GPS – Guru Pretender Statistics or Game Predictor Solution?


I’ve fallen head over heels with the GPS unit as well this summer. It’s really helped inform rehab programmes and for once I’ve got quantifiable data to back up my gut feeling and coaching eye. It’s proven really useful, particularly when speaking to coaches about returning to full competition.

-Nick Grantham

We are seeing a lot of GPS and data talk lately, but instead of reading the pop culture statistics books I suggest reading No Easy Day instead of the Other Fields books. I am not sure what Nick Grantham is doing with his GPS unit, but the technology is limited and can’t solve all of the problems. I like that he is using technology and data, but I hope that some of the users will share what they are doing.

Perhaps we will becreating a proprietary algorithm of the arbitrary units to calculate loads of the discotheque at night with the kilometers of club hopping metric would solve the lifestyle problems we see with professional athletes? Nobody wants to address the most needed issues with lifestyle management and we need progress here (the other hours in the day).

My fear is that the technology is creating another curtain for some coaches to use because the price point is prohibitive for the masses and it’s difficult to judge. I personally think GPS systems are good to gage what the athlete is actually doing objectively, because our eyes are not as good as we think. Don’t get me started with someone’s gut feeling. I am worried about confirmation bias. The data, especially filtered, needs to be more transparent and annotated for decisions and observations. It would be good to see if people are seeing things with a live tagging system to see if the data matches. GPS isn’t going away and it will evolve, but the key question is what are we doing with the data?

If a midfielder runs over 10 kilometers in a game does he get an extra banana? Will we see more interventions based on the data we are collecting?

If the Omegawave reading is poor, does the fitness coach look down at his feet when the coach is barking during practice?

What if everyone has different readiness scores in practice? Do you really individualize a small sided game?

A lot of questions but my point is instead of telling us the data is confirming suspicions or one’s superman eyeballs, we should share the data and decisions made from it to learn more. We can’t visit everyone but with technology we need to illustrate what we doing instead of tweeting the fantasies that many are doing now.

Carl Valle

Carl Valle

Track & Field Coach
Carl is an expert coach who has produced champions in swimming, track and numerous other sports. He is one of the foremost experts in the fields of nutrition and restoration.
Carl Valle

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