Blog GPS 101 Podcast

An Introduction and Overview of Custom Velocity Zones for GPS

SPT GPS Speed Thresholds

As sub-elite, academy and amateur sporting clubs evolve, there is an ever increasing need to dive deeper into GPS and performance data.

There are many avenues to explore, some with more merit than others. One such avenue is how high speed running affects performance and the subsequent injury risk associated with it.

It is a balancing act for coaches to find the correct training outputs to improve fitness, and running the risk of feeding athletes too much work, which has the chance to lead to injury. With this in mind, tracking and knowing training load is a key element of the athletic development puzzle (not to mention, a key component to reducing injury risk). Read our blog post here to learn more about high speed running and injury risk.

Total volume covered during high-speed running (hard running & sprinting) is rightfully given a large amount of focus when coaches assess total training loads and outputs. With such a large amount of attention given to sprinting, it is only about 1-4% of total running volume that would actually be classified as sprinting. It is an important consideration, not only because of what is mentioned above but because the moments in matches where athletes hit peak velocity are often game defining moments.

A universally accepted way for classifying running speeds (using GPS technology), involves ‘banding’ speeds via thresholds. These bands are classified in many different ways depending on who you talk to and in what sport. But as a basic example you could use Walk, Jog, Run & Sprint. Team level speed thresholds give coaches the ability to assess the total work undertaken by each athlete on the squad. When using this approach it is important to consider that each athlete will have differing internal responses to the same session or match. In theory, this will also promote differences in physical improvement/decrement (this is even more important to be aware of when working with junior athletes). 

Coaches are always implementing processes and collecting data to inform the training process and reduce the likelihood of athletes being injured. To do this well, it is important that the tools being used to collect information and ultimately inform the decision making process, are appropriate and carry with them acceptable validity and reliability.

Using team level speed thresholds gives coaches the ability to compare performances, within the same event, and develop benchmarks for athletes and positions. Implementing a custom set of speed thresholds can also provide coaches with information relating to an athlete's capacity to reach baseline physical outputs required for their chosen sport. For example, if your league or competition has a standard set of GPS speed thresholds.

To experience the latest update of the GameTraka 4.0 software and to begin setting custom speed thresholds for your own squad, navigate to your team settings page and from there you can implement your desired thresholds (see image above).

For more information feel free to contact our sport science team here.