There are a few ways to measure success in the NFL. One way is by winning the Super Bowl. But in order to get to the Super Bowl, you need wins during the season. Your starters cannot be injured and need to be fresh and ready for every game. For example, the LA Rams were one team that had the least number of injured players on reserve this year. If you compare the Rams to a team like the NY Giants, the Giants had the second to the worst record in the NFL with four wins and the most injured players.
Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp pulls in a touchdown catch as Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Eli Apple defends during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 56 football game Sunday, Feb. 13, 2022, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
When it comes down to a player’s health, you have to look at what training programs are successful. The Rams Sports Medicine adopted a style used by soccer teams in the Premier League, that seems to be excellent. It is tracking data that provides a different perspective on monitoring a players’ daily lifestyle, training, and performance. According to the results, the trainers and coaches will increase or decrease their workload.
Tracking a player’s workload has proven great success in preventing injuries when you can catch the physical strain before it gets worse. The head athletic trainer for the Rams, Reggie Scott, said that when the workload tracking data says a player is being overworked, they will postpone drills and workouts for the player or players. This has been a bit of a shift and break from the norm over the past decade. But it seems very few teams are listening to the fact that training too much weakens you, not makes you stronger.
Recovery Is Essential
Recovery is an essential part of enhancing strength. But unfortunately, punishing and grueling workouts don’t make you stronger in the NFL or the general population. Instead, they are proving to cause pain, strain, and injury.
Who Knew Walking Could Predict NFL Health
Dr. Neal ElAttrache has been with the Rams since the 1980s. In 2016, he became the team’s head physician. Dr. ElAttrache says that one of the best ways to track a player’s workload is through steps and walking. Although it may not seem relevant to intensity and training, it is essential. Tracking steps is a great way to assess injury and strain and shows more than you realize.
Scott and Dr. ElAttrache said they consider the number of steps a player takes and limits the number of movements and exercise during practice and training. For example, they keep drills in the same areas and close together to avoid a player taking excessive steps to walk across the field. In addition, Dr. ElAttrache and Scott use GPS technology to track the step count of a player to develop their workout and training ratio based on the workload.
Dr. ElAttrache said, “All this stuff needs to be anticipated, considered, and planned ahead of time.” He mentions that the remarkable success of this technology allows the trainers to be more productive with players. For example, they can incorporate rest and recovery at specific needed moments and extend the training time, so it is not counterproductive. To do this, he said you need to know and understand what the players are doing throughout their day, track it, and decrease what is unnecessary, creating excessiveness.
Tracking Workload Is Catching On
Tracking workload is catching on with other teams. However, monitoring a player’s energy is different than monitoring their strength. Strength training is a way to prevent movement injuries, which has to be specific to a player’s movements, not just general. If the player lacks energy because of fatigue, the workout or training will be counter-productive. That is similar to trying to drive a car without gas. No matter how powerful the car, if it does not have fuel, it will not drive. And this is similar to professional athletes. Not having energy leads to excessive training, injury, and diminished health.
The player’s health is becoming more valuable than the player who can suck wind without falling to the ground. Technology and exact ways of monitoring a players’ training can keep players fresh and healthy to win games and get to the Super Bowl.