GPS technology tracks a player movements and breaks down distances covered, speeds attained, and workloads during practice and competition. Several key running and performance metrics are provided in SPT’s GameTraka software which were outlined in a previous blog. Here, we want to provide a quick introduction to how GPS technology can be used in sport.
Let’s start with the Big Picture and the why of using GPS technology in sport – performance, injury prevention and health of the athlete. We want our athletes to be in top physical condition, stay injury free and be 100% for game day. GPS technology offers objective data to make better decisions about practice, conditioning, and player health – and ultimately, performance. By quantifying and monitoring the distances, speeds and overall workload of individual athletes and the team as a whole, GPS technology allows the coaching and training staff more precise insight into game performance and allows for the tailoring of training and recovery programs.
Let’s take a further look at ways GPS technology is being used in sport.
Understanding game demands.
You’ve watched your sport thousands of times but do you know – the total distance covered by certain positions? how many sprints? how much distance is spent jogging? sprinting? GPS can uncover the actual physical requirements of your athletes. And furthermore, this information can be segmented by period (1st quarter, etc.) to glean insights into strategy, fatigue and more. This added information that goes beyond the total time played or total number of plays can provide deeper context into what happens during the course of a game.
Designing practices and conditioning programs that reflect game demands.
Once competition demands are known, coaches can devise practice and conditioning plans to prepare athletes to meet the demands of game day. Quite simply, the aim of practice and training is to ensure athletes are in peak condition for competition. So, stop guessing and start measuring!
Assessment and management of weekly training load.
The current sports science buzz term is ‘training load’. Think about a common question asked by coaches and athletes – ‘how hard was practice’? Instead of a subjective rating or feeling, coaches can be provided “hard” GPS numbers like Intensity or Hard Running. By examining these metrics on a daily and weekly basis, coaches can better monitor athlete work load, effort, and fatigue.
Player trends and comparisons.
Using historical data across a period of time, coaches can examine trends in performance and effort. And, also compare an athlete to another athlete or to the rest of a position group or the team?