When it comes to college football Florida State is the current King. Led by freshman phenom and Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston, the Florida State Seminoles ended the championship run by SEC teams with a win over the Auburn Tigers in what was one of the most exciting championship games in history. With so much success last year, many people have been looking at the Florida State program to learn what the ACC powerhouse has been employing to gain a competitive edge. What they have found is something that could become a mainstay in college football programs all across the country: GPS trackers.
What Florida State has been doing is using GPS trackers to help the team gather the most precise data possible for players. Weighing less than an ounce, the mini GPS tracker devices are placed under the shoulder pads of Florida State players during practice scrimmages. And many close to the program believe that it is with the help of that GPS tracking technology that football-related injuries have been on the decrease.
Florida State chose to start using GPS trackers a few years back as a tool to more accurately measure athletic performance. This performance would include information that could determine if a player was passed a safe threshold of fatigue, something that can play a critical role in injuries. And according to the Florida State coaching staff, since the GPS tracker devices began to be employed injuries have been cut down a dramatic 90% approximately. Staying healthy is critical for any team in any sport to have success and since the start of the GPS tracking program injuries have been reduced. This reduction in player personnel being injured was significant in Florida State reaching and winning the BCS title game.
Florida State invested in 30 of the GPS trackers in 2012 and are looking to increase the number to 85 so all football players under scholarship can be monitored using the GPS tracking technology.
Monitoring Performance With GPS Tracking
The unique GPS tracker devices for sports applications that are currently being used by Florida State were created by an overseas company called Catapult Sports. Each GPS tracker will measure thousands of body movements and transmit that detailed data in real-time to computers on the sidelines. However, acquiring the GPS tracking data is only part of the equation, as Florida State coaches have been mastering how to use the analytical data. In fact, a sports scientist for Catapult Sports stated out of all the different sports and leagues using the GPS tracking technology, that includes roughly 15 NFL squads, that nobody has been more successful using, interpreting and creating strategy from the data than Florida State.
Florida State coaches use the GPS tracking data to obtain daily metric reports on player movements including acceleration, top speed and deceleration. This GPS data is then observed in detail to see if certain players are being pushed too hard, something that can often lead to player injury.