With conferences going virtual due to Covid lockdowns, this morning we joined the Gold Coast Elite Sports Conference and had the opportunity to hear from  Philadelphia 76ers Director of Sports Science – Carmen Colomer. Carmen is an Australian Sports Scientist who, prior to joining the 76ers, has spent almost a decade in high-performance sport working for teams such as the Melbourne Rebels, ACT Brumbies and Brisbane Broncos. Her current role sees her managing training load and recovery for some of the biggest names in Basketball in the NBA.

Minimise the effects of fatigue

Carmen spoke on the fundamentals for minimising the effects of fatigue and planning for the recovery of athletes under her care. Data plays a critical role in determining the levels of muscle soreness, fatigue and overall athlete wellness, and while the underlying data (and data collection technology) is never perfect, it is incredibly valuable for informing a discussion around recovery plans. Hydration, nutrition & sleep are important tools in managing player recovery, in combination with basics such as ice baths, massage and heat. Also, for Carmen and the coaching staff, knowing when to schedule days off for the players throughout the week, greatly assists the process and reduces the risk of injury.

Regular athlete testing

Carmen explained that testing should not be intrusive, but it is a valuable indicator for her and the coaching team. They try to run their testing as part of their pre-season training camp, then repeat during the season, usually by incorporating into warmup sessions. For basketball, their testing focusses on agility, bounding/hoping movements and capacity, however testing is typically unique to each sport given their respective requirements.

Recovery & Load Management in Grassroots sport

The 76ers have some impressive technology available to them to assist with their athlete monitoring including Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs) and Local Positioning Systems (LPS) which provide feedback on how hard their players are working during training, however these systems are out of the reach of most clubs below professional levels. For clubs developing grassroots athletes, simple session based duration and RPE scores in combination with survey based wellness monitoring, can provide good indicators for coaches to manage player recovery and performance.

Many of the elite principles raised by Carmen and employed by the Philadelphia 76ers are available to grassroots programs in the Sportly.Me platform. Sportly.Me has been developed specifically with young athletes in mind, with simplified data collection producing increased compliance and accuracy when it comes to analysing training loads. To find out more on how your team or club could benefit from Sportly.Me, check out our website at www.sportly.me.

Written by Damien Thomson

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