Current Heart Rate Monitoring Methods in the Netherlands

Professional football teams are continuously seeking an edge to enhance player performance and reduce injury risks. One aspect increasingly gaining traction in the Dutch Eredivisie and Keuken Kampioen Division is the monitoring of players’ heart rates. Understanding the physiological demands placed on athletes during training sessions and matches has become crucial for optimizing their performance and well-being. At JOHAN we’ve delved into the current heart rate monitoring methods employed by teams in these leagues to gain insights in their methods and reasoning behind these methods.

Heart rate data Collection Methods

Heart rate data in Dutch football is typically gathered through the use of heart rate (HR) belts or vests. These wearable devices provide real-time data, enabling coaches and sports scientists to monitor players’ physiological responses accurately. However, not all teams utilize such technology, and some may opt not to collect heart rate data at all.

Frequency of Monitoring

The frequency of heart rate monitoring varies among teams. While some teams monitor heart rates during every training session, others may do so less frequently, such as once or twice a week. There are even instances where monitoring occurs sporadically, perhaps once every six weeks, or in some cases, not at all. This variance reflects differences in coaching philosophies, available resources, and the perceived importance of physiological monitoring within each club.


Recovery monitoring with different parameters

Several heart rate parameters are commonly used for recovery monitoring purposes. These include:

  • Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax): Understanding individual HRmax allows coaches to tailor training intensities to each player’s physiological capacities, optimizing performance while minimizing injury risks.
  • Heart Rate Zones: Monitoring heart rate zones enables coaches to ensure that players are training at the appropriate intensity levels, whether they’re focusing on aerobic conditioning, anaerobic capacity, or recovery.
  • Heart Rate TRIMP (Training Impulse): TRIMP provides a more nuanced understanding of the physiological load placed on players during training sessions. By quantifying the cumulative effect of heart rate intensity over time, coaches can better manage player workload and optimize training adaptations.
  • Heart Rate Recovery after 1 Minute and 2 Minutes: Monitoring heart rate recovery post-exercise offers insights into players’ cardiovascular fitness and readiness for subsequent exertion. By assessing how quickly heart rate returns to baseline levels after specified intervals, coaches can gauge players’ aerobic conditioning and overall recovery capacity.
  • Anaerobic Zone: Identifying and monitoring heart rate within the anaerobic zone is crucial for optimizing players’ high-intensity performance and conditioning. By targeting specific heart rate thresholds indicative of anaerobic metabolism, coaches can design training interventions to improve players’ ability to sustain intense efforts and recover effectively during matches.

Heart rate monitoring During Matches

While heart rate monitoring during matches is not as prevalent as during training sessions, some teams do incorporate this practice. The primary reason for doing so is to assess how quickly players can recover during the dynamic and high-intensity environment of a game. However, there are also reasons why teams may choose not to monitor heart rates during matches. Some players may find wearing a belt uncomfortable during play, while concerns about the accuracy of the data collected could also deter teams from adopting this practice universally.

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