Case Study: Swedish Football Association

Matti Demegård is the Physical Trainer for the Swedish Football Association and IF Elfsborg, overseeing the well-being of Sweden’s best footballers.

Matti has been using Catapult for the last few years, with a strong focus on quantifying return to play protocols. Using the technology for a club team as well as a national team provides a different perspective when analysing individual performances in relation to team performances.

Innovative in his approach to better understanding how to quantify what his players are doing on this pitch, Matti embraced athlete monitoring technology early in the adoption curve for Swedish football.

“I heard about Catapult for the first time a couple a years ago when working in a club playing in the Swedish Premier League.

“We were planning to get started with GPS system and when I looked for different systems I got in contact with Catapult at a conference in the UK.

“The product and service have been fantastic from the beginning. Catapult are always there if I need anything, and the technology makes a real difference in understanding what the actual loads of each player are.

Matti relies heavily on high-intensity running bands and PlayerLoad to gain insights into the movement profiles of his athletes. Between the two, he gets an accurate depiction of the work volume of each athlete, and the intensity of that volume with high-intensity running.

“By monitoring the players in each training session leading up to the last FIFA Women’s World Cup, I used Catapult in ensuring the individual player having correct load to conditioning the player in the pre-camp.

“I also used it to ensure the player having appropriate recovery so the individual player not being in overload during the World Cup.

“Catapult was also an important tool to ensure appropriate load to the subs.”

After a short football career with IF Heimer was interrupted, Matti was hired by Örgryte IS as a physiotherapist, and eventually worked as an assistant coach – showing his versatility with an organisation and the ability to manage athletes from various perspectives.

Along the way, Matti also completed his Swedish Football Association Pro-education, the highest you can go as a coach.

Matti was integral part of the Swedish women’s national team during and leading up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a campaign which ended with a 2-0 quarter-final loss to Germany.

With an expert knowledge of how to best keep his athletes in the sweet spot between underloading and overloading them from a biometric perspective, Matti believes “the monitoring of the player using Catapult helps to ensure not to overload the player”.

As seen with many leading Physical Trainers, the key value of an athlete monitoring system is the safe ‘return’ metrics for a rehabilitating athlete. This includes both return to training and return to competition – which require very different levels of attention and metrics.

“Using Catapult helps to assign the correct load to the player, helping to conditioning the player but also helping to evaluate and assign the correct recovering strategy so the player does not receive a re-injury by the cause of over-load.”

With experience across the board, Matti uses Catapult to enhance his day-to-day job.

“The Catapult system has been an important instrument for several years to monitoring the players in both the men´s and the women’s national teams which helps the coaching staff to plan and evaluate our training sessions coming to the physical aspect of the game.”

By knowing exactly what each athlete is doing in every training session and game, Matti can build profiles for each player base the next week’s training program based on benchmark data he has collected from competition.

He can then relay that information to coaches to better inform them of what type of training is best for the team given recent physical outputs.

Matti’s experience includes being Physiotherapist for Orgryte IS, Feelgood Gothenburg, Work,
Gothenburg, the Swedish U21 women’s national team; Physical Therapist for the women’s national team; Physical Trainer for GAIS and IF Elfsborg; and Medical staff in the Women European
Championship in England (2005), Women’s World Cup in China (2007), and the national women’s football at the Beijing Olympics (2008).

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