Senior Sports Reporter
ATHLETICS has been the love of his life but these days his favourite part of the sports field is the football pitch.
Former Zimbabwe national sprint champion, Nyasha Charandura, has invaded the football field where he is leading a revolution on sports science and the new technological concept of GPS tracking.
Charandura, who recently had a stint with the Warriors in their AFCON campaign, is one of the few trained sports science and GPS specialists on the continent.
His expertise has seen him being tracked by regional clubs, leading to his recruitment by ambitious Tanzanian outfit, Azam.
Sports science, according to Charandura is the difference between now and the future, as it is aimed at bringing out the best from individual athletes using the modern technological interventions.
“Modern sport is now player-centred, science-based and coach-driven. So, when you look at the GPS tracking system, it makes you understand the strengths and the weaknesses of a player.
“It also helps you understand the efforts players are putting in the field of play, so you can be able to differentiate, through the GPS tracking.
“It helps you to see the movement patterns, within the field of play, through the power scores or the movements within the player,” he said. Charandura has worked with football clubs like NUST FC, Talen Vision, Bulawayo Chiefs, Chicken Inn and How Mine. But, he has not limited himself to football as he has also been involved with rugby at Old Hararians and was the Sables strength and conditioning coach in 2017.
“I discovered there wasn’t functional training programes in Zimbabwe. So, I came up with those programmes and it helped a number of PSL teams where 90 percent of the current crop of fitness trainers came through my hands.
“Basically, because coaches were happy with what we were doing, I was called to the senior football national team.
‘‘Through that particular process, I also worked with a number of PSL coaches.
“So, we will be advising the technical team in a number of areas, for example the player load.
“Many injuries are coming due to over-training or, sometimes, teams are not doing well due to under-training.
“When we look at the overall aspect of it, for example GPS tracking during training or matches, it helps you understand the weekly load of players.’’
He explained how the system works.
“We have five types of loads. We have what we call the neuro-muscular load, which is more like the speed and etcetera kind of thing,’’ he said.
“We have the metabolic load, which people usually call endurance and other loads, which include psychological load, and more.
“But, when you use GPS system, you can be able to differentiate what the players have been doing and you can also be able to see the movements in different directions.
“The advantage is that you can compare with the other elite clubs, around the world, and it tells you where you are as a club.
“If you go to Europe now, at half-time or during play, they show you the heat map, they show you the directions of movement, distance covered etc. That’s GPS tracking.
“So, basically it is the 21 century kind of coaching. Definitely, it will bring about the principle of specificity. If you come to the principles of coaching there is what is called the principle of specificity and individuality.
“Of late, most of the coaches were dealing with a one-programme-fits-all but each and every player is different.
‘’You have to address them differently. It also helps in terms of managing the loads of the players especially when you look at the loads,” said Charandura.
During his peak, Charandura was a fine athlete, good enough to be the national champion between 2009 and 2010.
He competed at some of the biggest athletics stages like the World University Games in Russia in 2013.
Charandura is a holder of a BSc Hons Sports Science and Coaching degree from NUST, a diploma for participating at FISU Kazan Russia 2013. He is an IAAF Level 2 sprints and hurdles, NAAZ lecturer, IAAF assistant sprints and hurdles lecturer (from 2019), ZIFA level 1 & 2 coach, IRB strength & conditioning level 1 and 2 coach. He founded Major Sports Consultancy Company Africa to be a vehicle to spread the scientific revolution across the continent.
The consultancy covers areas such as sports scientific strength and conditioning, sports biokinetics, special population motor skills, fitness tests and data analysis, nutritional analysis, sports scientific research and sports entrepreneurship presentations
“Remember we are a sports consultancy company and we also need to grow and expand across Africa.
“Already we have been operating in Botswana, partially Zambia and Zimbabwe.
‘’So, this gives us a step forward in terms of dealing with modern day sport and also the application of sports science.”