WHAT IS MILANLAB?
MilanLab is AC Milan’s high tech interdisciplinary scientific research centre. The centre’s headquarters is at the Milanello sports centre and has been operating since March 2002.
MilanLab provides technological support within the decision making process that aims to provide the best possible management of individual well being and health.
Science and technology, business know how and individual experience all combine in innovative ways to provide a systematic approach to all the diverse aspects that make up a person’s well being.
MilanLab provides the information for future management, availing of the data that has been gathered in past years.
MilanLab’s planning bases its own methodological progress on the logical, coherent, regular and constant storing of data. This allows the analysis system to create and to nourish its own method, identifying the algorithms which control and enforce the well being of the individual. In relation to any subject therefore, MilanLab is able to map a person’s entire life in their own individual numbers.
Every life is unique and personal: MilanLab’s strength lies in being able to map out this uniqueness. Regular and systematic monitoring of the various elements that make up a person’s well being is, of course, decisive.
THE MISSION AND THE METHODOLOGY
The Mission of MilanLab is to optimize the subject’s efforts as they seek to achieve their sporting objectives and/or general health objectives.
The Laboratory structures its working protocol through an in depth analysis of the individuals current state. Based on this initial analysis, a plan of action is worked out with the objective of bring the subject to the highest possible level of wellbeing and/or performance through follow up sessions designed to monitor changes and consequently to implement any eventual adjustments.
The heart of the project is the test circuit which is subject to continual evolutions and modifications based on technological advances and steps forward in expertise. This circuit is capable of acquiring a subject’s data, thereby allowing it to understand the subjects current state of health. The analysis carried out places its findings on three levels of acquisition: Our state of health can be seen in its relation to three base factors which we can see on the sides of an equilateral triangle. One side shows us the structural conditions, another side displays the bio-chemical aspects and the third side is the psychological condition. If any of the three sides is weakened, it will lead to an overall imbalance and therefore the state of wellbeing will in some way be compromised. At the base of MilanLab is a vision of health understood as total wellbeing, physical, social and mental which depends on the balance between the three separate elements as explained above. Each of these levels - in the organization of MilanLab – is represented by an area of intervention.
This is how the numeric ID card of the individual is put together.
A system of knowledge management then allows the distribution of the information regarding the subject’s condition thereby identifying what type of elements have to be highlighted and which interventions to be followed in order to maintain the highest possible level of wellbeing. Every element, every activity undertaken by the subject (from personal data to lifestyle, from diet to daily routines) contribute to the enrichment of the subject’s personal database and the entire MilanLab system.
This mechanism allows the laboratory to constantly elaborate causes and effects, stabilizing the relative correlations and rendering evident and objective both the positive and the negative manifestations.
MILANLAB FOR ACMILAN
With the health of the players as the primary goal, MilanLab studies and identifies guidelines to get the best out of the Milan players. Prevention and systematic analysis are the basis on which MilanLab is built. Prevention, which is understood as the implementation of a series of actions employed now to avoid injury in the future; analysis which makes reference to a widely accepted concept, present also in the defintion of health by the World Health Organisation: “Health is the state of total physical, mental and social wellbeing and not the absence of disease or illness.” According to this vision, a football club, a team, a person and an athlete are single integrated systems, made up of different mini-systems, whose interaction and efficiency determine the overall balance. Global performance is achieved by the integration of the specific mini-systems that make up the whole. As a consequence of this systematic approach, the interdisciplinary nature of MilanLab’s research programme must piece together knowledge from diverse disciplines: motor science, biochemical and biomechanical science, psychology, cogntive science, chiropractice, neuroscience, IT, complex systems analysis (neural networks, business intelligence). Before MilanLab there was no such explanation for a series of frequent events which players suffered from that could be explained by the individual events themselves. By studying an individual’s ‘norms’, information is now availale to create a knowledge base; a know-how which can and should be shared amongst all the experts who work with and for the subject under analysis.
