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Why RTAA®, Martin Franz?

At the beginning there is the test. But why and what does that mean for the coaching sessions? We asked Martin Franz, Head of Performance at VfB Stuttgart.

The Return to Activity Algorithm (RTAA®) is established in many teams in the first and second Bundesliga. VfB Stuttgart uses it consistently both with young players and with the professionals. But why actually? Martin Franz, Head of Performance at VfB, reveals it in an interview.

OSINSTITUT: What aspects of training science and physiotherapy are the foundation for good player coaching?

Martin Franz: Basically, the first thing is to get an overview of the status of the team and the individual player. What are the deficits in mobility, stability or strength? This gives me a baseline and I can adjust my training accordingly.

OSINSTITUT: When and how do you collect the data?

Martin Franz: The screening is a fixed component at the beginning of every preparation, both in the junior and professional teams. We run the RTAA®, the FMS and the Bunkie test as a weak link test with the entire squad. The values are documented and we get an actual value from each player.

OSINSTITUT: What conclusions do you draw from the data?

Martin Franz: The data results in an individual player profile that gives us indications of weaknesses in the musculoskeletal system. Each player then receives a customised correction programme. It is adjusted again and again throughout the season. In this way, we can counteract deficits and always take into account the current status of the player.

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The Module Rehab contains all contents around the RTAA®. 

Module Rehab // 27th - 29th October 2022

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OSINSTITUT: And how do you implement the programme? Do you form training groups for players with similar problems?

Martin Franz: No, there are no training groups. Everyone completes their own individual programme. This is integrated into the training at least two or three times a week.

OSINSTITUT: You mentioned the RTAA® at the beginning. What convinced you to use the RTAA?

Martin Franz: The RTAA® provides us with valid results with little equipment and in a relatively short time, so that we can identify risk factors, such as problems with leg axis stability. Based on the recorded values, we can do targeted preventive work. We also get important baseline values of the healthy player. If he gets injured, we know where we want to go again.

OSINSTITUT: Communication is particularly important when looking after an injured player. Physiotherapists, doctors, athletic trainers, head coaches and last but not least the player himself: everyone wants to know how the player is doing and when he will be fit again. How do you deal with this challenge?

Martin Franz: It is important that everyone speaks the "same language". The screenings in a healthy state help with that. In the communication between player and coach, for example, the RTAA® promotes understanding for certain decisions. You can show the player what values he achieved before the season and where he stands now. He can thus better understand why he cannot yet return to team training, even though he already feels like it. The RTAA® has also facilitated interdisciplinary communication. Especially in the cooperation with our affiliated VfB-Rehawelt. When a player comes back to us, we know exactly what level he is at and where our training with him has to start. In this way, we achieve optimal support for the player during rehab until his comeback.

OSINSTITUT: Thank you very much for the interview. And have a good season with as few injuries as possible.

Photo: © VfB Stuttgart

Interview: Nils Borgstedt