Grassroots to International Hockey

Using a GPS Player Vest in Hockey

A GPS Player Vest for semi-professional and amateur hockey players is here.

In this guide to using GPS trackers for hockey, we answer:

* How do GPS trackers work for hockey?

* What performance stats are collected?

* How can you interpret the data?


Accurate analysis for any hockey player is nearer than you think. Find out how far your centre-forward ran. Or, if your goalkeeper is on course with her injury comeback.

How do GPS trackers work for hockey?

Global Positioning System (GPS) is used in all walks of life from maps in our cars to fitness watches.

It can pinpoint our current location and track our movement.

The use of GPS in team sports like hockey is a step further. It can also be more accurate than consumer wearables.

Everything begins with a GPS tracker. This is a small device that collects data for review on a phone or computer.

Our PitcheroGPS tracker is lightweight at only 37g. A 100Hz accelerometer ensures all movements are logged. It can be charged in 30-45 minutes. There’s unlimited storage and the unit is water-resistant.

Hockey players wear a GPS vest with a GPS tracker in it. The tracker sits between the shoulder blades and doesn’t affect movement. The vest fits the body to keep the tracker in place.

What performance metrics do GPS trackers collect?

Hockey teams can gather personalised data for every player.

As a coaching tool, it’s invaluable. Understand performance and where improvements can be made.

This is scientifically tested tech with pinpoint precision.

Here’s what a PitcheroGPS tracker records - and how to use the results to improve your hockey.

Total Distance

Knowing how far a hockey player moves has many uses.

First, teams will benchmark their performances. It shows what squads are capable of at a moment in time, usually pre-season.

Assessing the total distance for each player will highlight stamina, fatigue levels and effort in sessions.

On its own, recording distance is an indicator of match fitness. You want your team to finish strong until the last minute.

It also helps to build a picture of a player’s capabilities. How do they train and perform in matches over months?

The GPS data may highlight certain questions. Coaches have the data to refer to whenever they need it.

Total Active Time

Tracking ‘total active time’ will show the duration of exercise.

Of course, being active is not the same as a physically demanding session.

But, it’s a record of every session. Coaches can balance how hard to push the squad.

They can view historic data and assess what individuals or the group need in future.

Has your centre forward been training too little?

Top Speed

Recording top speed is a popular metric to improve performance.

Who is the quickest player in your hockey team?

A GPS track can settle that debate. It also encourages competition within squads.

In all sports, speed matters. 

It could mean a crucial tackle. Or reaching the ball first to score.

Clubs using PitcheroGPS tell us that players really want to know their GPS data.

How did they get on? How did they compare to team-mates? 

Healthy competition can push up standards. We also have our #HERO Speed Challenge to compare your speed across the world!

High Speed Running

High speed running is an asset in any sport. Get to know your levels of intensity in hockey training and matches.

With PitcheroGPS, you can view types of activity: standing, walking, jogging or sprinting.

The web app will also display the amount of time doing each.

Speed workouts help you become faster over time. They’ll build stamina too by increasing aerobic capacity.

Hockey coaches can set up ‘custom speed zones’ for their team. These are ranges of speeds based on player age and ability.

In the PitcheroGPS web app, you can set:

* The name of each speed zone

* The value of each banding 

* You can create up to 8 speed bands

Accelerations / Decelerations

Speed for hockey players is more than just being the fastest.

How quickly you speed up and slow down can be just as powerful.

It might be defending a corner or sprinting into the 16-yard area. That explosion of power in the first few seconds matters.

Knowing how a winger or right-back accelerates is just the start. It can be worked on in practice.

Hockey is a very stop-start sport with penalty corners, restarts and pushbacks.

Speed from a standing start is a subtle advantage. Likewise, changes in pace can win you many battles before the final whistle. 

Accelerations and decelerations are also important to monitor player fatigue and injury risk.

Positioning Heatmaps

What are your movements across a hockey pitch in a match?

Heatmaps are a simple visual aid from dark red (more time in a certain area) to green for less or no time.

It’s another example where a GPS vest for hockey can be a competitive edge over rivals.

For coaches, heatmaps will show if tactics and game plans are being followed.

How does your team react offensively or defensively?

Injury Prevention

Whether a player is going through rehab or teams are keeping themselves fit, GPS can play its part.

Preventing injuries in hockey comes from knowing what every player can do.

Once you have that background with a GPS tracker, you can continually review.

'Training load’ is a term that encompasses how much exercise a player does and how strenuous that was.

It's one of the ways coaches and physios can monitor player health.

Impacts

Measuring impacts is another benefit of using PitcheroGPS.

Players can see the number of times they had an 'impact' - i.e.) involved in a heavy collision.

While hockey isn’t the same as football or rugby, contact is inevitable. That could be heads or bodies striking each other.

Our GPS tracker shows how hard and often a player is hit.

The coach can decide the safe limits beforehand. The tracker will log any times where the g-force exceeds that.

What counts as an impact can be adjusted for age groups.

It demonstrates player welfare is taken seriously. Club coaches can use data like impacts for when players should rest. Or, it might prompt lighter training to lessen injury risk.

How PitcheroGPS can help your hockey club

Clubs (like Cambridge RFU and West Bromwich Albion Women) are using PitcheroGPS to aid performances and cut down the risk of injuries.

An asset for one team or multiple squads.

Using PitcheroGPS is all about optimising performances. Personalised data whenever you need it.

Mansfield Town FC's Academy coaches review the GPS player data weekly. They can then modify training for the group or certain players.

Cambridge RUFC told us what they think

We’ve found using the PitcheroGPS has been massively beneficial for us as a club. It’s cost-effective compared to other brands that are currently available. It’s something I would recommend to any clubs at our level, the National Leagues below and community clubs to purchase.

Which is the best GPS tracker for hockey?

The answer lies in the features, price and feedback from clubs. The best product will aim to combine all of these.

Our GPS system has been rigorously tested by coaches. You don’t need a PhD to understand your team metrics.

No confusion or complexity, just absolute pinpoint accuracy.

Cameron Wilson is the Strength and Conditioning Coach of West Bromwich Albion Women’s FC. 

His feedback was: ‘The PitcheroGPS system is brilliant. It’s one that us, as coaches, understand really well. The players understand it well too. It uploads really quickly, it’s easy, it’s a really good system to use.’

The PitcheroGPS Team Bundle includes:

* 20 x GPS Player Trackers

* 20 x Player Vests

* 1 x Carry Case (Includes charging and data transfer)

* 1 x 2-yr Software Subscription

Register for Priority Access

Are you a hockey club, academy, school, college or university?

Register your interest to find out about the new PitcheroGPS Team Bundle.

You will be the first to be notified when the new GPS Team Bundle becomes available in 2023.

LAUNCHING July 2023

GPS Team Bundle

Original Team Bundle

Approved by FIFA & World Rugby

Launched in 2021, the original PitcheroGPS Player Vest is approved by FIFA and quickly sold out to football and rugby customers across the UK.