Illinois Leverages GPS Tech to Quantify Performance

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Technology is continually seeping into basically every aspect of life — and college athletics is not immune to tech’s influence. More and more programs are turning to tech to quantify athlete performance and production.

As the Chicago Tribune reports, the University of Illinois is the latest to jump on board with tech tools that measure football players’ physical conditioning. The team has invested in GPS vests that players wear during practice, and which measure movement and physical outfit.

The technology produced by Catapult Sports, which has partnered with a growing number of sports teams in college athletics, features a GPS device placed in a pouch and worn in a vest beneath a player’s pads. The Tribune reports that the devices record speed, duration of work, distance, route running and even explosiveness.

The data generated by the players provides the athletes with motivation — everybody wants to be the fastest — but also provides coaches and medical staff with actionable information. Which player is not reaching their potential? Who might be overexerting themselves?

“Once we know their top speeds, we can take a percentage,” head athletic trainer Jeremy Busch told the Tribune. “How much were they working on that top end? Maybe they’re working too high, maybe they’re not working hard enough. It depends on the goals for that week.”

What do you think about sports programs implementing tech tools for athlete performance? Would you prioritize this sort of information within your athletic department budget? Let us know in the comments.

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