How does the new Skills.Lab at the FC Bayern Campus work?

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After 10 months of construction, FC Bayern Munich opened its new football simulator at the FC Bayern Campus in December 2020. The so-called Skills.Lab is designed in particular to record and evaluate the football-specific parameters of a player on a technical-cognitive basis. "It's already evident in the first few months after commissioning that the Skills.Lab, in conjunction with our Innovation Centre, will make an important contribution to talent management in the future. Both in individualisation and in the area of performance monitoring, Skills.Lab contributes to the systematic development of our player," said board member for sport Hasan Salihamidžić.

Campus director Jochen Sauer added, "With its modern technology, the Skills.Lab is a super addition to normal training. We can use it to collect and evaluate further important performance data on our players and use it for their performance development. It therefore forms an important aspect of the individual training work of each player."

Over 100 different ways of training

Players from the U16s up to the FC Bayern Reserves, as well as the Women's first team, have been training daily in the hexagonal mini stadium since December last year. In the future, all Campus teams from the U12s to the Women's team will be active in the Skills.Lab.

Despite restrictions as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the players can already complete individual drills. In principle, programmes with up to four players at a time are possible on the 320m^2^ artificial turf. They have to solve game situations and tasks that are projected onto screens by five high-performance projectors. Four fully automated ball machines form the heart of the facility, which offers more than 100 different ways of training in five difficulty levels. In the first weeks since commissioning, 20 further drills have already been developed -- all in the areas of passing, ball control, ball handling, shooting, heading and goalkeeping. The duration of training varies from 20 to 60 minutes.

Additional training basics

The Skills.Lab is used in four different ways. All of them aim to contribute to talent development. On the one hand, players are monitored under standardised conditions. On the other, trial players can be screened and therefore compared with your own young players. Special focus is placed on the individual training of players in order to specifically work on their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, Campus residents can use the Skills.Lab in their free time. "It offers an additional fun character for our boys based on the idea of 'better to move yourself than Cristiano Ronaldo on the PlayStation'," said Sauer.

The unique selling point here is that all players are tested under laboratory conditions with identical requirements. This makes the subsequent analysis unique. Data scientists from the Innovation Centre founded by Salihamidžić two years ago evaluate the data collection with state-of-the-art measurement technology. The Skills.Lab was developed by Anton Paar Sports Tec. GmbH from Graz.