Ryan KeaneyComment


Ryan KeaneyComment

You will probably recognise the miCoach name as the “brain” in adidas’ recent lines of  fine football boots. It can, thanks to a very intelligent chip in the sole of the shoe, tell you how fast (or slow) you were moving when wearing them and just how far you travelled during your match-winning performance in the Sunday league. For some of us, the figures have never made for pleasant viewing. The harsh figures only proved to act as a reminder we are no longer the next Keith Gillespie, never mind being the next George Best.

Last month, adidas unveiled their newly developed miCoach Elite Team System, whch expands the miCoach benefits from the individual player to the whole team. The system utilises individual player cells held between the shoulders of the players in a skin tight base layer worn under the shirt, and tracked by a base unit positioned close to the playing field. It can track the heart rate, speed, acceleration, distance covered, position on the pitch and power exerted by the players and relay them in real-time to the coaching staff on an iPad dashboard.

Developed in conjunction with a host of the world’s best football teams and their coaching staff, the program allows coaches to know more about how a player is responding in a match and training, in the very moment. No longer do they have to spend hours and hours analysing reams of data and collating time stamps to judge their vital statistics. In an instance, they know the essentials of their players.

All 19 Major League Soccer clubs, Ajax Amsterdam, AC Milan and the reigning World Cup and European Champions Spain were among the many top level sides involved in the development and testing of the Elite Team System. It is the most comprehensive tool of its ilk and in very simple terms, it has the potential to revolutionise the game of football.

By knowing the height and weight of each player as well as their resting heart rates, coaches can track fatigue rather than relying on the honesty of their squad or their own judgement by simply watching the players on the field. It may also mean training sessions can be brought to an end early for a player recovering from an injury as soon as he exerts the targeted energy for the day or stepped in tempo for those attempting to take it easy. Schedules and programs can be tweaked and developed based on the miCoach reports so that each all-important percentage of performance is coaxed from the players.

Adidas unveiled the system during the MLS All-Star match last month when the very best of Major League Soccer took on the UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea. IBWM were in Philadelphia to get the lowdown, and we’ll have more on that in the coming days.

The Elite Team System will be rolled out to clubs in the final quarter of 2012 and be used by all Major League Soccer clubs throughout the 2013 season.

Photo courtesy of William Coutts.