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Archive for the ‘Practice & Preparation’ Category

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Thanks to the Triple Threat Show on AM 610 in Houston for having GPSports Grant Thorne on air to talk about GPS technology and its impact on the NFL.  Below you will find a link to that interview but first, why does your American football team need GPSports technology?  Here are a few reasons.

GPSports – Driving Innovation in the NFL

Being such an explosive sport, American Football players are placed under extreme pressure every time they take the field.

GPSports technologies provide a system to objectively and accurately quantify practice and game load at an individual level.   Quantifying load is absolutely key to maximizing athletic performance and minimizing injury rates.

Pete Carroll TrophyGPSports is working with these teams to ensure an analysis model specific to American Football is implemented.  Results are positive, with the system providing a great insight into positional demands, training structure, individual player loading profiles and indicators of soft tissue injury.  



Iowa Hawkeye LogoThe University of Iowa was the first team in North America to get our new indoor technology, allowing the Hawkeyes to reap the benefits of the GPSports SPI HPU unit and SPI IQ software no matter where they train.


Why use GPSports technology to train your athletes?


Accurately Quantify Training Load

Know exactly how much work a player has done in a given session. Objectively assess loading across a range of intensities for distance, speed, acceleration, heart rate and impacts.


Quantify Work Rate

Easily compare training drills to game intensity. Use this information to guide training structure, manage overload, manipulate drills and educate coaches and conditioning staff.


Compare Individual Players

Compare players across a range of performance measures in training and game. Use this information to target outliers in the group, assess strengths and weaknesses of individual players and quantify changes under fatigue.


Understand the Demands of the Game

Collate game data to benchmark positional demands, prioritize athletic development and limitations of your players and identify areas for improvement.


Are you ready to dominate your league or sport?  To find out more about how GPSports SPI HPU unit and SPI IQ software can benefit your team CLICK HERE to have one of our Human Performance Specialists talk to you about your team and  how GPSports can meet your specific needs.


Triple Threat 610 AM





Listen to the interview with Grant Thorne by clicking the photo.

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By Dr. Craig Duncan

Girl goalie diving

A short conversation with a parent a number of years ago made me realise the extent of the problems we have in youth sport. This parent wanted advice on how to make his child faster and stronger to ensure he would become a professional soccer player.

After advising him that the services he required would be expensive, he replied: “don’t worry about the cost, my son’s career will be my superannuation”.

This left me astounded. The child was nine years old.

Sport is an integral part of the social and cultural landscape of much of the world, and its physical and psychological benefits are well-documented. However, where once sport was considered a pastime, it has now evolved into a potential career choice. The catch is there are only a relative few who can make a career out of sport.

Sports science has had some bad press of late. And now a series of reports surrounding elite sport in schools, including the Scots College sports science unit, has added further fuel to the anti-sport scientist fire.

The school has been accused of “buying” athletic students with scholarships, giving supplements to students and providing over the top high-tech sport equipment. The school’s new high-performance centre has a resident sports scientist and a “hypoxic chamber – a device to simulate training at high altitudes.

The traditional role of sport scientists is to maximise the potential of athletes whilst ensuring the risk of injury is minimised, whether that injury is physical or psychological.

So it’s not the involvement of sport scientists in schools per se that is the issue – injuries can be reduced and programs can be systematically monitored. After all, over-training among young athletes is a common problem. But the benefits of a sport science unit can be all be for nothing if the focus is purely on servicing the elite and not ensuring all students are able to fulfil their potential.

It all boils down to the reason we have sport in the first place. Somewhere in time, many parents, coaches and schools have got confused, and started to believe that the goal is to be elite. This concept of “elite” has then seemingly become a selling point for certain schools. They have created professional facilities in order to sell parents and students the dream of becoming a future professional athlete.

Otherwise why would a school have an hypoxic altitude chamber? If it is there to impress prospective parents and justify extensive fees – a kind of pricey marketing tool – then it could be understood.

