RUDGER VAN SNICK: “I WAS SURPRISED AT THE PHYSICAL LEVEL OF 1B”

Rudger, you are the physical coach of KVC Westerlo. What exactly does this mean?

In fact, it encompasses everything relating to the physical readiness of the players and the team. This ranges from drawing up the planning, making periodicals for the team and for the players individually, to giving warm-ups and scheduling what kind of training session. Any additional physical work they may also need to do specifically.

We often see you standing next to the training field with your laptop and also in the dugout. What are you looking at?

Both during training and at matches, the players wear a GPS system and also their heart rate registration. This allows us to monitor them completely individually. This concerns speed zones, maximum speed, number of explosive actions, number of accelerations, high intensive speeds, … But also everything related to their heart rate. What maximum heart rate, how long they have been playing in a certain heart rate zone, …

We look at this on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. We adjust our periodisation accordingly. When players come back from injury it is also easier for us to bring them back to their game level. So we have all the parameters to do this in a good and efficient way.

Do you sometimes give hints to the coach during the match about which player is in the red that might need to be replaced urgently?

In principle, everything has already been discussed, both during the week and the day before, but of course it is always possible that both I and the coach see things during the match and the GPS system can actually help us to make choices and possibly bring or pick up players faster than necessary or agreed in advance.

Are you really involved in this?

That is both for the coach and for me. We certainly use the data when necessary or when we have to make choices. In that area, we can actually act very quickly with objective values relating to the preparedness of the players during the match.

Our players have been stationary for a while (due to the known circumstances), did you see this in their physical readiness when they came back? Had anything changed here?

In the first place the players who tested positive for the coronavirus. Most of our players were asymptomatic, which means that they had no symptoms. These players were able to follow their individual programme quite well at home. Despite the fact that the players did not sit still, we see that the players who tested positive and were asymptomatic did fall a bit behind compared to the group that was able to continue training. We are soon talking about 10 to 15% of their physical readiness. In that area, it is individual examination and adjustment where necessary. Monitoring which player can do something extra where and, if necessary, must train accordingly.

Is there a player who stands out in terms of physical tests?

Actually, I can say that in general I was very surprised by the physical level of the 1B Pro League. Compared to 1A, it really is a league that is physically high and where physical readiness is very important. I noticed this fairly quickly. Of course, you automatically come across players who achieve certain values on a physical level in matches and of course on physical tests that you think they might have been made for a sport other than football. That is fantastic to work with.

Don’t you give away a name?

I dare say Lukas Van Eenoo as one of the most physically strong players in our team.

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