Real Time Player Monitoring Used By Over Two-Thirds of EPL Teams
Ask a busy coach or performance specialist if they would like to learn a new technology system for their athletes and they’ll probably tell you that they do just fine with what they have. Instead, if they were asked if they would like to be able to predict athletic injuries before they occur or which players will under perform in the next game, most coaches would jump at the chance to gain that competitive edge.
In fact, 14 of the 20 teams in the English Premier League, including champions Manchester United, use this type of wearable, mobile technology to monitor their players’ performance data. What started as simple GPS tracking of distance travelled and speed of movement has now expanded to include a full set of training data that can be monitored for trends, spikes and dips over time in search of clues to future performance.
Last week, on a BBC Horizon special appropriately titled “Monitor Me”, Dr. Kevin Fong, a physician and specialist on the effects of extreme environments on humans, observed how the England Rugby Sevens team uses a real-time player monitoring system that includes not only a GPS but also a 3D accelerometer for movement and direction, a 3D magnetometer (compass), a 3D gyroscope, to measure twists and turns, a long-range radio and a heart-rate receiver.
Brett Davison, head of physical performance for the England Sevens, recently reported that using the system, from Irish company StatSports, has helped the team reduce soft tissue injuries by over 80 percent.
“Most coaches have periodised training, this means that they have every session planned out in blocks of usually six weeks,” Davison told the Independent. “They can use the GPS to find out if they achieved what they set out to, even down to individual drills. If a coach wants something done at match intensity and it doesn’t work out that way, they can change accordingly.”
In the Monitor Me series (see clip here), Davison describes what he can see from his laptop on the field which is receiving data from the small devices worn by each player. Basic data like speed, distance travelled and heart rate are combined with more advanced metrics including dynamic stress load for accelerations and decelerations, the distance they’ve run at top speed, and average metabolic power.
Joining this mobile monitoring revolution has become the “next big thing” among athletic fitness companies. Not to be outdone by start-up tech companies, heavyweights like Nike, Adidas and Under Armour are rolling out devices that sync to both their own software as well as more complete athlete monitoring systems like Metrifit.
Recently, Adidas demonstrated their miCoach system to representatives of Major League Soccer teams at Athletes Performance in Phoenix. Similar to the SportStat system, players wear a small sensor that transmit real-time data to a wireless data hub. The key to all of these systems is collecting data over many training sessions and, in the ideal scenario, over years of a player’s development to see the growth and signature of each player’s fitness.
“With this technology, you can back every single decision by data, which is collected over a long time period,” said Jan Mueller, Adidas global category manager, said in a recent Health2Fit.com interview. “We’re not talking about one training session where you collect a certain amount of data. It’s getting more and more interesting if you collect data over one month, over seasons and maybe even over careers.”
Kevin Miller, head fitness coach for the Philadelphia Union agrees, “So instead of guessing how an athlete is responding to a training session, you get real data. At the end of a session you’re able to pull up the results, work with the coach and then you can use that to base your next training session.”
While each of these technology vendors would like athletes to use only their solution, they understand the reality is a need to co-exist and feed data into other systems that consolidate all performance and lifestyle information. By using Metrifit’s Athlete Monitoring System, teams can input data from multiple data tracking devices while adding the other essential factors of nutrition, sleep, attitude and training plans.
The power of data analytics in athlete performance is starting to get very interesting. As Brett Davison told Dr. Wong, “Sometimes we know things about them that they don’t know. We generally can pick up illness (in players) 24 hours before they begin to feel ill. Your body is not going to lie.” As the world’s elite teams have learned, the time is now to join the next generation of player performance.
Metrifit is an athlete monitoring system that gathers subjective and objective information from both coaches and athletes in a simple but effective manner with intelligent visualization helping coaches and athletes to act on that data. Why not have a look at our Ready to Perform product and gain insight on the physical and mental state of your athletes through our daily wellbeing questionnaire? To find out more visit our Metrifit Product Overview page or get in touch for a free demo.
Director of Strength & Conditioning and Head Strength Coach Men’s basketball, University of Wisconsin
"When COVID altered college athletics as we knew it, Metrifit came to the rescue. This intuitive athlete monitoring, health and well-being system provides the athlete, coach, and sports medicine staff a way to monitor and balance the physical, emotional, health and well-being of our athlete’s. Metrifit provided that calm in the middle of the perfect storm for our entire athletic department for the future. Thank you to the entire Metrifit family for assisting our department with a seamless process."
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