What is a GPS Vest? - An innovative device used to monitor player performance
What is a gps vest?
Are these really sports bras?
The only answer is NO!
Officially called "GPS Vests", these are innovative fitness trackers developed by wearable tech giant Catapult Sports and now premiering from grassroots sport specialists PitcheroGPS. This ultimate fitness vest measures the distance covered by the player, top speed, sprint distance and total sprint; it then compares your stats with the pros. Players wear these GPS vests during practice and during games to monitor and measure their performance on the field.
What do these GPS Vests do?
These GPS vests might look like sports bras, but they are much more.
The vest is designed to hold a pod with 10Hz GPS, accelerometer and magnetometer between the shoulder blades. These GPS devices can record more than 1250 data per second to measure athletes' load and effort, allowing athletes and coaches to track total distance, top speed, number of sprints, sprint distance, power, load, intensity and more.
Can a GPS tracker vest improve a player's performance?
Players can see real-time data on their phones or smartwatches, so they can immediately see if there is an improvement in their speed and distance metrics.
These critical metrics displayed in one app are used by athletes, sports scientists, physical therapists, strength and conditioning coaches and anyone involved in sports to understand if their teams are performing optimally on match day. These vests have the outstanding feature of a "heat map". It helps players see how they expend energy on the field, which can help them tactically position themselves to impact the game in the right areas. You can also compare a player's first and second-half stats to see if they underperform late in the game. The most common data collected is:
- Average Running Speed
- Total Run Length (High Tempo)
- Total Distance Travelled
- Average Acceleration Time
- Average Deceleration Time
- Total Sprint Distance
- Location on the Pitch
- G-Force/Impact Data
How do GPS Vests prevent injury in sports?
Football GPS trackers are at the forefront of the sport.
Fitness departments at elite clubs are now full of physiological information to ensure players maximise their performance and reduce the risk of injury since the greater the intensity, the greater the risk of injury.
Tracking results over days, weeks and months help athletes and individual trainers to train regularly and understand the demands required for each session - basically, how much you train and align performance with your goals.
For example, if you do 20 sprints instead of the usual 15 in pre-race training, there is a greater risk of stress. PitcherO’s GPS trackers and the data they collect serve various purposes, one of which is injury prevention. By tracking the distance, a player runs, the coaching staff can determine if the player is ready for the next game or could benefit from rest. Coaches can now predict and prevent player injuries by tracking these patterns of captured GPS metrics and make informed decisions knowing if their players are overtraining, needing rest, or at their best.
Sports that use GPS Vests
The vests hold the pod in the optimal tracking position to reach the GPS satellites. This ensures that the data is as accurate and reliable as possible. These giant money sports employ countless data analysts who collect data on behaviour, tactics and fitness. The GPS tracker vest gauges the records of athletes. It even determines how often players shoot with one foot or the other.
The statistics obtained with these trackers determine the team tactics even. For instance, while stats have convinced NBA teams to try more 3-pointers, stats have also convinced many players to attempt fewer long shots because they rarely connect. "If you look at any league in the world, 10 years ago, players were shooting further," a data analyst for Major League Soccer recently told Nature. "It all happened because the data analysts said, 'Why are you shooting from there?' There is only a 2% chance of scoring!
Consultants collect statistics on how quickly players complete passes. The teams even use AI to play out some game scenarios to see how players would react based on the behaviour of thousands of previous players.
Access to this technology has historically been expensive for most teams, even at the professional level.
However, as technology has advanced, GPS Vests have become more affordable, allowing more teams to implement them in training and player development. In 2023, lower-league clubs will begin to receive the GPS Team Bundle from PitcheroGPS to level up their games.