Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 September 2020

Everton players staying fit and competing against each other with the help of technology

Club have divided players into groups, with their sessions recorded via an app and efforts graded from one to 10

Everton’s footballers are giving themselves marks out of 10 for the way they perform individualised training programmes as they log their efforts on an app.

The Premier League club has divided their players into groups as they try to keep them fit for whenever football can resume.

Carlo Ancelotti’s players have been training at home, running or using treadmills, Wattbikes or conventional bikes, since the Finch Farm training ground was closed more than two weeks ago.

But Everton are trying to introduce an element of competition as they try and stop their players becoming “mentally isolated” while they work out on their own.

Players have been divided into groups, each under a different staff member and based on their physical characteristics. They then record their sessions via an app and grade their efforts from one to 10.

“We can’t monitor distance, so we are asking them to log their sessions and give us an RPE [rate of perceived exertion],” said Danny Donachie, Everton’s director of medical services

“That is a reliable score we use on a normal training day and gives a rough value of where they are in each session.

“We are hoping to generate competition by doing some sessions together in our training groups. It isn’t always possible because of logistics. I have a group of four and two of them don’t have bike, so we can’t do the bike session together.

“But we have a weekly log of their sessions and that has introduced an element of competition because some of them want to do more sessions than anyone else and see that recorded.”

Everton have made their training programmes more personal to each footballer as the shutdown has gone on.

Donachie told the club’s website: “Initially the players had quite a lot of freedom in how they exercised but now we are more specific, in terms of the period of time they’re running and work-to-rest times.

“We are individualising the programmes to a greater degree and each member of fitness staff is overseeing a small group of players.

“The players have more distinct things to do each day and we are receiving more feedback from them and tracking what they are doing.

“They are still working on either outdoors running or treadmill running and on a Wattbike or normal bike, alongside their usual strength training.

“The main objective is players maintaining their levels but also to stimulate them at home. We want them mentally and physically prepared [for their return to training], but also to keep them engaged.

“We don’t want them to be just sat at home and becoming disengaged and feeling mentally isolated, so it is keeping them feeling part of the group as well. We are keeping them fit but not doing too much.”

Captain Seamus Coleman is back in full training but Everton are making different arrangements for the injured trio of Morgan Schneiderlin, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Cenk Tosun, who is back under their jurisdiction after damaging cruciate ligaments while on loan at Crystal Palace.

Donachie said it is especially difficult dealing with injured players as he revealed midfielder Schneiderlin will see a surgeon via a video-conferencing app.

“The two most challenging situations are with Morgan and Cenk,” said Donachie. “They are not able to do any weight-bearing exercise. Most of what we’d have done with them would be hands-on – and that’s not possible.

“We are doing regular Skype sessions with them but what we can do practically is very limited. Morgan is due to see the surgeon on Monday next week and we will do that via Zoom. From then, he can probably do more exercise, so I will be doing one-to-one videos with him every day.”

Updated: April 2, 2020 11:18 AM

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