Meet Oli: How PLAYR helps me raise my game
I didn’t start playing football till my late teens, but ever since then I’ve been making up for lost time. I now collect football boots, watch tons of professional games and play three times a week: including in the gladiatorial pit known as Sunday League.
I should stress that nothing about me or the level at which I play could be considered ‘elite’ – I’m an enthusiastic amateur player keen to maximise my performance levels.
Naturally, I often feel like I’m playing catch-up with some of the guys who’ve grown up with a ball at their feet. So I try to make up for it with high intensity, speed and hard work. When I discovered that PLAYR offered a way of monitoring my physical output, I jumped at the chance to track my progress and improve.
For context, I’m 25 years-old, 5’9 and 70kg. My game revolves predominantly around one thing: pace. I play at either RW or more recently RWB so being fast and fit is crucial in these positions. First to the ball and last man running — these are the key principles I’ve tried to construct my playing style around.
I clocked exactly 10km over the duration of my most recent 90 minutes at wing-back. It’s a very demanding position which demands an extremely high workload. While 10k is a decent distance, it’s still not nearly as much as a professional would cover in this role. Digging out an extra couple of kilometres is difficult, but for me they’re the most important benchmark of improvement.
We have a few PLAYR devices between us so heatmaps help us assess our positional play from half to half. This enables us to better understand the differences between the theory and reality of our play and has really helped us eliminate much of the guesswork that is common in amateur football.
As far as speed is concerned, this was far from one of my best sessions — as the rest of the squad were quick to remind me. Lots of short, sharp sprinting during the game, reaching a maximum speed of 29.8KPH – some way short of the pro level of 33.8KPH and my own season best of 35.8KPH.
Interestingly though, my highest five-minute split was 85’-90’, meaning I’d managed to maintain a relatively high level of intensity in my sprinting right up until the end of the game – something I’d been unable to do in recent weeks so a marked improvement on that front.
One of PLAYR’s most insightful gauges is the load and intensity feedback section, which digs into work rate and presents key feedback to help improve future performances.
This is effectively a cumulative representation of the other metrics, providing a fast-track means of assessing a day’s work. Thankfully, during this session, I was able to push both my load and intensity up to pro levels – which is crucial in match day situations!
I’ve set myself a target of sprinting 10% of the total distance I cover during a game.
As you can see, I’m not quite there yet. With 843m out of 10km at full tilt I’m not far away, but I have something tangible to work towards during the next few weeks.
As an amateur player with minimal access to coaching or direct feedback, PLAYR has injected a sense of direction and structure into the way I approach my sessions. As a team, we’re able to eliminate the guesswork and use clear data to improve upon our individual and collective efforts. It’s always fun comparing stats post-game.
By the close of this season, I’m hoping to have cracked 11KM, blitzed past 36kmh and reached my hallowed 10% sprint ratio – thanks to the incremental improvements PLAYR has helped me achieve week by week.
Track, Analyse, Improve
Catapult One is a sport tracking solution that measures the core metrics to make you a better player