But from a sport science perspective spending significant money on gaining a minimal, if any advantage, from an altitude chamber demonstrates a poor understanding of sport science and even poorer understanding of what is required to become an elite athlete. It is nearly laughable that school aged children would be using such equipment when so many basic changes can be made to improve performance.

There is a real concern that this kind of equipment is not really about enhancing the student but more about making an impression.

It is also a concern that many seem to want youngsters to stick to one sport early on, or what we call “early specialisation”. The reasoning is that this will give them the best chance to be “elite” with the mythical 10,000 hour rule often quoted. This rule suggests you need 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to become elite. Nevermind that this rule is based on research completed on chess playersviolinists and pianists, not sportsmen.

The problem with early specialisation is the distinct decrease in exposure to a variety of movement patterns. If you are only solving the one movement puzzle we can be assured that we will have athletes of lower quality and increase the risk of injury through overuse.

And with all the focus on being school sport “elite”, who is there to pick up the pieces when the dream of being a professional sportsman is shattered? What is the psychological cost when they get to 17 and do not fulfill the elite dream? What has been the cost to their schooling, their family and to their basic social development by chasing a dream that, in most cases, is not possible and may not have even been their own.

Rather than focusing on the elite, we should focus on the 99% that won’t make a living from sport, and ensure they are physically active for life.

We should always promote the desire to fulfil ones’ dreams but the concern is that with all the time spent training, the dream may become blurred, particularly when the dream is really that of the parents, coaches or the schools.


Dr. Craig DuncanDr. Craig Duncan is a senior lecturer and Sports Science Consultant at Australian Catholic University and has lectured in the field of sport science for over 14 years.  He has consulted to the football federation of Australia and was head of human performance at Sydney FC.




Are you ready to dominate your league or sport?  To find out more about how GPSports SPI HPU unit and SPI IQ software can benefit your team CLICK HERE to have one of our Human Performance Specialists talk to you about your team and  how GPSports can meet your specific needs.

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Translated from the FC Petrolul Ploiesti website:

FC PetrolulOil has invested over 150,000 euros last year in the latest equipment, purchasing anGPSports system used to accurately assess the physical parameters of the players. The system is implemented in training and games and the big European clubs, including Chelsea, Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Ajax and FC Porto.

During competitive, especially in the training sessions, such as those in Antalya, technical staff of Oil by knowing how to present each player in physically. And this thanks GPSports device showing the exact mileage running, speed and heart rate during training players or matches. Worth over 70,000 euros, the system is innovative, but very few teams in League One and allow it to acţionize due to high prices. To be monitored, players wear a special vest and back, the size and shape of a mobile phone are secure GPSports device.

The dealing with the interpretation and centralizing all the data is Nacho Martinez, one’s physical preparatory Oil . 

“This revolutionary system helps us to see exactly how to prepare footballers. We know how to run one or the other in training or matches, that speed was and that was the heartbeat. Normally, our players go through training sessions, on average, 6-7 km, and at similar distance ranges between 9 and 12 km, depending on how each plays ” explained Nacho. 

The top teams in sports worldwide rely on GPSports technology because they know data is a game changer. What does your team use?


Are you ready to dominate your league or sport?  To find out more about how GPSports SPI HPU unit and SPI IQ software can benefit your team CLICK HERE to have one of our Human Performance Specialists talk to you about your team and  how GPSports can meet your specific needs.


GPSports will be at the NFL Combine as well as in Los Angeles this February.  CLICK HERE to schedule a visit and trial.


Original piece at FC Petrolul’s website

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By Mick Blythe

Rugby League (RL) is a game played by amateurs (Gabbett, 2000), semi-professionals (Gabbett, 2002, Coutts et al., 2007) and professionals (Gissane, et al., 1993; Brewer, Davis, 1995). It involves 13 a-side (+ 4 substitutes) games played over two 40-minute halves separated by a 10-minute rest interval.

RL is physiologically complex involving frequent bouts of high-intensity activity (e.g. running, passing, sprinting) separated by short bouts of low-intensity activity (e.g. walking, jogging) (Meir, Arthur, Forrest, 1993; Gabbett, 2004). During games players are exposed to many physical collisions and tackles (Brewer, Davis, 1995; Gissane et al., 2001).

