TPM: THE FOOTBALL MATRIX
9th July 2018
In the heat of July, footballers are returning to their clubs for the gruelling demands of pre-season training. Yet clearly, some players are still very much in competition mode and are playing for the grandest prize of all. It can’t have gone unnoticed that right now, football’s biggest tournament is well into its knockout stage and in a World Cup of surprises, could we be in for the most unexpected of winners?
The demands of tournament football are clear to see, with games coming thick and fast and the pressure of penalty shoot-out looming; challenges compounded by the ever-present risk of injury to key performers, changing the expectant hopes of a nation into an after-thought of what might have been.
Therefore, reducing injury occurrence to the players of the world’s most popular sport matters to millions.
It is widely accepted that many factors conspire to raise injury risk within the sport from fatigue (Lord et al., 2018), to strength (Opar et al., 2014) to age (van Beijsterveldt et al., 2013). However, some, such as those related to movement quality, are subtle and less obvious to find and fix.
It is therefore good to know ‘The Football Matrix’ represents a state of art to tool, to assess and to address the risk associated with how players move - both on and off the pitch.
When the tool is an action we have shown that The Football Matrix can find the movement problems linked to specific issues such as hamstring injury (Mottram et al., 2012; Schuermans et al., 2017) whilst positively impacting other risk factors seen to further elevate injury risk (Blandford et al., 2016). Reassuringly, the system possess reliability (Mischiati et al., 2015) and is used globally and at the highest level.
BENEFITS TO THE COACH:
· Helps maintain team momentum and squad continuity so that rhythm isn’t disrupted by injury
· Enables consistent, season-long training necessary to deliver the highest level of competitive performance
BENEFITS TO THE CLUB:
· Protects the long-term value of your ‘playing assets’, ensuring individuals aren’t labelled ‘injury prone’
· Identify, track and then develop ‘homegrown’ talent to its full potential
· Supplies more time for sports medicine staff to concentrate on reducing injuries rather than treating them, and outcome positively impacting costs
BENEFITS TO THE PLAYER:
· Elevates morale as they stay injury-free and able to perform competitively week in, week out
· Time efficient retraining interventions limits training burden
· Movement underpins all performance; the more efficient this is, greater the enhancement in player achievement
HOW IT WORKS:
We know time matters. We also know movement matters. The Football Matrix allows for time to be optimised with respect to ensuring players get the movement retraining they need rather than following a protocol which is OK for all but perfect for none. Here’s how we test and tailor interventions for every player:
· The movement efficiency and co-ordination skills of players are tested
· The results of each test are fed into an online algorithm
· Based on previous injury and current movement efficiency, a detailed report of risk is produced for each player
· From the report, specific priorities are targeted, and individualised retraining intervention planned and delivered
· Players are re-tested, and comparisons made between previous performance and the performance of others
· Data can be exported for analysis alongside other measures, allowing for an ever more comprehensive profiling of playing staff
The Football Matrix has been developed by a team of international movement experts and leading clinicians within the field. It’s ongoing uptake, at all levels of the sport, is one factor contributing to the ever-increasing professionalism of the global game. Without its successful implementation, movement quality will remain a risk factor, which when combined others, might just bring tears to the eyes of player and fan alike; for all the wrong reasons.