The Rams are one of the least-injured NFL teams since 2015, and reached two Super Bowls in that time.
One reason why is because they actively monitor every player's workload and avoid overworking them.
The team's sports medicine lead said he took the ideas from Premier League soccer teams.
Head coach Sean McVay told Insider one reason for that is thanks to the sports medicine team taking inspiration from Premier League soccer, particularly in the way they scale they monitor and scale workouts.
It started in the early 2010s, when the Rams hired Reggie Scott to be the head athletic trainer. Scott was studying how other leagues trained, and in 2012, he was intrigued by an innovation in the Premier League, using player workload tracking data. He gave it a try, placing greater focus on monitoring players' workload, and managing it accordingly to prevent unnecessary physical strain on their bodies.
"It really was big in soccer and European football overseas," Scott, now vice president of their sports medicine and performance team, told Insider. "I don't know who else could have been doing it back then because it was really new."
Now, Scott says the Rams will go so far as to cancel practice drills and workouts if their player workload tracking data suggests it will overwork their players, which is a steep departure from old-school football coaching.
NFL training has seen an analytical shift over the last decade
The Rams were among the first NFL teams to embrace workload analytics, and it's helped keep them ahead of the curve in terms of keeping players healthy and conditioned. Scott says the team's first partner in this field was the Australian performance analytics agency Catapult.
All 32 NFL teams have followed suit and now have their own contracts with Catapult, including the Rams' Super Bowl opponent the Cincinnati Bengals.
Still, it's been a dramatic transition across the league, according to Catapult Director of Applied Sport Science Jamie Hepner, and said football practice and training have traditionally been deliberately thorough and physically punishing.
"Back then the approach was to take a dozen eggs, throw them all against the wall, and the one that doesn't break is a tough egg," Hepner told Insider. "That was for the players we had then, but the game's style and the scheme were where only the big, tough, hard-nose guys could survive that style of approach."
Over the last 10 years, Hepner says, NFL teams have slowly started to gravitate toward practices that preserve player health. Using workload analytics has become central to the majority of NFL training regimens.
"Now we have a new generation of players and the game demands a change," Hepner said. "The competitive advantage has been a driving force in it ... it's all about 'can we win football games by building players a certain way?"
Still, that's not the case for every team. The New England Patriots under head coach Bill Belichick, and other teams who've been led by former Patriots assistant coaches, are known to punish players by making them run laps and do push-ups if they make mistakes in practice, regardless of workload.
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The Rams measure players' workload down to their number of steps per day
The Rams' commitment to workload management involves tracking each rep they do in the training room and every play they get in practice and games, according to Scott. But it goes even deeper than that as they even use GPS technology to track how many steps every player takes per day, which they've been doing since they followed the Premier League's practices in 2012.
Rams head physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache says effectively tracking steps is critical to measuring a players' workload, as walking takes a bigger physical toll than most people realize while they're doing it.
"All that stuff needs to be anticipated and planned out ahead of time," ElAttrache told Insider. "If you know exactly what these guys are doing every day, and you know what it takes for them to accomplish something in practice ... there's some necessary stuff during the day that they have to be involved in, but it's unnecessary to do some of the things that you might never even think of."
Scott said that step overload often factors into the team's decision to cancel workouts and practice sessions.
Read the original article on Insider