In order to compete players are required to have appropriately developed maximal aerobic power, speed, muscular strength, power and agility (Meir et al., 1993; Brewer, Davis, 1995; Coutts et al., 2007; Gabbett, Jenkins, 2008). Those without are at an increased risk of poor performance and injury (Gabbett & Domrow, 2005). As a result, appropriate periodized game-specific physical conditioning programmes should be provided to players at all competitive levels.

The development and implementation though of programmes within amateur RL is challenging. The initial challenge refers to the training prescription as a difficult balance exists between applying the appropriate training stimulus required to elicit improvements without causing injury (Gabbett, 2004).

Although the incidence of training injuries is low they do occur (Hodgson et al., 1998; Gabbett, 2002, Gabbett, 2003; Gabbett, 2005); usually in correlation with inaccurate prescriptions of increased intensity, duration and load (Gabbett, 2004). Injury occurrence has also been reported to be higher in the later stages of training (Gabbett, 2003, Gabbett, 2004, Gabbett, 2005). Something possibly related to fatigue (Gabbett, 2004, Gabbett, 2005), thus suggesting the need for differentiated intra-session training loads.

Tom Kingston makes a breakProgrammes must also consider the games many physiological demands. High levels of muscular strength are required in order to effectively tackle, lift, push and pull opponents and to provide fast ‘play-the ball’ speed and facilitate effective leg drive in tackles (Gabbet, Jenkins, 2008). To mimic game conditions the exercises used to promote musculoskeletal strength / stability increases should include those performed in standing postures and involving weight-bearing closed chain movements (Gamble, 2010), in all three planes of motion (Leetun et al, 2004) and under both static and dynamic conditions (Gamble, 2010).

Programmes should also assist in enhancing specific changes of direction speed and perceptual and decision making (Young et al, 2002), while considering sprint specifics (standing or dynamic start?) (Murphy et al., 2003) and relevant sprint distances (<40m or >40m?) (Meir et al., 1993).

Invalidated amateur mean blood lactate concentrations of 5.2mmol demonstrates considerable physiological stress on both the aerobic and anaerobic glycolytic energy systems. Therefore training needs to ‘mimic’ competitive work to rest ratios (1: 4) (King, Jenkins, Gabbett, 2009) thus enabling players to  better cope with the demands placed upon them during matches (King, Gabbett, Jenkins, 2009).

Performing skill specific drills whilst fatigued may also encourage players to make appropriate decisions and apply learned skills during the pressure of competitive matches (Gabbett, 2002).  Further complication is heralded to the importance of each group preparing differently to meet the specific positional demands of match-play. King et al (2009) suggests that within training session’s positional differentiation is key with each position having its own specialised training criteria. Thus meaning everything mentioned above would need modifying according to positional specifics.

The final challenge facing amateur strength and conditioning coaches lays in that usually they aren’t afforded the same coaching, medical, analytical, nutritional and psychological support as their professional contemporaries.  These constraints, added with likely additional (player and coach) employment and an increased need for amateur players to refine technical skills means amateur conditioners need a unique set of time-management, organisation and empathetic skills alongside their technical knowhow. As with any interpersonal profession, an overriding commitment to better those around you whilst maintaining a safe and enjoyable environment is also key.


To find out more about how GPSports SPI HPU unit and SPI IQ software can benefit your team CLICK HERE to have one of our Human Performance Specialists talk to your about your team and  how GPSports can meet your specific needs.


Mick Blythe HeadshotMick Blythe   MSc, Cert-Ed.

Rotherham, United Kingdom.

Owner /  lead staff:  MB Health and Fitness
Academy manager: Sheffield Steeldogs Ice Hockey academy
Tutor / Assessor: Envisage Training
S&C coach: Dearne Valley Bulldogs ARLFC



Brewer, J., Davis, J. (1995). Applied physiology of rugby league. Sports Medicine. 20 (3): 129-35.

