How stats will help to devise Liverpool’s return to contact training

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The Premier League has held talks with sports technology company STATSports to help shape training sessions ahead of the move to contact training.

Premier League clubs are set to vote on Wednesday on the safety protocols for entering phase two of training as clubs build up towards a return to action under the Project Restart plan.

Clubs have been doing non-contact training in small groups but are preparing to move to the next phase.

STATSports technology is able to provide data on the movement of players and how often they come into contact with each other, enabling clubs to assess the risk of different aspects of training.

Sean O’Connor, co-founder of STATSports, told the Daily Mail: “We looked at pre-COVID sessions and imagined a two-metre circle around someone’s feet.

“You can then evaluate how many times players incurred on other players. So, looking at pre-COVID, we had an average of just over three seconds.

“People did not realise it was that low. We published a white paper and let the Premier League know what we were doing and they were really excited as it gave them the black-and-white data to come up with a phased protocol for training.

“So they can understand the effects of the session and how they can have a positive training session that is influencing tactically, physically and also safe.

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS, USA - Saturday, July 20, 2019: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' drink water during an open training session at Fenway Park ahead of a friendly against Seville on day five of the club's pre-season tour of America. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“What we were able to do was work with the Premier League and looked at specific drills pre-COVID and worked out which types of drills will have higher incursions.

“It is things like water breaks when players stand chatting next to each other. The average time was three seconds pre-COVID including water breaks and tactical drills, including small-sided games.

“We took the approach of taking out factors that increase the chances so we will see an even lower number of incursions.”

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