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What are the Acceleration and Deceleration Metrics?

What do these metrics mean and why are they useful?

Accel-Decel Metric Header

What are Accelerations and Decelerations?

Accelerations and decelerations are measured by all of our EDGE units and they signal when you've increased or decreased your speed by 2.5 metres per second (m/s). Acceleration and decelerations make up 5-10% of the total load placed on players in competitive football match-play. Decelerations are particularly tough to perform consistently as they often occur up to 2.9x more frequently than accelerations due to unexpected changes of direction leading to higher fatigue which can influence a players ability to perform technical actions.

Understanding the Metrics

Professional Football players cover a total distance of around 10km per match depending on their position but only around 10% of that distance is performed at a high intensity. A small part of this 10% is accelerations, these are a key determinant of football performance due to their physically demanding nature. Accelerations form a crucial part of footballing success but come at a high metabolic cost to players which is significantly related to increased fatigue in players leading to higher Rate of Perceived Exertions (RPE) scores. For example, a player who is performing several accelerations in training before a match day. They will have a high External load which could lead to fatigue and risk of injury in a game. 

Decelerations are also a key metric for players as it represents the highest mechanical load per metre compared with any other action performed within match-play. Subsequently, decelerations can have a continuous degrading effect effect on on multiple performance markers such as increased muscle soreness, reduced jumping ability and hamstring strength asymmetries.  It is therefore key for coaches to monitor decelerations as they are a key indicator of training load and stress placed upon a player. By monitoring this in matches and training coaches can identify if payers are overloading and at risk of an injury. 

How to use this Metric to Improve Performance

As we can see accelerations and decelerations are key metrics that allow coaches and players to view how tough a match or session was on the player and plan for recovery sessions that can help reduce fatigue and the chances of non-contact injuries. Decelerations have the highest impact on a players ability to recover and should be a good marker for how hard a session or match has impacted on a player and how to help them recover in preparation for the next training session. Accelerations are important for key points in game such as gaining possession of the ball or goal scoring opportunities. Coaches can improve athletes accelerations by creating fast paced explosive training drills to improve speed and acceleration.