MILANLAB FOR THE FIRST TEAM
MilanLab was founded with the objective of optimising the team’s results to serve as technological support in the coaching staff’s decision making process and in the club’s human resource management.
Active since 2002, and strongly desired by the club, MilanLab has founded its basis on a simple but strategic concept, which is the driving force for the entire methodology: wellbeing.
Psychophysical integrity of its champion athletes is the most precious asset of a football club: from which depend the team’s performance on the pitch and as a consequence the sporting and economic success of the club. It is therefore decisive to monitor, measure and check the various elements which make up the well being of the athlete in a systematic and rigorous manner. Players are put under much physical duress during the football season, both in the more intense competitive phase and in the course of training and recovery phase. The mission of MilanLab is to optimise the results of the team through a system of information technology, which makes it possible to scutinise the pyschophysical state of each single player and of the team in its entirety at any given moment. The aim is therefore to identify which elements must be highlighted and which action is required to achieve the final aim of placing the player in the condition whereby his performance is maximised.
In this way MilanLab contributes to the implementation of the organisational know how and offers prestigious support in the decison-making process.
The health and wellbeing of the athletes must be in tune with the rhythm of competition and training to bring to make sure their full potential is exploited.
The research method applied to MilanLab consists of constantly and continuously measuring the data of the single areas, how they integrate, and in pointing out of specific protocols to maintain or reset the balance and therefore the efficiency of the system.
With the goal of obtaining significant results, it has been necessary to create a system capable of collecting and elaborating a large amount of information. Data are collected and elaborated by a system which utilises specific technology, capable of seiving through memorized data on the outcome of performance, on the excellence profile of the single athlete, and his injuries and drops in form. The aim is to be able to detemine and isolate the factors which contribute in a systematic fashion to verify particular ‘at risk events’ for players, and therefore to be able to intervene in due to the trustworthy and controllable forecast.
MILAN LAB FOR THE YOUTH SECTOR
Today there are 11 teams that make up the Youth Sector (from the very young
To those close to the first team) with over 250 boys from the ages of 10 to 18. The Milan Youth Sector is one of the most important programs in the whole of Italy and in the world. The importance of the youth project stems from the club’s desire to shape footballers and men, to develop their technical skills and also give them a moral code. Staring from the 2006-2007 season, Milan Lab has been monitoring the growth and development of the youngsters in the Youth Sector also, with the use of regular tests that provides useful information on their wellbeing.
On top of that, the data provides very helpful parameters that the Club can utilise when scouting for new players.
MILAN LAB AND THE MILAN JUNIOR PROJECT
The collaboration between MilanLab and Milan Junior is a strategic manoeuvre to apply the methods of MilaLab to all levels at the Club. The Lab provides an important and innovative contribution to the activities of Milan Junior, in terms of both scouting as well as keeping a close eye on the wellbeing of the players.
MilanLab officially became a strategic part of the ‘Scuole Calcio Milan’ (Milan’s training schools) in the 2010-2011 season with an ‘integrated’ project that aims to add further value to the training schools that are located all around Italy. The know-how gathered by MilanLab with the first team is now available to these training schools so that the quality and excellence of the project can be continually improved. A team of specialists has been created to help out the individual schools on a daily basis (the aim is to reach 100 units by the end of the year) to develop their work.
More specifically ‘MilanLab for the Milan Junior’ project was born and with it comes a kit that includes a series of performance-measuring instruments and computers. This kit collects a vast array of data on all levels (from kinematic data to dynamic and energetic readings etc…) which can then be studied by the Staff at MilanLab. That data collected can then be used in a number of situations:
- It will broaden the database and be added to data that has already been analysed
- It will allow the club to have more information on potential players that the club want to sign and will favour the scouts in their task around the Training Schools.
- The data will provide useful information on the wellbeing of the young athletes. The scientific and objective indications elaborated by MilanLab across the data have highlighted that some negative or even dangerous behaviour can provoke harmful consequences to the health of young footballers.