Coutts, A., Reaburn, P., Abt, G. (2007). Heart rate, blood lactate concentration and estimated energy expenditure in a semi-professional rugby league team during a match: a case study. Journal of Sports Science. (2) 97-103.


Gabbett, T.J. (2000). Incidence, site, and nature of injuries in amateur rugby league over three consecutive seasons. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 34: 98-103.


Gabbett, T.J. (2002). Training injuries in rugby league: an evaluation of skill-based conditioning games. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 16 (2): 236-41.


Gabbett, T.J. (2003). Incidence of injury in semi-professional rugby league players. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 37 (1): 36-44.


Gabbett, T.J. (2004). Incidence of injury in junior and senior rugby league players. Sports Medicine. 34 (12): 849-59.


Gabbett, T.J. (2005). Influence of playing position on the site, nature and cause of rugby league injuries. Journal of Strength and Conditioning research. 19 (4): 749-55.


Gabbett ,T.J., Domrow, N. (2005). Risk factors for injury in sub elite rugby league players. American Journal of Sports Medicine. 33 (3): 428-34.


Gabbett, T.J., Jenkins, D. (2008). Applied physiology of rugby league. Sports Medicine. 38 (2): 119-38.


Gamble, P. (2010). Strength and conditioning for team sports: Sport specific physical preparations for high performance. Routledge. London.


Gissane, C., Jennings, D.C., Standing, P. (1993). Incidence of injury in rugby league football. Physiotherapy. 79: 305-10.


Hodgson Phillips, L., Standen, P.J., Blatt, M.E. (1998). Effects of seasonal change in rugby league on the incidence of injury. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 32 (2): 144-8.


King, D.A., Jenkins, D., Gabbett, T.J. (2009). A time–motion analysis of professional rugby league match-play. Journal of Sports Sciences, 27(3): 213–219.


Leetun, D.T., Ireland, M.L., Wilson, J.D., Ballantyne, B.T., Davis, I.M. (2004). ‘Core stability measures as risk factors for lower extremity injury in athletes’. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 36(6): 926-934.


Meir R. (1993). Evaluating player’s fitness in professional rugby league. Strength Conditioning Coach. 1:11-7.


Murphy, A. J., Lockie, R. G., & Coutts, A. J. (2003). Kinematic determinants of early acceleration in field sport athletes. Journal of Sports Sciences, 2, 144-150


Young, W.B., James, R., Montgomery, I. (2002). Is muscle power related to running speed with changes of direction? Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness.  42:282-288.

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Team-Training-with-GPS-vest-150-dpiHaving a purpose is important. Why? Knowing your purpose is the first step to achieving your goals and fulfilling that purpose. Without a purpose you are simply aimless.

Consider the archer’s arrow.  The arrow’s purpose is clear, “fly straight and pierce the target.”  With that purpose in mind, the archer can identify his goals when building his arrow.



1 – Create a smooth and straight shaft

2 – Add a feathers or vanes to steady the arrow through flight

3 – Sharpen the tip or fasten a sharp arrowhead.


If these three goals are achieved, then the arrow is more likely to achieve its purpose.

In any sport the most fundamental question you can ask is “What’s the purpose of our preparation?” How can you answer that question for your sport without a clear and precise measurement of your sport’s relative demands?

If you can measure the demands of your athletic competitions, then you now have a clear purpose for your preparation. Use that purpose to establish the goals of each practice or drill. But even better you can measure the demands of your preparation. By measuring your preparation you can quality control your methods by adjusting and adapting the routines (loads). Technology has advanced to allow for these measurements.

For information on this technology please CONTACT us.


Kyle Thorne HeadshotKyle Thorne is an experienced expert in high performance methods. Providing guidance, education, and leadership to organizations in the National Football League (NFL), Major League Soccer (MLS), Barclays Premier League (EPL), Liga Bancomer MX, and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).  He is the North American Human Performance Consultant for GPSports.

View Kyle on Linkedin.

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