Pre-season is a critical period for football teams. It's a time when players shake off the rust, build up their fitness, and prepare for the relentless season ahead. Coaches and performance staff use this period to assess players' physical conditioning and tailor training for the upcoming season. More recently, teams have adopted GPS technology to help guide, plan, develop and protect their players. This blog post explores the vital role of GPS in modern football pre-seasons, highlighting its benefits and applications.


Monitoring Physical Metrics

GPS technology allows coaches to track various physical metrics during training sessions and games. These include vital metrics such as distance covered, speed, acceleration, and deceleration. By analysing this data, coaches can gain a better insight into each player's fitness levels and identify areas for improvement.

Distance Covered: Tracking how much ground a player covers helps us understand their stamina and endurance and gives us insight into how they play.

Acceleration & Deceleration: Measuring these metrics provides insights into a player's explosiveness and agility. Again, these metrics give insight into a training session's intensity and physical demands.

Speed Zones: Distance covered at specific thresholds shows a player's ability to repeatedly cover ground at higher speeds.


Reduce Injury Risk

In football, injuries cannot be prevented. However, we can reduce the likelihood of them occurring. One of the significant benefits of GPS tracking is monitoring players' workloads. Coaches can then ensure they are not under/overtraining, a common cause of certain types of injury. GPS data helps identify when a player is at risk of injury due to excessive physical strain over a more extended period or in isolation.

Workload Management: GPS data can highlight when a player is fatigued, allowing for the strategic implementation of load management and recovery periods.

Spikes in Physical load: Significant changes in training load that an athlete is not prepared for can also lead to an increased risk of injury. By understanding what a player is capable of, we can plan training to suit players and squads.


Position-specific Training

GPS technology provides insight into the movements and activities of players in different positions. This enables coaches to tailor training sessions to the specific needs of each position, enhancing overall team performance. No teams are the same, and styles of play/individual players will have an impact on training metrics, but generally, the following positions differ as such;

Full backs: More high-speed running, greater total distance, longer average sprint distance

Centre backs: Generally shorter sprints, less total distance, more lateral movement

Midfielders: More total distance, more high-speed running distance, high mechanical load

Forwards: More accelerations, high top speeds


Customising Training Loads

Every player is different, and GPS technology allows for customising training loads to suit individual needs. This ensures that each player trains optimally, maximising gains while minimising the risk of burnout or injury.

Personalised Drills: GPS data can identify specific areas where a player needs improvement, allowing for targeted drills.

Recovery Protocols: Post-training and post-match recovery can be optimised based on the data provided by GPS units.


Daily Feedback

One of the most valuable aspects of GPS technology is the ability to provide feedback immediately after training sessions. Coaches can plan and adjust the upcoming training week/schedule based on the data provided.

The integration of GPS technology has transformed how teams prepare for the season. The benefits are priceless: GPS enhances player performance, reduces injury risk, and improves training efficiency. As technology continues to evolve, GPS in football is becoming increasingly popular across the non-league pyramid and is no longer a tool for the elite.

To learn more about PitcheroGPS for your team, click here.


About the Author

Ben is a performance coach who has worked in professional sport for 15 years. He has a Masters in Strength and Conditioning and has experience working across all levels of football from non-league with FC Halifax Town, EFL with Bradford City and more recently in the Premier League with both Manchester City and Liverpool.

Ben currently works with Huddersfield Town alongside working privately with professional footballers, providing them with regular performance support and coaching. He has recently joined PitcheroGPS as performance director to help provide football teams with expert support when using PitcheroGPS Player Trackers.