As IntelliGym continues to bring its Game Intelligence software in soccer to markets such as New England and New York, it’s important to highlight that this new way of supplementing player development has been part of the soccer ecosystem in Europe for over 12 years.
Not all players will go on to play professionally or in the World Cup, but serious players know developing all aspects of their in-game performance truly matters. They contribute to improving skills and getting that next-level edge to stay competitive no matter what your soccer goals are. Those aspirations could be playing in high school, college, club and semi-pro, or even coaching.
Since IntelliGym is a data-driven, performance software, it’s always asked to prove results and the ability to actually “train the soccer brain” and quite simply prove “does this training really work?”
To answer those questions, it was time to get real-world results from real players (U-14 and U-15) at top soccer academies in Europe.
So let the studies begin…
IntelliGym approached the German Football Association (DFB) and two of its most popular youth clubs – Hamburger SV U-15 and DSC Arminia Bielefeld U-14 – to conduct and measure results using the Soccer IntelliGym. DFB then engaged two leading experts from German Sports University: Dr. Karsten Schul and Prof. Dr. Daniel Memmert of the Institute of Training and Computer Science.
First, they defined the platform as cognitive training or sports intelligence training that focuses on strengthening an athlete’s mind and mental skills. It’s the missing piece of the new athlete development model, which includes more than just physical, technical and tactical training.
Next, the players were randomly placed in two groups of 13 players each. Half the players trained with IntelliGym and half trained with another computer task (neither group was told about the software goals). Players’ skills were evaluated before and after training by the experts and a game measuring system. The on-field test consisted of an offensive player’s ability to play the ball past three defenders in many scenarios. The system measured identifying gaps in the defense through anticipation, awareness and decision-making under pressure with a focus on tactical skills over technical skills.
Three independent soccer coaches with high coaching licenses assessed the overall game actions, rated on a scale of 1 to 10, followed by independent experts rating the same players using video footage of the training sessions. To ensure the ratings were objective, ratings of the same athletes by the same raters over time and by different raters were compared. By calculating the relationship between the ratings, it’s possible to ensure reliable and accurate results.
When the researchers compared performance scores before and after the study, they found that players who had trained using IntelliGym showed a significant improvement in their on-field decision-making performance compared to the control group. Players in the IntelliGym group increased their performance scores by nearly 30 percent.
Players also improved their ranking within their team. Players in the control group saw almost no improvement in performance scores and therefore saw their ranking decrease.
The complete soccer player is the one that puts effort into their overall player development. Gaining every edge both physically and mentally separates the average from the elite. The Soccer IntelliGym is proven not only in these studies but many more to greatly improve game intelligence.
It’s time to sign up and be part of the next generation of soccer development training!