How Is GPS Tracking Used In Sport
Elite Athletes Develop Edge With GPS Tech
Athletes understand that the secret to success is nothing more than hard work, and doing everything possible to out-perform the competition. However, when it comes to the top athletes in a sport, having a good coach, workout program, diet, and workout program are all critical to helping an athlete reach higher and higher levels of achievement. But how do athletes know they are getting better, and how can they measure this improved performance? The answer comes in the form of GPS tracking devices for athletes.
Athlete Monitoring Better Than Video Analysis
When it comes to professional sport, performance monitoring is critical in helping athletes not only maximize physical conditioning but also reduce the risk of injury. Although most people are familiar with how strength and conditioning training can boost physical player performance and video analysis can give sports clubs a mental edge, it is GPS technologies that are helping change the game. Here are some of the ways Global Positioning System devices are being used on a daily basis to monitor athletic performance:
- Second-by-second player tracking to oversee training plans
- GPS sport devices provide performance tracking such as how fast a player moves
- Tracks players running speed (distance and speed)
- Determine if a point was scored (court-based sports such as tennis)
- GPS units give strength and conditioning coach information coaches might miss
- Assist head coaches and individual players in athlete management
Coaches and athletes can use GPS data for training load management, fitness test evaluations, and most importantly, providing coaching staff with the most accurate information regarding athlete performance.
GPS Technologies In Team Sports
Ronaldo Kicks Are Parallel To Rocket Launch
One example of how GPS tracking was used in sport was with Portuguese-born soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, probably the most recognizable athlete in the world. The winger, who played for the English Premier League is not only one of the highest-paid athletes in his sport, but he was also named the FIFA World Player of the Year. However, it was not until recently when Castrol Performance Analysis studied Ronaldo’s free-kicks with multiple GPS tracking systems that it was discovered just how talented the soccer player was.
What the GPS tracking data showed was that when Ronaldo blasted a free-kick the ball accelerated over 31m per second. To give people an idea of how fast the Ronaldo kick was, the Apollo 11 take-off was recorded accelerating at over 7m per second in comparison.
Other information gathered from the GPS tracking performance testing was that Ronaldo has less body fat than a supermodel, having only 10% body fat, and during his weight training sessions he lifts the equivalent of nearly 20 small vehicles.
The GPS tracking data also showed that in a single game Ronaldo will run nearly 11km a game, and throughout an entire season he will travel roughly the distance from Madrid to London.
GPS Tracking Soccer Goals
GPS Software Set To Settle Soccer Scores?
From the military and police to businesses and members of the public, GPS tracking technology continues to play a growing role in day-to-day life.
Whether it’s something as simple as a GPS satellite navigation guiding us safely to our destination when driving a vehicle or getting our beloved pets micro-chipped so we know where they are, or helping police to carry out surveillance and gather the evidence needed to crack complex cases, tracking systems are used to solve a wide range of problems.
And now GPS vehicle tracking or monitoring technology is all set to settle one of the longest and loudest arguments in professional sports.
The debate over whether the ball has crossed the line or not has caused controversy in soccer for decades. Jose Mourinho bitterly blamed Chelsea’s 2005 European Cup semi-final defeat against Liverpool on a “ghost goal” scored by Luis Garcia, which television replays were unable to conclusively prove whether it should have been allowed. Even to this day, Geoff Hurst’s decisive third goal in England’s 4-2 triumph over West Germany in the 1966 World Cup final divides two nations over whether the “Russian linesman” (technically he was from Azerbaijan) made the correct call.
But the issue finally came to a head at this summer’s World Cup tournament, when the officials ruled out a crucial Frank Lampard “goal” that was clearly well over the line during England’s 4-1 defeat to Germany. Sepp Blatter, the President of soccer’s governing body FIFA, has been a staunch opponent of using tracking technology, rejecting both a microchip system developed by German firm Cairos in partnership with Adidas and a version of the Hawkeye simulation technology currently used in international cricket and tennis.
As recently as March, FIFA categorically ruled out the need for technology, citing fears over its accuracy, as well as claiming it would be too expensive and impractical to implement at all levels of the sport, from the top professionals right down to the grassroots. But following the Lampard fiasco, even Mr. Blatter admitted it would be “nonsense” not to explore the idea further. And Howard Webb, the experienced English Premier League official and referee of this year’s soccer World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands says he is open-minded to any sort of tracking technology that “makes my job easier, that makes me more credible”.
And it’s not just soccer that is exploring the opportunities provided by such technology. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have spent years perfecting a project that tracks the real-time position of American Football. As well as helping officials to work out which player at the bottom of the pile has recovered a fumble or whether the ball crossed the plane of the goal line, the system can also help coaches devise game strategies and adapt their game plans.
Of course, sport is no stranger to the benefits of tracking systems. The Hawkeye system has been used in international cricket since 2001, originally as an enhancement to television coverage, but since 2008 it has been incorporated into a referral system used by match officials to check calls made on the field of play. And from 2006, an adapted version of Hawkeye was introduced to professional tennis to help umpires and line judges determine whether a ball is in or out.
GPS technology has also become an integral part of the growing influence of sports science on training regimes. Pretty much every professional – as well as many amateur and college – team or athlete, uses tracking systems to get detailed and accurate fitness feedback. The technology gives coaches the chance to measure variables such as heart rates, distance covered or top speeds reached both in real-time and retrospectively, enabling them to monitor performances and change workloads accordingly.
Matthew is a freelance writer who is passionate about technology, music, photography, and decentralized finance.