that you proudly look at and forget: These metrics are helping the team determine how play.

“The key factors I focus on are time and load in certain heart rate zones based on an individual’s maximum heart rate, then from the GPS the amount of high intensity running (running above a certain speed threshold), as well as total player load (an accumulation of the impacts in the three planes of motion).

 “The work rate for individuals as well as an analysis of the speed profile for each player,” Scott says. “Even within positions the demands are not the same—as forwards Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan both have very different roles.”

“Physical qualities and styles and their physical load reflect that, and hence they need to be training and preparing differently.”

“Soccer players cover an average of seven miles in a 90-minute game, making it one of the most physically demanding team sports. As such, fitness is paramount not only to winning, but to preventing injury.” Scott explained.

“By combining the heart rate and GPS, firstly it allows you to determine how players cope with a certain workload and gives a good indication of the fitness level for players. If two players have the same external load from the GPS, but one player’s heart rate is higher, it suggests that their endurance system is not as well developed,” Scott says.

 “Once you know the positional load you can then use that as a gauge and indication of your physical load during training, as well as ensure players are prepared for the load they will experience during a game.”

It has also been an ongoing process with the technical coaches to really fine-tune which physical variables are of most interest and most appropriate for how they want the team to play in games, and subsequently prepare in training. It also means that when we want to taper closer to games we can make sure we are not fatiguing and/or overtraining players in the crucial preparation period. Wearable and fitness-tracking devices are quickly becoming standard in helping determine how a soccer team plays; and with what combination of players. 


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