In a sports world where the numbers mean everything, and science and technology have played a bigger role than ever, teams have taken practice to the next level with the use of GPS trackers monitoring their every movements. The NBA, NFL, English Premiere League and Australian Rules Football all have teams using these devices during training. The NBA is the most recent league to have hopped on the trend with eight teams including the New York Knicks and Dallas Mavericks taking advantage of the product.
That product is called OptimEye made by Australian company Catapult Sports. Catapult’s Gary McCoy compares the use of his product to the technology used to gauge NASCAR performance:
Imagine NASCAR, or even mechanically more precise, Formula 1 racing,” McCoy said. “Powerful engines. High-performance mechanical needs. Could you imagine driving one of these vehicles without any dashboard whatsoever? What if you cant ‘hear’ the engine? Would you know when you are ‘redlining,’ causing untold overload to the system? The same happens every day for a high-powered NBA athlete — we drive them without a dashboard, we guess. Our eyes give us extremely limited information. We don’t know what is too much, what is too little. Catapult data changes all this. Viable, objective measurements on movement, and then simply what we can measure, we can manage.
The main goals in mind when using this device seem to be prevention of injury and determining an athlete’s athletic ability. Here, the Buffalo Bills give an inside look into their use of the technology:
The next step is for teams to use these trackers in game situations, which has slowly begun to happen with the Spurs using it during the Las Vegas Summer League. Whether the device will be allowed during regular season play in any sport is yet to be determined.
The OptimEye and possibly other types of GPS trackers could see an increasing amount of sports teams integrating them into their training strategy, starting at the pro level and eventually trickling down to college and high school.