Jyväskylä, Finland – This week, USA Field Hockey and Firstbeat Sports announced a 3-year partnership which will ensure coaches and athletes have access to cutting-edge training load and recovery monitoring data. The U.S. Women’s National Team, currently no. 6 in the FIH Hero World Rankings, will rely on scientific feedback from the Firstbeat Sports analytics platform as they work toward qualifying for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in London, England.
As USA Field Hockey’s official heartbeat analytics partner, Firstbeat Sports will be part of making better, more personalized training decisions. Easy access to training load and recovery data is essential to the work of optimizing performance, reducing injuries and providing a path for each athlete as they strive to achieve their full potential.
Workloads can be optimized based on what works best for each individual player, their position and even style of play. On the other side of the equation, recovery testing delivers insight into daily training readiness and can be used to identify early warning signs related to fatigue accumulation and possible overtraining scenarios.
“We are excited to utilize Firstbeat HR and HRV monitoring to get a better understanding of our athletes’ physiological responses to training and recovery,” said Nick Shedd, USWNT Strength and Conditioning Coach. “Athlete monitoring is essential with our rigorous, year-round training schedule. We not only need to account for mechanical load but also need to assess how each athlete is responding to the physical stressors of training.”
“By coupling the live monitoring with the HRV-based Quick Recovery Test, we will be able to evaluate training readiness and dial in each training session to meet our goals and have our athletes ready to handle the high demands of tournaments,” continued Shedd.
It was a crossover relationship between the worlds of ice and field hockey that paved the way for Firstbeat Sports to become part of the USA Field Hockey training efforts.
“A colleague and friend of mine, Curt Truhe of the Arizona Coyotes, described to me many creative ways they are currently using the system to improve the performance of their ice hockey players,” added Shedd. “After further research, we are confident we will be able to utilize Firstbeat as a daily staple of our work with USWNT program.”
Played outdoors on a large pitch (100 yd x 60 yd), international level field hockey can tax even the fittest athlete. Constantly on the move, often at a full sprint, it is common for players to cover up to 6 miles (10 km) over the course of a single 60 minute game.
“Field hockey is an an incredibly demanding sport,” affirms John Lally, Founder of Pivot Sports and Firstbeat USA Key Account Manager. “Intensity can be off the charts with players reaching Training Effect scores of 5.0 and TRIMP values of 300+ for games. Analysis of real game demands reveals a need for both sustained aerobic output and repeat high intensity sprints.”
“Accurate monitoring and data improves understanding and reveals of each individual athlete’s response to training and recovery,” continued Lally. “With this data and understanding the coaches can make informed and precise decisions about when to train and how hard to train and ultimately how to be better prepared for important matches. When a team is better prepared to give their best effort the best results usually follow!”
What would a successful collaboration mean?
“Women’s field hockey is an Olympic sport and the USWNT are legitimate Olympic medal contenders in a competitive field,” explains Lally. “If Firstbeat data and analytics can assist on this journey by providing reliable and informative physiological feedback and guidance, then that is our success!”
The U.S. Women’s National Team will be in action July 8-23, 2017, at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa. Playing in Pool B during the group stage of the tournament, the USWNT will face off against Argentina, Chile, India, and hosts South Africa. This event is an automatic qualification for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in London, England and a qualification placement at the FIH Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand at the end of the year.
About Firstbeat: Firstbeat is the leading provider of physiological analytics for sports and well-being. We transform heartbeat data into personalized information on exercise, stress and recovery. Hundreds of elite sports teams, wellness professionals, and millions of consumers worldwide trust Firstbeat to enhance performance and well-being. For more information, please see: www.firstbeat.com.
About USA Field Hockey: USA Field Hockey is the national governing body for the sport of field hockey in the United States and is based in Colorado Springs, Colo. USA Field Hockey is committed to providing opportunities for our 26,000 members to participate, develop and excel as players, coaches, umpires and administrators. The U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Teams strive for competitive excellence in Olympic, Pan American Games, World Cup and other International competitions. USA Field Hockey is a proud member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the International Hockey Federation. For more information, visit usafieldhockey.com.
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