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Dr. Sascha Härtel: “You need to try to create a larger picture, collect meaningful data and try to answer the questions”

TSG Hoffenheim has been at the forefront of a pioneering project in collaboration with KINEXON Sports. The project’s objective is to create player tracking products tailored specifically for women, along with cycle syncing dashboards. This initiative stems from the understanding of how monthly hormonal changes can significantly influence an athlete’s performance.

Dr. Sascha Härtel and Dr. Ludwig Ruf are performance coaches and researchers for the club. They talked about some of the progress that has already been made.

How Dramatic is the Impact of Hormonal Fluctuations?

Hormonal shifts can have a profound impact on an athlete’s performance, and in some cases, may even lead to injuries such as ACL tears. These injuries are notably more prevalent among female athletes. The primary objective of this project is to mitigate the risk of such injuries by gaining a deeper understanding of these hormonal shifts and incorporating this knowledge into our approach.

Dr. Ruf, a sports scientist and strength and conditioning coach at TSG Hoffenheim, underscores the significance of this research. He states, “We want to understand the methods to measure these parameters and then see what kind of influence they have at different stages of physical performance,” he says. “How can this status impact the acute responses to strength training, for example?”

Why Is There a Need for Better Guidelines for Women?

Dr. Ruf concedes, “These scientific guidelines are not there yet, and we have to develop them first.” Despite the current state of the scientific community, he remains hopeful about the future implications of this research. He asserts, “If we do appropriate good studies, it can have a huge impact on the female side. We aim to provide the same conditions as already applying to the male side essentially.” His optimism shines through, suggesting a promising horizon for this field of study.

What Role do KPIs Play for Women Athletes?

Dr. Härtel, who leads Performance Diagnostics and Science Coordination at TSG Hoffenheim, provides insight into the significance of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in their project. He elucidates, “We got an idea which KPI correlates, which shows you some mechanical load, which shows you some metabolic load, and so on.”

He candidly admits that the journey is filled with uncertainties and unanswered questions. “We are still seeking a lot of answers,” he confesses. “You need to start somewhere, and you need to collect and get some experience. The devices get better. The information gets better, and you need to try to create a larger picture and collect meaningful data and try to answer the questions, but it’s a long way to go.”

Despite the challenges, Dr. Härtel remains steadfast in his belief that innovation is ingrained in the DNA of TSG Hoffenheim. He proudly states, “For many years now, TSG have played a pioneering role in the analysis and development of its players through sports science, often using innovative new methods and technologies.”

Can Data and Personalization Transforming Women’s Sports?

TSG Hoffenheim is harnessing the power of sports data and analytics to not only elevate the performance of their professional squads but also to refine the training regimes at their Academy for budding athletes. The metrics of the players and the data-informed modifications that have been incorporated are now a fundamental component of their training blueprint.

The partnership between TSG Hoffenheim and KINEXON Sports is a groundbreaking initiative that aims to address the specific needs of women athletes. This venture is not just a step, but a leap towards understanding and acknowledging the distinct challenges that women in sports face. It’s a path that may be long, but it holds the potential to transform the landscape of women’s sports.

Together, KINEXON Sports and TSG Hoffenheim are trailblazers in women’s football, laying the groundwork for a future where sports are driven by data and tailored to the individual. This is the new benchmark in sports, where personalization and data go hand in hand.

For more information, please visit the Women’s Sports page on the KINEXON Sports website.

Listen to the full story in the Kinexon Podcast.

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