Nicolas Miranda is a sports scientist at Catapult Sports. Over the past ten years, Catapult has provided team performance analytics to the likes of A.C. Milan, Ajax, PSG, Atletico Madrid, Brazil, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Leicester, Newcastle, Rangers, Real Madrid and Tottenham Hotspur.

“People assume that elite teams are looking at 3000 different metrics to improve player performance. A massive misconception; in fact they look at relatively few parameters. It’s what they do with those numbers that counts.

Here’s my three top tips to get the best out of your Playertek data this football season.

Focus on One Performance Question

Think back to the golden rules of school science experiments. Or perhaps, like me, you weren’t always listening. But it’s important to understand the one specific question you’re trying to answer. That might be – what’s the relationship between how far I run in game and whether we win or lose the match? Or, is there a correlation between the games where I run the fastest? Maybe you’ve slept more hours the night before those games, or perhaps you’ve eaten well to fuel those 90 minutes.

Here’s an interesting one for you to try: look at any changes in your work rate after the 60th minute of the game (you can see this breakdown below the heatmap in the second page of your session). In the world of premiership teams, there tends to be a correlation between a drop in intensity after the 60th minute of the game, and losing the match. What does your data tell you?! Are you making a difference when it matters the most?

Keep it Simple: Put Distance & Speed Together to See the Big Picture

In the elite world, we always look at volume and intensity to get an overview of match performance. Volume is the distance covered metric on the Playertek app, and intensity is how fast you were running (speed, in metres per second). Pretty simple, I know, but the best things normally are.

If you try to maximise both speed and distance, that’s a great place to start with your training. Last week, maybe you ran 5km in game, but at a low average speed (high volume, low intensity). In contrast, this week perhaps you ran only 4km but at a much higher average speed. Which game did you have more impact on? My guess would be the game where you ran faster. Most goals are scored after very intense action, e.g. a 10 metre sprint.

Create a Benchmark and Play Against Yourself

In a team sport like football, it can feel like there’s only one way to measure performance; did your team win or lose the game. What if you’re a striker who made some great runs, but just didn’t get the service from your teammates? Perhaps you’re a fullback who had license to go forward in the first half, but your captain insists you stay back and defend a lead for the rest of the match?

Use Playertek to measure your performance in a different way. Play against yourself. Much like a runner would try to beat his personal best on a cross country run, you should be creating your own benchmark for the game. What was your best match this season? Did you cover 6km on the pitch with a 7 m/s top speed? If so, try and beat those stats every time you play.

Use Playertek to uncover another layer of winning or losing your Sunday match – in a way that’s totally separate from which team scored the most goals. And one that you, and you only, are in control of.

Good luck and let us know how it goes. Tag us @playertek.”