Behind the Scenes with Ben Haines, Athlete Development Manager at SANFL

Ben Haines, Athlete Development Manager for the South Australian National Football League (SANFL), first used Catapult in 2007 when working with elite rowers at the South Australian Sports Institute. Ten years later, Ben is still finding new ways to affect change with his athletes.

“I minimise the injury of my athletes by using Catapult to firstly track the total workload across multiple weeks for my athletes for a general marker of volume of work performed,” Ben said. “I also then look at their exposure to sprinting from their peak velocities reached.

I use total distance, total metres/min, total sprinting distance (>6m.s-1) and PlayerLoad. They give me a good overall understanding of the work performed during a match/training and then intensity at which it was performed.”

A key component of Ben’s daily workflow and engagement with his athletes is the use of benchmark targets based on their match data, and in relation to their age and position, in preceding training sessions.

Using these benchmarks, Ben safely rehabilitates players through “tracking the volume and intensity of training sessions for athletes returning to play to ensure the prescribed training is preparing them for the demands of a match. This objective data makes it easy to see if an athlete has performed or is capable of performing the physical workload required in their sport in a training environment before the extra demands of competition are placed upon them.”

Catapult provides Ben the ability to more objectively monitor the actual training and competition demands of his athletes, and manage their training load accordingly. It also gives him the ability to “provide specific feedback to coaches on areas of athletic ability that may be a weakness or strength in individual players”

A clear example of how the SANFL, an Australian football league in South Australia and the governing body for Australian rules football in the state, improved performance was by increasing the specificity of their training.

“Once we started using Catapult during our training sessions I was able to give coaches objective feedback on the volume and intensity of the training sessions which was different from what the coaches had planned,” Ben said.

“This has helped us reshape some of our drills to more specifically target the output we are looking for from our training drills.”

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