The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Dimitri Farbos, Olympique Lyonnais

(Logos courtesy of SportTechie and N3XT Sports, photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

During the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, SportTechie and N3XT Sports are surveying key personnel at major soccer clubs around the world to understand the current state of soccer technology and innovation. (Previously we heard from Raúl Peláez, FC Barcelona.)

Dimitri Farbos is the assistant strength and conditioning coach for Olympique Lyonnais’ first team. Farbos has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, and has been working with Lyon since 2014. He has witnessed first-hand the impact of technology on the advancement of player performance and prevention.

Olympique Lyonnais is one of the biggest teams in Ligue 1, France’s highest soccer division. A 2009 survey found that roughly 11 percent of French fans cheer for Lyon. The club has won Ligue 1 seven times, most recently in the 2007/08 season, reached the semifinals of the Champions League in 2010, and the same stage of the Europa League in 2017.

According to Farbos, the most significant advancement in soccer technology over the last decade has been “the use of GPS quantification of the load.” Training load on a player refers to the total level of exertion, including both volume and intensity, in a session.

GPS devices have allowed clubs to gather a wide range of data points related to individual player performance, including speed, acceleration, heart rate, distance traveled, energy expenditure, and other workload indicators.

But despite the benefits that GPS technology provides in terms of understanding each player, Farbos notes that the primary challenge is still the “precision in the individualization of training.” While implementing a certain base level of individualization may be relatively easy, developing truly customized programs with greater levels of detail requires a significant investment in time and resources.

Farbos is confident, though, that as technology advances, we will continue to see increasingly complex, customized training programs as a result of the detailed, real-time data being collected from players.