The Newest Team Player

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GPS-enabled sports watches and other technologically advanced gadgets are standard equipment for serious athletes, used for tracking and planning training sessions. Now, entire sports teams are getting serious about using technology to optimize training and strategize the game.

The Play

Coaches are using devices like the SPI-PRO X not only in practice but also in the game. Because the device can transmit data from 200 meters away to a coach’s laptop, the coach has more oversight of how the team is working together. It’s like having eyes everywhere on the field. In practice, the unit helps the team establish its training session based on actual training goals, not just time. It creates game scenario simulations and provides objective feedback on the team’s performance while at the same time monitoring an individual player’s efforts. In the game, coaches can better determine the best time to switch out players based on a player’s performance and work rate or even his or her risk of injury. Looking at the accumulated workload also justifies player interchange and helps anticipate needs later in the game. Once all the data is collected, a coach can download it to a web-based interface to start working on the next game.

The Win

Teams from all around the wide world of sports are seeing winning results from the use of GPS technology. The Australian rugby team the Queensland Maroons bought twenty SPI-PRO X units to track its training sessions and to check the workload each player bears throughout a session, which has led to an unbeatable team. In the great rivalry between North Carolina and Duke, North Carolina may have secured an edge with its use of GPS. Chips are actually placed in the players’ uniforms for easy tracking. Coaches use the data to breakdown the time a player spends walking, jogging, sprinting, and standing, which in turn helps the coach pick the strongest team player for each position on the field.

The uses of GPS tracking technology continue to expand into every arena of life, and team sports is no exception. Real-time tracking opens up new opportunities for more professional training. Smarter training and stronger plays mean greater displays of team competitions. Go, team, go!

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Hillary Mayfield

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