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Warrington Wolves to 'fine tune' first team using data analysis
Richard Marshall training with young prop Ben Evans, who is wearing a GPS vest that tracks all of his movements on the field
WARRINGTON Wolves will be going over their players ‘with a fine-toothed comb’ to ensure they are in peak physical and mental condition for the 2013 Super League season.
First team coach Richard Marshall has revealed that Wolves’ head of performance analysis Emma Edwards has been compiling huge amounts of player-specific performance data gleaned from the 2012 season in order to help head of coaching and rugby Tony Smith deliver the most comprehensive training schedule possible for each of his first team players.
“Emma has been putting together a huge amount of statistics and data about how many tackles we completed, how many balls are arriving at the destination and all sorts of other information that will help us tailor our training to very exact standards,” said Marshall, who last week, along with fellow first team coach Willie Poching, signed a 12-month contract extension keeping him at the club until November 2013.
“We will then individualise those training schedules, looking at each player and looking at where their stats are the weakest.
“For example, whether they need to develop their offload or their tackling in a certain situation.
“It will be hugely detailed for each player.”
The use of sports science is now par for the course across all professional organisations, but in few sports are the positive effects of such conditioning, nutrition and data analysis so pronounced as in rugby league.
Advanced nutrition and training techniques are producing stronger, faster rugby league players, who are able to recover quicker from the rigours of a weekly Super League games.
But the development of GPS and Opta statistics systems have also opened up a whole new world of skill-related data sets that are helping coaches fine tune their players to levels previously unobtainable.
Marshall believes it would be stupidity for Wolves not to use all of the technology at their disposal.
“The attention to detail is getting finer and finer all the time,” he said.
“The teams at the top are divided by smaller and smaller margins, so this can really make a difference.
“That is part of the game now, and if we can use the technology to tailor specific training to improve the minute details of each player’s game then we should absolutely do that.
“The game has moved on and if we have the data showing that a certain player needs to work on a very specific area of his game, then it is our responsibility to use that to improve any aspects of performance that can be improved.
“Having the technology we have now, with the GPS systems and data analysis that is available, I think we would be stupid not to use it.”
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