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Player Analytics boost for T&T Sport

Published: 
Sunday, April 29, 2018
Shaun Fuentes

Sport has a unique way to capture the imagination. Week in, week out, the performances and exploits of athletes and teams leave us in awe. But there is a lot more that is not readily accessible to the average fan that is also exceptional so technologically fascinating, it has changed the way athletes prepare for the sport.

Analytics is playing a very big role in making correct decisions by taking data into consideration. Analytics in sports is divided into three broad areas. Analytics in player and game performance; Business Analytics in sports and Player health and injury analytics.

Player health and Player performance deal with data that focus on selecting the best possible players or athletes and injury prevention or assessment in terms of recovery time. The business part entails ticket pricing, social media and fan engagement.

Today, I will address the physical side because the GPS and Heart Rate Monitoring system is now used by some of the best football clubs, athletes and other sporting teams in the world and has been adopted by our national men’s football team head coach Dennis Lawrence.

In competitive sport, a minute or a few seconds can change the course of a game. Data within a sports organisation normally consisted of player and team summaries, performance statistics, video-clips, etc. but now the data comes from many varied sources that have grown tremendously in the past few years. The explosion of sports science has made the health and nutrition tracking of the players much more sophisticated.

The APEX / Viper System is regarded as the worlds leading player performance analysis system available on the market and is now available in T&T through Advance Data Sports. It allows coaches to manage squad training loads from preseason right through the entire season to effectively manage player conditioning levels and preventing injuries. There are player tracking devices that capture metrics both on-field or while training in real-time that provides timely insights and bespoke training plans.

Such technologies have been instrumental in reducing the number of possible player injuries, better strategy formulation, and performance enhancement. These devices are products of advanced embedded technologies, cloud services, and powerful processors. We’ve noticed players wearing black vests that look like sports bras. Situated at the back of these vests are tiny pods can tell what g-force a player experiences, skin temperature along with respiratory and fatigue levels - all in real-time.

The array of sensors packed into it is truly astonishing. They include 3-D gyroscopes, 3-D accelerometer, 3-D compass, heart rate monitors, long-range radios and GPS. But it is the software developed to translate the data into usable information that is the real advance. The data being pumped out covers a huge range of metrics. Distance covered, meters per minute, acceleration and deceleration rate, impact, maximum heart rate, energy expenditure, step balance, dynamic stress loads, average metabolic power and top speed to name but a few.

The number of sprints a player makes in training can be a key factor in a coach deciding if a player is fresh for a game. The software takes advantage of the aerial perspective offered by GPS, showing the area that is covered by the positioning of the back three.The software offers real tactical analysis. This makes the wearable tech not just a strength and conditioning tool but also an aid to all the coaching staff.

The pod can also tell the coaching staff the weight being loaded onto each of a player's legs. If there is a 10-15% differential between the two it could indicate that a player is suffering from a minor issue and prevent an injury. Some of the teams using this system now include Barcelona, Real Madrid, Juventus Bayern Munich, Cricket Australia, IPL cricket teams, Irish National Rugby Teams, New Zealand and South Africa Rugby Teams, Manchester United, Man City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, English FA, Portugal FA, US Soccer and MLS clubs, Irish Hockey and the Michael Johnson Performance Centre. It is certainly being seen as the way to go and local sports could well be advised to give it a try.

 

EDITOR'S NOTE

Shaun Fuentes is a media trainer, coaching athletes how to present themselves before cameras and how to handle the microphone. He was a FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa He also serves as a Concacaf Events Media operations officer. He can also introduce you to getting access to the GPS and Heart Rate Monitoring system at a reasonable rate on local turf. [email protected].

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