TopSportsLab Case Studies

Belgian men's hockey team

CASE STUDY: TopSportsLab / BELGIAN MENS FIELD HOCKEY TEAM
A PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT JOURNEY TOWARDS 2016 OLYMPIC SUCCESS

Situation

Prior to 2008 Belgian field hockey was not played at world-class level. In 2008 the Belgium’s National men's hockey team (BNT) qualified for the first time in history for the Olympics in Beijing. It ended 9th but missed the Olympic ticket. In 2010 BNT did not qualify for CT, EC or WC, but coach Colin Batch introduced TopSportsLab to support them using the latest Performance Management techniques.

The Challenge

It is BNT’s objective to win a medal at the 2016 Olympics. In order to achieve this they set up both a short and a long term performance plan. For the 2012 Olympics they require the development of a structured, consistent and physical development plan. The plan needs to be sustainable and personalised per athlete and include a player’s tracking mechanism to prepare the athlete for the future, capable of winning a medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Project Highlights

In 2010, TopSportsLab was selected as their preferred long term operational excellence partner. Monthly meetings with technical and medical staff were held to tighten the collaboration. Whereas 3 head coaches have been in charge since 2010, the collaboration between KBHB staff and TopSportsLab remains intact. TopSportsLab keeps track of scientific breakthroughs on the market ensuring KBHB to be the first mover on innovation.

Achievements

  • 2011: 5th EC
  • 2012: 5th CT, 5th Olympic Games
  • 2013: 2nd EC, 2014: 5th WC
  • World ranking in 2010: 25th. In 2015: 4th
  • Numerous youth talent were selected for the first national team. Workload management was implemented throughout the youth selections.
  • Olympics 2016: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: Belgium's men Hockey Team wins SILVER medal in rio.


AZ

CASE STUDY: TopSportsLab / AZ ALKMAAR
ACHIEVING FINANCIAL AND SPORTING SUCCESS

Situation

Founded in 1967, AZ is well established as one of the Netherland’s premier football teams with a proud history of success in the Eredivisie and on the European stage. Despite enjoying a great 2008-09 season under the supervision of Louis van Gaal, subsequent changes in management and the bankruptcy of their main backer, DSB Bank meant a very uncertain future for the club.

The Challenge

AZ knew that in order to achieve success with a newly restrained budget, they would have to become smarter and leaner to remain at the top. In 2010, they commissioned TopSportsLab to implement cutting-edge performance and asset management systems in order to establish a sustainable short and long term success strategy.

Project Highlights

Subsequent to a successful 6-month trial period, TopSportsLab is confirmed as long-term strategic partner. Monthly meetings are arranged between technical and medical teams to improve collaboration. Performance analysis and injury prevention strategy receives interdepartmental buy-in.

Achievements

  • 3 x top 4 finishes in Eredivisie
  • 3 seasons in Europa League incl. 1 quarter final
  • Winner 2012/13 KNVB national cup







CASE STUDY: TopSportsLab / OLYMPIQUE DE MARSEILLE
PHYSICAL SUPERIORITY IN FRENCH LIGUE 1

Situation

Olympique de Marseille (OM) was founded in 1899. They are the most successful French football team in history. OM have been French champion 10 times. In 1993, OM became the first French club to win the UEFA Championships League. In 1994, OM were relegated because of a bribery scandal. During the subsequent years, OM made it back to Ligue 1 and frequently contested the number 1 position with its main rivals.

The Challenge

For the 2014/15 season, a new head coach was appointed. He was tasked to implement methods based on the latest scientific knowledge to help the performance of his players. The game is constructed on possession, duplication of effort and aggressiveness in recovery of the ball. Therefore physical excellence is paramount.

Project Highlights

In June 2014, TopSportsLab’s founder Jan Van Winckel was hired as head of strength and conditioning.  Jan has been successful in both physical optimisation of top teams as well as the implementation of injury prevention strategies maximising the availability of the best players. Jan has fully implemented the TopSportsLab system. He has been able to fully align it with the football strategies and objectives of OM’s head coach.

Achievements

  • Winter Champion - Ligue 1
UEFA

CASE STUDY: TopSportsLab / UEFA REFEREES
PREPARATION FOR MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

Situation

In preparation of EURO 2012, UEFA tasked Professor Werner Helsen (TopSportsLab) to develop a structured plan to prepare the selected elite referees for the 2012 Championship “and beyond”. The “excellence” plan included physical preparation, injury prevention and concentration training. Helsen has been involved in 4 FIFA World Cups and 4 European Championships. Today referees are prepared as “6-man referee teams”. They undergo an intensive, structured preparation plan.

The Challenge

Football has become a global industry with ever growing (economic and socio political) impact. In parallel to industry, governance standards are to be developed and aligned. The game is becoming increasingly demanding for referees, as speed increases and recovery times decrease; the right decisions are to be taken within split seconds. Increased alert is required towards the end of a match. Unlike other sports, football referees have little high-tech assistance. Therefore today’s elite referees require excellent physical and mental skills.

Project Highlights

In 2010 TopSportsLab were selected as preferred long term operational excellence partner for UEFA. Periodic performance screenings (and other training) are being organised with UEFA elite referees. Meetings are held with medical staff, national physical coaches and the elite referees to develop and agree individualised training schedules for the period ahead. Subsequently, daily training load data are being monitored and synchronised to TopSportsLab. The TopSportsLab application provides training prescriptions and injury risk profiles using its proprietary algorithms for performance and injury prediction.

Achievements

  • Euro 2012 was a successful championship for refereeing; fit referees with sharp, consistent decision making
  • Best practices are currently being institutionalised, e.g. dedicated pre-game warm-up areas for referee team
  • An increasing number of countries introduce pass/no pass physical screenings for elite referee

CASE STUDY: TopSportsLab / Willem II
SURVIVING THE EREDIVISIE ON €2.5m STAFF BUDGET

Situation

Founded in 1896, named after the King, Willem II has a rich history in the Dutch professional football leagues. Despite never winning the Eredivisie, the club finished runner-up and qualified for the Champions League in 1999. In 2013 Willem II started work with TopSportsLab and got promoted to the Eredivisie. Despite this success, their financial situation was precarious as their budget was nearly the lowest in the league (€2.6m excl. stadium rental fees).

The Challenge

Willem II realised that in order to achieve success with a minimal budget, they would have to become smarter and leaner. They made the decision to implement cutting-edge performance management and injury prevention systems by TopSportsLab. Willem II is historically known for its successful youth academy. Unfortunately, after their relegation in 2012 they had to abandon their ambitions in this area.

Project Highlights

  • Subsequent to a successful trial and the club’s promotion in 2013, TopSportsLab is confirmed as a long-term strategic partner.
  • A structured player tracking, screening, injury prevention and continuous monitoring programme was developed.

Achievements

  • Promotion to Eredivisie in 2013
  • Ranked 9th half way through 14/15 season