Getting the most from GPS Monitoring (Part 4)

Our three articles so far have meandered on the topic of player/athlete monitoring with GPS technology. Let’s have a look now at our motivations and actions around data collection – some of my own learnings and those of experienced practitioners in GAA, rugby, football, hockey, lacrosse and basketball.

  • When assessing data and creating insights be aware of your own confirmation bias……we can become very attached to our own theories and learnings. This can lead to us fitting data evidence to our theories instead of drawing conclusion from the data. it can mean that we miss something hiding in the wide-open, so to speak
  • Youth players need to be gradually develop towards being more robust to increased performance demands. The key is to use the data to smooth this process to help them adapt and to track their individual development – or first signs of regression. Better insights support better decision making and actions at this key stage of development.
  • There are many different demands to take account of – mechanical, metabolic, neuromuscular, cardiovascular etc…..take time to understand them all, the data from each and how they integrate, interact and impact each other.
  • Reach out – monitoring can be an onerous task…..but somebody else has gone the path before you. Ask them for pointers….we’ve never been more connected…pick up the phone!
  • High stress exposure means a higher chance of injury – learn what the “red zone’ is for individuals and what the alert signs are. Learn about what high intensity looks and feels like
  • Why guess?? Use GPS and wellness monitoring equipment to collect the dots and your interactions with the player/other staff to connect those dots – the better the questions…the more insightful and actionable your answers. Use the data insights to provoke better questions.
  • Before going down too many rabbit holes remember that time is precious – engage in ‘real world monitoring’ only – positional norms, session evaluation, volume/intensity checks etc
  • Back yourself – use the technology to illustrate just what a good job you are doing and the results of your programming. Too often we hear coaches saying they cannot ‘prove’ their impact… you can take action, collect the evidence and make a solid case as to why your approach and intervention has meant progress against agreed goals. However you MUST be happy that your monitoring equipment has a high level of accuracy and reliability. Most solutions promise much – but deliver poor return. A little homework in advance of investment pays dividends.
  • We live in a 3D world – monitoring only heart-rate is pretty much one dimensional. Investing in a solution that is reliable and easy to use will provide you with both internal and external load data to give you a more full 3D picture of your players and team – we need to integrate data, not isolate.
  • Early on establish the difference between ‘nice to know’ metrics and ‘need to know’ – your monitoring should have a direct impact on your programming…..collecting data for data sake is futile in a performance environment.

Thanks for reading so far. Huge thanks for all the Likes and Shares – please feel free to share the article….somebody new in this field may learn something valuable.

Look forward to sharing some more in Part 5 – In the meantime please feel free to get in touch about all things related to performance through a DM here, via email to or phone +353 86 8595155

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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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