Baylor soccer coach Curtis Blair breaks down SPT performance data from the previous night's game.
Sports science continues to make huge strides in changing the way teams and coaches perform their roles. Baylor soccer recently moved a little closer to the scientific cutting edge, procuring GameTraka® GPS devices made by Sports Performance Tracking (SPT).
The small, lightweight devices, worn by each player during practice and games, give an accurate measurement of each athlete's performance and workload during each event. Measurements of speed, distance, intensity, work rate, and intervals are only a fraction of the data the device provides to players and coaches.
Curtis Blair, who coaches both girls' and boys' teams at Baylor, is excited about the improvement the equipment may bring in his squads' performance. "It individualizes our training," says Blair. "We know we had a hard game last night so we'll be recovering today at practice. With this information, we know the players that put in the miles, the players that reached thresholds, so their training session may be different than players who put in less work. It takes out the guessing. We know how far, how hard, how fast, and how long they ran. It helps us train smarter, not harder."
"With this, we know when to push and when to back off. It's not based on 'how you feel,' it's based on what we know," continues Blair. "We'll still listen to our players, but we also have scientific data. Over time, I think is really going to help us."
The program is still new, and some training and experience will be necessary before Blair can more effectively use the information at his disposal. "We have some folks at UTC that are helping us, and our athletic trainer, Lori Moss, is also helping us use the equipment as fully as possible," says Blair. "It's going to put a little more on my plate, trying to make individual training sessions for each player. But now I'll know how hard to train on certain days and how I can get the most out of each training session for my teams."