Friday 26th April 2019

The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Xavi Reche, FC Barcelona

The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Xavi Reche, FC Barcelona

The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Xavi Reche, FC Barcelona
(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 soccer experts around the world to understand the current state of soccer technology and innovation. (More soccer technology viewpoints.)

Xavi Reche is a sports scientist at FC Barcelona. Reche has a decade’s experience in strength and conditioning for basketball, including two years working with Barça’s youth basketball players. In 2016, he began working with the club’s soccer players, applying player-tracking technology in order to help them train smarter.

FC Barcelona competes in the Spanish top division, La Liga, and is one of the most powerful soccer clubs in the world. The team’s motto is “Més que un club” (More than a club). It has won five UEFA Champions League titles, four UEFA Cups, five UEFA Super Cups, and three FIFA Club World Cups. A total of fourteen Barça players are representing nine different countries at the World Cup this summer.

Raúl Peláez, head of sport technology, innovation, and analysis at FC Barcelona previously featured in this series.

According to Reche, the major recent impact of technology in soccer comes in the “quantification of external load, with [reliability] and accuracy.” This allows trainers to understand the real workloads on players with minimal error.

A key problem with existing methods of player-tracking, Reche believes, is that they can be too invasive. Bulky devices can disrupt an athlete’s normal movement, and when a player is consciously aware that he or she is being measured, that player can act differently. Making devices smaller or integrating them into smart clothing will help address this.

As soccer technology improves, strength and conditioning trainers will gain a greater understanding of “the relationship between external and internal load [and] positional analysis and match [and] training performance,” according to Reche.

“Tracking data will help create an indirect connection between training and some important variables during games,” he added. “But trying to make a relationship between external load and performance could lead to a mistake. We are far from understanding this reality, performance is multi-factorial and tracking data is just one factor.”

Related

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Tyler Heaps, U.S. Soccer

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Darren Burgess, Arsenal

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Francisco Forner

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Eric Miller, Minnesota United

  • The State of Soccer Technology and Innovation – Simone Ripamonti

Must read×