GPS has become part of our everyday life. We jump in our car, type in the address to the destination and follow the directions. You can thank the U.S. military for not getting you lost. And your tax dollars helped develop the satellite-based radio navigation system or what we call Global Positioning System (GPS).
If you’re a runner perhaps you wear a GPS watch to track the route, distance and speed of your run.
GPS for Team Sports
Unlike jogging at the same pace over a predetermined path, we are coaches, strength & conditioning specialists, and sport scientists. We coach, train and monitor field-based team sports like football, soccer, rugby, lacrosse and field hockey players that sprint, zig-and-zag and collide. More sophisticated GPS technology such as SPT is needed to track players’ movements and break down distances covered and speeds attained during the sporadic, intermittent and chaotic nature of practice and competition.
Beginning in 2010 in Australia and Europe, field-based sports (primarily soccer, rugby and Australian rules football) began using GPS to better understand the movement demands and workloads of athletes. Today, the use of GPS technology continues to rise in popularity, including its widespread use with many Power 5 college football and NFL teams.
What exactly does this GPS device look like?
Similar to a GPS watch worn by a runner, the GPS unit for field-based team sport is a wearable device that fits into a pocket on the upper back of a sports vest. The SPT2 GPS device is the smallest on the market at about 3 inches x 1.5 inches wide and ¼ inch thick – basically fitting in the palm of your hand. And it’s very lightweight (< 1 ounce).
How do I get data and what numbers do I get?
The athlete wears the device during practice and games and data is collected and stored on the GPS device. Our sophisticated technology contains instrumentation including an Inertial Movement Unit, Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Magnetometer. Teams download this data into SPT’s powerful but easy-to-use software called GameTraka.
GameTraka allows you to analyse and dissect the performance of individual athletes and the team on a dashboard. The key metrics include: Total Distance, Speed Zones, Top Speed, Sprint Efforts, Work Rate, Impacts, and Intensity. You can also view the heat-map to determine how much time you spend in particular areas of the field. You can segment performances data into time periods to obtain deeper insights. A more complete discussion of these key metrics and data management will follow in other blogs, or click on our LIVE demo to see for yourself.
Why is GPS tracking important?
Plain and simple, if we aren’t measuring, we’re guessing. 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.