Getting the Most from GPS Monitoring

An insight into best use of GPS Monitoring – Part 1

Like most involved in performance I’m always looking towards continuous improvement in terms of coaching and all skills allied with helping players perform at higher levels and enjoy a lower injury risk. Part of ongoing development as a coach is swapping an sharing experiences, methods, concepts and philosophies with other coaches. I’m fortunate that in the course of my work with VX SPORT™ I meet a wide cross-section of coaches around Europe. The most common question I am asked revolves around the monitoring of players and what exactly is best-practice in this regard. Questions range from what to monitor, why to monitor, how to ‘read’ the data, what to do with the data and so on. Having used VX SPORT™ monitoring equipment for the past 5-6 years I guess I have some good ideas on how to get the very best from your investment.

Much of this wisdom did not have it’s genesis in my head though – it was inspired and borne out of long conversations with other coaches over data, reports, graphs etc aimed towards getting better insights into performance and training preparations. It’s only right to share this information and so over the next few articles I’ll share some of the detail into those conversations regarding the monitoring of players/athletes and help answer some of the who, what, when, how, why questions that are most prevalent there amongst the wider coaching community. Like it or not technology and data are not going away…..it’s good to give some thought into just how we can ensure the technology serves us rather than being just ‘toys for the boys’.

So in no particular order (and sometimes in the direct words of other coaches……)

GPS Monitoring – How, why, when, where, who, what………..

  • In short, GPS monitoring can lead towards fact-based decision making. However we must take care to isolate the right issue to investigate i.e. formulate and ask the most pertinent questions first before getting an answer rather than acting on assumptions.
  • Know your sport. The ability to make informed decisions come from the ability to understand what your sport is made up of. What do these players have to be ready for? Be this weekly loads, game loads and season schedules.
  • The reporting and data we create is in effect raw material for pattern recognition – we must learn to ‘read’ the data in order to identify these patterns
  • Relative monitoring. The ability to monitor everyone to their relative capacity. Very important with ref. to longitudinal loading and return-to-play approaches. It’s popular that players and coaches might want to see the absolute ‘me vs the team’ but I would reason that ‘me vs myself’ is more important.
  • You need to be ready – ready to disagree with what you once thought was absolutely right! Question you assumptions.
  • In the past I have spoken about the ‘5i’s’ process to monitoring that is manifest in the Match-Fit “Ready to Perform” program…..I was wrong!!. There’s actually a 6th ‘i’ that gets forgotten – Involve. When we gather our insights we then need to Involve the wider performance team in terms of sharing our findings and then formulating a multi-disciplinary approach to the issue or opportunity identified……the power of the collective is always stronger.
  • How you report your data and insights to players and coaches is paramount – everyone needs to be able to work with the insights so they become ‘need to have’ as opposed to ‘nice to have’

More over the coming days………………..

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Paul Clarke

Since 2002 Paul has developed a reputation for expertise in the vital performance-related areas of coaching, S&C, sports science and performance analysis. Teams, clubs, organisations, coaches and players from Ireland, UK, Europe and beyond have benefitted from the insights offered by the Match-Fit business as a result of the tailored and customised approach taken to creating a performance solution specific to each client. Through keeping performance and the player at the heart of all solutions, Match-Fit clients have realised that the solutions delivered not only benefit competitive performance but also the club/organisation as a complete sporting business entity.

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