In the quest to optimize athletic performance, pro teams are leaving no stone unturned.
Player tracking devices have become a critical component of the equation for many pro teams.
During practice and training, most pro athletes can expect their teams to fit them with a GPS tracking device that will monitor their workload throughout the session.
Via the use of equipment like accelerometers, these gadgets help track how hard a player is working by analyzing metrics like their acceleration, deceleration, top speed, total distance run, number of changes in direction, etc.
The technology helps take the guesswork out of how hard the players are pushing themselves, helping to optimize performance, reduce risk of injury, and smoothly progress rehab efforts.
The technology has long been a staple for many European soccer and rugby teams, and the last couple years have seen it catch on with loads of American teams across a variety of sports.
"The guys will come over and ask 'What was my PlayerLoad today?, 'Yesterday was a hard practice, how did it look on the computer? Was it as hard as it felt to me?'," Eric Ciano, head strength and conditioning coach for the Buffalo Bills, recently told CatapultSports.com.
These gadgets, many of which are about the size of a pager, can easily be slotted into a practice jersey or pair of shoulder pads. Some versions come with specially-designed harnesses for the device, as shown in the above photo.
The result is a gadget that doesn't interfere with the players' movement yet compiles invaluable data about their work load, recovery, and performance metrics.
Like many of the other gadgets on this list, player tracking devices aren't cheap. According to NFL.com, most units run about $1,000.
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