To avoid injury, stay fit and recover fast, elite athletes use GPS tracking devices to improve their training. These devices objectively measures how fast they run, how far they run and the overall load they have placed on their body.
Australian entrepreneur and Sports Performance Tracking CEO, Will Strange, has teamed up with Planet Innovation to launch a highly accurate, contact sport GPS system, GameTraka©, at a price point that amateur and junior clubs can afford.
GPS Tracking devices are so effective that the Australian company, Catapult, which sells its GPS tracker to client teams in the AFL, NFL and NBL, is valued at about $35million. But the huge benefits of high-precision GPS data have also carried a huge price tag – until now.
“Catapult introduced GPS and data tracking for elite athletes, but at an average cost of $100k per year, only elite clubs can afford their system,” says Strange.
“Our system can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars per athlete and offers the key metrics and analytics you need to track the intensity and load of people playing everything from football and soccer to hockey and basketball.”
Strange started SPT after suffering a series of soft tissue injuries himself while playing amateur football. “I wanted to get as fit as I could but avoid injury so I needed a way to objectively match my training to my game day performance.”
There are consumer GPS trackers on the market, but wearing these devices is not permitted in contact sports. Strange explains: “The consumer-based products on the market are generally worn on the wrist or upper arm and this is a safety risk in contact sports.”
So Strange bought a GPS device and fitted it inside a custom-made vest. “I set up a website and before I knew it I had friends and clubs wanting to buy the unit off me. I sourced my own devices and built a website which provides all the key sports analytics you would want.”
Because most consumer products only sample a player’s location once every second or two — not enough to measure a sports person’s true speed and distance if they are changing direction while running – Strange started to build his own device.
“Our device samples your location five times a second which provides all the accuracy you need to monitor your movement,” he says. “GameTraka© is about as big as a pack of matches and worn inside a vest under a player’s jersey.”
After every game, or training session, each player can check their key performance analytics including maximum speed, distance and time in speed zones, meaning time spent running, jogging and walking.
GameTraka© is also designed to be used by sporting teams. Coaches can see results for all the team members and compare performances.
The system’s online software applies industry standard algorithms to calculate each sports person’s individual ‘intensity rating’ — how hard they have performed – and their ‘load rating, which combines the most recent intensity ratings to determine the overall stress a person has been placing on their body.
These metrics take the guesswork out of helping athletes avoid injury, optimise their training and recover from injury.
To get the analytical metrics right Strange spoke with high performance coaches from the AFL and a range of sports scientists around the world.
Planet Innovation is using its technical and commercial know-how — as well as experience in connected devices that have disrupted both medical and consumer industries — to help SPT fill a gap in the market.
Strange concluded, “My vision was to provide a professional level sports tracking solution at a consumer product price. Now when my mates tell me they train harder and play harder than I do, I just ask, ‘prove it’?”
For more information on SPT and GameTraka©, visit the SPT website.