FCV Dender is a football club that is active at the highest amateur level in Belgium, with an ambition to grow towards 1B. Pieter de Bot has been a data analyst at FCV Dender for a few years now and is mainly responsible for monitoring the physical load of players using the JOHAN V6 LIVE GPS system. A few years ago, Pieter obtained his UEFA A diploma and was active in the youth department at FCV Dender. How exactly does FCV Dender use GPS technology? We spoke with Pieter de Bot about the challenges and different aspects of data and analysis.
SINCE WHEN HAS FCV DENDER BEEN WORKING WITH JOHAN AND WHAT HAVE YOU/THE CLUB DONE WITH IT SO FAR?
“In July 2019, head coach Francky Cieters approached me to join the first team and also to get started with GPS monitoring. After a short test period, we started using the JOHAN GPS system in January 2020. It was around that time that I started working on it. We immediately added the nuance to different positions in the field, since this makes quite a difference in the values (data) that the JOHAN system measures. We distinguish between wing backs, central defenders, midfielders, strikers and wingers.
We use the JOHAN system more than 6 times a week. Sometimes even twice a day. Should we train more on long distances or train more on short distances? This depends on the measurements from the JOHAN GPS system. Why do we run more distances in a home game compared to our away games? What exactly does this have to do with? These are interesting analyzes that we extract from the system, which we then get to work with.”
WHICH PARAMETERS ARE PERIODIZED/USED THE MOST?
“We have been working with the JOHAN Live app since the beginning of this year. We mainly look at total distances, walking distances, jogging distances, sprints and high-intensity sprints. We can’t look further than that at the moment, because we only have three men on the staff. It is certainly useful, but then we might have extra time/people.
In addition, we also check the heart rate zones of the players during training and matches. Mainly to monitor player recovery. We once saw a player who was in the red zone for a long time (90%-100% of his max heart rate) and did not recover well after exercises. Later it turned out that this player had a thyroid problem. Players who became ill or had stress during exam weeks also did not recover well. This has already happened a few times.
HOW DO YOU CURRENTLY USE THE JOHAN LIVE APP?
“We use the JOHAN Live app for both training and competitions. During training sessions we mainly look at total distances, per exercise and entire training. Did we get this yes or no. We take into account whether we are in the extensive week or an intensive week of our periodization. Which parameter we look at depends on the goal of the training. Morning practice and afternoon practice (more tactical) and then wingers have often walked more, which also makes sense as they do more hi-sprints yards on the sides.
During the matches we monitor red zone and total distances. We keep a close eye on all of this. Especially the Hi-intensity sprints (>25 km/h) and the heart rate zones in combination with what happens on the field. That is at least as important. A central defender who makes many meters in the first half, then something is not right in the tactics. Based on this information, we know whether the tactic is being executed as desired.
The heart rate zones that we monitor during training and matches are individually set per player on the basis of test results from Ghent University Hospital. At the UZ Gent, special exercise tests and lactate tests are performed with the entire selection at the beginning of the season. New players who report to the club must also undergo such a test to play at FCV Dender. A while back we had to reject a player because the tests were not good and it would take too long to get him completely fit. We also do speed tests/jump tests and the fat content is measured monthly at the club and we have a weekly weighing moment.”
HOW DO YOU ADJUST TRAINING SESSIONS BASED ON THE GPS DATA?
“We adjust the workouts by either changing the times or increasing or decreasing the distances of exercises. This is currently mainly based on the live data in the JOHAN live app. The head coach still has the last word in this.
Since we train 6x a week, we will often change the training for the next day a bit. We always compare the last match with the matches that were played before. Here we pay attention to three things: 1. The opponent, 2. Circumstances, 3. Tactics. We look at how many sprints and sprint meters we have done. The training may be adjusted on that basis.”
HOW IS THIS DISCUSSED WITH THE REST OF THE COACHING STAFF OF FCV DENDER?
“The physical trainer mainly looks at the total distances and sprint meters to adjust the training for tomorrow if necessary. In addition, a heart rate report is sent to the doctor after every match. This contains detailed heart rate zones per player including the number of minutes per zone. The doctor is at the club every Wednesday and home games.”
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH JOHAN?
“It is above all a very accessible system and communication with JOHAN Sports is always very pleasant. The results appear very quickly and are simplified. Sometimes you get too much information, but with JOHAN it is very easy to understand. The communication is always very pleasant. The JOHAN live app is also fantastic to work with. The interest from players on the LIVE monitoring is also very good to see. If I’m 1 day late to put the data in I already get a message from the players where it is. In addition, it is also proof to the board and to the players that you are doing well / badly.