Soccer Locker Review – PLAYERTEK GPS Performance Tracking For Soccer Players
National Soccer Coaches Association of America Recap of The Best of 2016 NSCAA Show:
A look at the top new products for the soccer market – With more than 300 exhibitors covering 600,000 square feet at NSCAA, this was The Largest Soccer Trade Show in North America. SoccerToday Soccer Locker Review picks the best of the show. Here is a close up look at how technology is changing our world and the way we can train youth and professional soccer players.
PLAYERTEK – The world’s first GPS sports tracker designed exclusively for soccer players. You can now measure and analyze every detail of your play – packed with sensors, you can compare your own individual stats against your favorite professional soccer stars.
What is this? The GPS system includes a PLAYERTEK Pod, a base-layer garment with a pocket on the back to hold the pod and a micro USB cable to charge and sync the device. Professional grade sensors within the Pod make almost 2500 measurements every second and track a player’s every movement on the pitch. The sensors include a sophisticated GPS module that measures the speed and position ten times a second and a set of 3D sensors that measure every impact, force, twist and turn
Diane Scavuzzo: How was the 2016 NSCAA soccer convention for you? For people in soccer, NSCAA is like a candy store of amazing treats. Did you enjoy last week in Baltimore?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: Yes. It was really great, there are few – if any other events – that bring so many coaches into one location. We meet so many wonderful people who take soccer seriously and who also have a great outlook on life and coaching.
Diane Scavuzzo: How does PLAYERTEK help soccer players?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: PLAYERTEK helps players improve their physical performance by providing a simple, direct way to get detailed feedback on the volume of physical work and the intensity of a soccer player’s performance.
We let people understand their performance and how to improve it, using the same sophisticated approach that professional players use – but in an intuitive and understandable way.
Understanding the character and demands of the game of soccer — how playing the game affects each player individually, allows coaches to prepare their squad for optimal performance, and to get the most enjoyment from their football — and, of course to win more!
Diane Scavuzzo: What inspired you to design PLAYERTEK? What is your background?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: As founders, we — Kevin McDaid and myself — have enjoyed several years of work with elite soccer teams across the UK and in Europe. We noticed that elite clubs had access to GPS tracking tools but that there was nothing available for everyone else.
Why shouldn’t all footballers have something to help them?
Diane Scavuzzo: Why should a youth soccer club work with PLAYERTEK?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: We are now working with a wide range of youth soccer players and soccer clubs, from amateurs and grass roots right up to premiership and internationals.
By using PLAYERTEK, a club gets the opportunity to ensure that all players have the fullest opportunity to be prepared, to be in the best possible shape and PLAYERTEK allows coaches to understand exactly how each player can and should perform, giving them a unique insight to team management and drill design.
We set out to create a system that would be accessible to soccer players at all levels and with enough depth to work for professional soccer players. PLAYERTEK is now used at all levels of professional football in England and by teams across Europe and the increasingly across the world.
Diane Scavuzzo: How do you track power players and what exactly is a Power Play?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: A Power Play is when a player’s movement produces more than 20 watts per kg of body weight — in plain English, that means that the player has produced a sudden burst of speed.
The metric is calculated based on the relationship between power generated by a player and the player’s acceleration. We measure the acceleration very accurately, using advanced GPS and other sensors that measure 400 times every second in 9 different axis.
Once we know the acceleration, we can measure the player’s power output.
When the user inputs their weight we can also calculate the energy burned very accurately. This type of metric contrasts nicely with measurements like Distance — it helps provide a more complete view of the work on the soccer pitch.
Diane Scavuzzo: How can you compare work ratios of different players?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: The most common way is to compare the Total Distance run by each player, but this doesn’t tell you enough. It is much more interesting to compare the Player’s Sprint Distance and the number of Power Plays. This detailed information provides soccer coaches with a deeper insight into the actual performances of his or her soccer players. For example, speed is tracked every 0.1 seconds and the system can provide a 5 minute breakdown.
There are a couple of things that we have found interesting: firstly developing players vary in performance much more than elite players. That tells us that performance tracking has great value in younger and developing squads.
And, its during the development phase of a player’s career that they really need to develop good habits, good conditioning and practice routines that will serve them well over time.
Secondly, soccer coaches often get into debates on the right balance between intensity and overall workload in practice, especially in the build up to big games.
This is a key issue for many high level soccer coaches, and it can only be answered well for each squad by really understanding the demands placed-on each player in a game. The five-minute break down provided by PLAYERTEK shows how players respond to these demands and allows players to focus on drills that will genuinely improve their performance.
Diane Scavuzzo: How affordable is this new tracking system?
Ronan Mac Ruairi: It was important for us that the system was affordable by as wide a range of players as possible, our standard pricing is $395 per pod. This is the same for individual players, cubs, schools, professional and university’s. We also have a time limited offer of a 6 pod system for $1,500 to allow clubs to get started and ease themselves into performance tracking without breaking the bank.
The software is online and can be accessed from both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac computers and smart phones.