The use of GPS in Sport

Metrifit Athlete Monitoring Software

As many of our previous articles have reported, sport science is rapidly changing the way sport is played and the level to which athletes are performing at. One of the most popular and effective examples of this is the use of Global Positioning System Technology (GPS) in sport. GPS technology offers good precision in performance analysis through position and velocity of motion. It is widely being incorporated into the training regimes of individual athletes and teams alike. This report will review the process used in integrating GPS technology into athletic training and how effective it is. blog 25 image

GPS technology is a relatively recent phenomenon in terms of athletic performance. It is used in a wide range of sports and is very prominent in team sports such as football, rugby, GAA and American Football. Although an expensive tool, it can be precise, technical, and provides athletes & coaches extra insights and data with which to tailor training programmes, assess in-game performance and evaluate work-rate and physical exertion. It is important to understand how this type of technology works and what it is capable of.

Global positioning system (GPS) technology was made possible after the invention of the atomic clock. The first suggestion that GPS could be used to assess the physical activity of humans followed some 40 years later. The ability of GPS to locate position has numerous applications in sport and there are now hundreds of products aimed at sports ranging from running to paragliding. Recently there has been a drive by coaches to track players’ movements during competition, particularly in team sports such as soccer and rugby. The development of semi-automated tracking systems provides coaches with a breakdown of distances covered and speeds attained. Using GPS has become a popular option; it can be used to track the speed and distance of an individual without the rigidity of other tracking systems. Moreover, GPS equipment is portable, has the potential to provide real-time data and is reasonably accurate.

Going into more depth than just looking at distance and speed, global positioning systems have also been applied to detect fatigue in matches, identify periods of most intense play, different activity profiles by position, competition level, and sport. More recent research has integrated GPS data with the physical capacity or fitness test score of athletes, game-specific tasks, or tactical or strategic information. Other performance factors like the force of hits a player suffers, fatigue over a period of time, strength and conditioning results can suddenly be quantified. And within all this data is the means to possibly prevent, or at least delay, player injuries in the future. Along with these performance factors, there is also the idea that the GPS can be used for health benefits for the players. In this respect, the GPS technology can benefit player welfare. More recent research has integrated GPS data with the physical capacity or fitness test score of athletes, game-specific tasks, or tactical or strategic information.

Indeed, some of the biggest sports clubs across the globe utilise this technology in an attempt to boost their team’s performance on the field. For example, Manchester United were the “pioneers” of GPS technology in the Premiership, they first introduced to GPS technology in early 2010. During that year, Manchester United had the lowest injury rates in the English Premier league. According to the coaching staff, the technology was an exciting addition to their already impressive training programming and facilities.

However, as this is such a new technology, there are still refinements that can be added to the system. The future of GPS analysis will involve further miniaturization of devices, longer battery life, and integration of other inertial sensor data to more effectively quantify the effort of athletes. Indeed, it must be remembered by practitioners of this activity that measurements of distance and speed may be consistently underestimated, regardless of the movements performed. Research has proven that the accuracy of these devices is not 100% reliable. Indeed, this assumption is the same for court-based sports along with traditional field sports.

Either way, GPS technology will have a big say in the future of elite sport. With all this information, it is clear that GPS is a tool that sport scientists will continue to use in their efforts to boost player performance.

About Metrifit

Metrifit is an athlete monitoring system that gathers subjective and objective information from both coaches and athletes to drive behavior modification and improvement through insights modeled on descriptive and predictive analytics. It sounds complicated but Metrifit prides itself on its simple intuitive interface and advocates a simple effective approach that doesn’t overwhelm the athlete or the coaching/staff member. It has received high praise for its intuitive interface and it allows monitoring to be scaled for all levels of athletes and teams. Recent research by Anna Saw (Deakin University, Australia) has shown that use of Metrifit is associated with increased athlete sporting self-confidence
Metrifit provides a perfect platform for athlete monitoring and development and collects data over multiple modules ensuring that all aspects of the athlete are taken into consideration. Our ethos is ‘simple but effective’ and our suite of products are parameter driven and easily customizable and configurable for different clients as required. Metrifit is ‘athlete-centric’ helping to develop self-awareness, encourage creative thinking and emotional intelligence as well as developing ownership and responsibility within the athlete for their own success.
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