GAINcast Episode 192: Monitoring (with Aaron Coutts and Franco Impellizzeri)

Despite recent investments into monitoring at all levels of sports, the injury reductions and performance improvements promised have failed to materialize. Why is that? On this episode of the GAINcast Aaron Coutts and Franco Impellizzeri from the University of Technology Sydney dive into all aspects of the science of monitoring: why we monitor, technology, loading, metrics, fatigue, overtraining, subjective measures, planning, and more.

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Notes and quotes

Aaron Coutts is a Distinguished Professor and the Head of School of Sport, Exercise & Rehabilitation at the University of Technology Sydney. Franco Impellizzeri is also a Professor at the University of Technology Sydney.

  • 4:30 – Background.
  • 12:00 – Overtraining.
  • 17:30 – Heuristics vs. predictors.
  • 19:00 – Criticism of the acute:chronic workload ratio: “The ACWR’s association with injuries is a statistical artifact. This means there is something wrong in the theory. It is a weak metric, but people want an easy solution.”
  • 25:00 – The seduction of easy formulas and technology: “Doctors have to make a decision based on a lot of information. The decision is prone to errors. Why can’t we accept this type of uncertainty as coaches? It doesn’t mean we cannot apply science.”
  • 28:30 – Evaluating technologies.
  • 30:45 – Starting with planning: “I’m not interested in the technology, I’m interested in the information. Based on the information we want, we use the best available technology. But people are falling in love with the technology before the information.”
  • 35:30 – Why do we monitor?
  • 39:00 – Good and bad fatigue.
  • 41:00 – Subjective measures in monitoring: “Subjective feedback is useful, but if we want to use the numbers it needs to be validated and valid measures. Otherwise the information we get may be wrong or not sensitive enough for what we aim to do. We used to look at biomarkers. I think we are closer to something with perception, but we just need to learn how to do it better.”
  • 45:00 – Training effects of small-sided games.
  • 51:45 – Tactical periodization.
  • 59:00 – Characteristics of good scientific research: “A real problem in sports science is that people ask the question after they collect the data. A good study should be well planned and nominate expectations before you do it.”

To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.

Further reading

The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic: