Welcome to From The Upper Deck, my blog about RSL and soccer in general. I have a lot of passion for the beautiful game. I am just a fan that likes to sit in the upper deck and take it all in.

Friday, May 31, 2013

An Inside Look at miCoach with RSL's Dan Barlow

Dan Barlow - Strength and
Conditioning Coach at RSL
One of the things that impresses me the most with soccer players is the fitness level that each player must have to be able to perform at a high level for 90 minutes of play. The person that is in charge of keeping the players in the best shape possible at RSL is Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan Barlow. To help him accomplish this task, the team is using a new tool from Adidas called the miCoach Elite Team System.

The miCoach Elite Team System is a tracking system that can track a player’s speed, heart rate, distance, acceleration, as well as other physical metrics. This occurs through sensors that are on a tight fit shirt that the players wear underneath their jerseys. This data is sent instantly to an iPad so that coaches can see real time data and monitor each player’s performance throughout the course of the practice session or game.

The system was first used during the 2012 MLS All-Star game. At that time, it was also announced that all MLS teams would have access to the system for the 2013 season.

Coach Barlow took a few minutes to talk with me about the miCoach system.

"We received the system when we were about halfway through our preseason" Coach Barlow said. "It was a little rough at first but Adidas has been working at it and we have been starting to get some good data from it."

He said that currently the team is using the system during all training seasons as well as home reserve league matches. They currently can't use the system for MLS matches yet due to the fact that when you have a system set up for both teams they run into interference from each other. But he did mention that this issue is being corrected and he expects to be using the system for all matches in the near future.

He went on to tell me that the real value of the system is the tracking of the data over a long period of time.

 "It is great to be able to track this data day by day, week by week." Coach Barlow said. "The more data that you accumulate, the more it means". He went on to say that by accumulating this data over a longer period of time, he would be able to analyze the data and pick out trends that he might not have seen before.

Prior to using the system the team primarily used heart monitors to track a players fitness during practice. He told me the additional data that the system provides will help him with his training routines. They can now train in particular "speed zones" as Coach Barlow called them. He explained that sometimes it is best for a player to be running at a specific speed during their training session. The miCoach system makes this possible.

What does the future bring for the miCoach system? Barlow says that is hard to say. "We are still learning the system and figuring out what all we can do with it. We don't have a lot of data yet". 

The technology behind this system is only going to continue to improve. It wouldn't surprise me if over time, this information will be shared with the broadcast crews and then passed along to the viewers. I think it would be fascinating to be able to see a player’s heart rate as he steps up to take a PK.  My guess is that it will be only a matter of time before we see this.

1 comment:

  1. Cutting edge. Great interview. Thanks for the knowledge and passion, I always enjoy your blog!