Blog GPS 101 Podcast

Why It’s Not Enough to Go the Distance

Train Smarter - Sports Performance Tracking

If you can’t outrun them, outsmart them

Players who cover the most ground aren’t necessarily the hardest-working members of a team. Let’s use soccer as an example. A lousy midfielder may run a fair distance and look busy across a field. But that doesn’t mean their efforts are being used to get the ball or make a play.

Ask the coach of any major professional league. Across football, rugby, hockey or any other outdoor team sport, there’s one metric that’s favoured for monitoring overall performance. And that’s Work Rate. Put simply, it’s the metres ran per minute. By measuring distance against a time, you take an accurate view of intensity. This is particularly useful in outdoor team sports where stop-and-start movements have a direct relationship to how offensive and defensive tactics play out.

Your guide to training smarter

If measuring distance alone would be enough, then the pros would simply track their efforts with ordinary fitness trackers. But as athletes, coaches and sports scientists, we know there’s more to measuring physical output than merely looking at the total number of meters an individual has ran in a performance. By assessing Work Rate, coaches are also able to determine whether players are working accordingly to their positions. For example, it would typically be expected that a soccer midfielder would achieve a relatively high meters per minute (120+). If athletes are returning values lower than that of the rest of their teammates this can be a valuable piece of information. Is this athlete unwell? Did they just have a poor game? Was their opponent being lazy? These are all questions that coaches can ask to better understand and in turn evaluate an athlete’s performance.

Pro tip: Improve Work Rate by replicating actual match times and demands during training. This means setting the timer to exact halves or quarters. Leave the talking at the sidelines and make sure that players are actively engaged in drills while the clock’s ticking. Another option is to modify drills (ground size and number of athletes) in order to elicit greater training stimulus and replicate match like situations.

Sports Performance Tracking‘s software provides the ability to measure Work Rate and therefore assists in determining whether an individual is being tactful with their running. Take a tour around Gametraka’s Live Demo and see for yourself how SPT’s software has given the insight to benefit clubs all around the world.

If you or your team still aren’t equipped with the GPS technology to enhance and measure performance, it’s not too late to make some big changes for the upcoming season. Click here to learn more about SPT’s latest device and reap the advantages while it’s early.