GPS Devices Used for PSG Soccer Training

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The parade of new uses for tracking with GPS devices continues. We’ve seen it used in law enforcement, company and city vehicle monitoring, and even in keeping tabs on endangered species in the wild. This month, a prominent European soccer coach told reporters that he plans to use GPS tracking devices to keep a very close eye on what his players are doing during training. With the detailed location data that trackers can provide in real time, they could gain a footing among sports teams of all kinds to increase the effectiveness of training routines.

Carlo Ancelotti, formerly in charge of the high-performing Chelsea soccer team, is now starting his first season as coach for the French team Paris Saint-Germain. He brings with him a number of training techniques that exert very close control over the players’ lives. One of those is a strict monitoring of diet, making sure that everything the players eat is contributing to improvement of their performance on the field. Another factor is the use of GPS devices to keep detailed information on exactly what goes on with individual players during training sessions.

By fitting the players with GPS devices, Ancelotti gathers data on their activities in real time during training exercises. He uses the information to customize schedules to perfectly fit each player’s needs, and also checks to make sure that they are not overexerting themselves—a problem that could lead to injury. The GPS training tool is one that Ancelotti has used and improved with his previous Chelsea team in England, and looks forward to applying to his new PSG team.

If any team is well equipped to function as a pioneer in the use of new (and costly) technological tools, it’s PSG. The team is noted for its unusually well funded budget; it has spent $116 million on players so far this season, and is not finished trying to sign new players. The new coach anticipates his team will stay in first place in its league, helped by his new diet and training techniques. GPS devices are still relatively expensive, but if coach Ancelotti’s experiment pays off, other teams may be willing to spend the money to start their own GPS-assisted training programs.

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Mark Rummel

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