The German Ice Hockey Federation and Firstbeat have been in close partnership for many years. In this time, an effective routine for the use of the Firstbeat Sports system has been established with the various national teams through cooperation with federal and athletic trainers. The National Coach for Science and Training, Karl Schwarzenbrunner, has the leading role.
“When working with the national teams, in the DEB courses, the system is now indispensable,” says Schwarzenbrunner. The tool is currently being used particularly intensively in the women’s national team: “We are looking in particular at the preparation for the Women’s Olympic qualification. We have the most contact time with the women’s national team which gives us the best opportunity to intervene,” he said.
TRIMP makes the difference
This is confirmed by Christian Bachmann, Athletics Coach for the U20 national team: “As soon as I realize that the players can no longer maintain the workload or perhaps U20’s National Coach Tobi Abstreiter can increase session intensity a little bit, we exchange ideas directly on the ice,” says Bachmann. In this way, the optimum can be taken out of the training session.
When it comes to data, Firstbeat’s TRIMP, the training impulse, plays a big role. This is highlighted by the national coaches as the most important metric in training. “You can see in real time whether individual sections or exercises reflect the intensity that was wanted,” Schwarzenbrunner explains when talking about using TRIMP.
TRIMP is also a good metric to connect the internal load data with the external movement data after a game. “A session, for example, can be less strenuous in cardiovascular terms, but muscularly extremely strenuous – for example, when going downhill,” he continues. This makes a combination of the two data points very important.
TRIMP is also visible in real time in Firstbeat Sports as TRIMP/min. This is useful when training should match game intensity as it allows coaches to track – and ensure – specific drills and sessions are at an intensity level that is equivalent to the requirements of a competitive situation.
Internal and external in combination
Taking into account internal and external load parameters is now also possible directly in the Firstbeat Sports platform: using the Sports app and Firstbeat Sports Sensor, Movement Load and Movement Intensity can now be tracked directly and used for further analysis.
A defining theme this year, of course, is the COVID-19 pandemic, which has deeply impacted ice hockey as well as other sports around the world. Firstbeat reacted quickly and was able to use the Firstbeat Sports app to provide athletes with an opportunity to record their workouts independently from any location, thus giving the trainers access to the training data via the Firstbeat Sports cloud. In this way, individual training plans could be secured and followed up by sound data – and players could also know when the training load became too high, as national player Julia Zorn says: “It is a good external factor that leads you to take the necessary breaks.”
The Firstbeat Sports app for athletes has become an important factor in the training of DEB teams, and many others, as a means of adapting to the pandemic situation. Whether via the app directly or the API connection with Garmin Connect which has been available since spring 2020, Firstbeat continues to actively drive development and has set itself the goal to further advance the flexibility gained and the access of the data.
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