Sport Innovation/GPS Tracking/Future Trends and Recommendations for GPS in Football

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Future Trends and Recommendations for GPS in Football[edit | edit source]

The requirement for objective measures of performance and the physical demands during training and competition games has lead to the widespread use of GPS technology in sport. GPS systems applicable to football have demonstrated an acceptable level of accuracy and validity. It has been proven that GPS-based tracking technologies for sporting analysis can be of great value to both professional sporting bodies that strive for continual improvement in all aspects of football, and the everyday athlete that just wants the ability to identify how they are performing and what sort of output they are achieving during their exercise.[1] However, there are currently no low-cost GPS units or software designed for use in football that could be used as a cost effective method for analysing performance, although there are several alternative options available to coaches. Most GPS units are fairly expensive and can only be afforded by top clubs with strong financials – this could be one of the reasons why FIFA does not want to integrate GPS in the sport of football as it might affect the fairness of the competition.

As a result, GPS technology for football still has a long way to go to match the validity of other technologies already integrated in the game such biological measurement devices – for instance blood lactate and gas analysis. However, there are some emerging technologies that have the potential to meet the high-accuracy demand of elite sport tracking such as accelerometers, wireless location sensors (WLS), local position measurement(LPM).

According to Alan Ruddock, researcher in exercise physiology at Sheffield Hallam University, it is likely that GPS or other tracking devices will be linked to media coverage and social media so that fans in the future can view real-time performance data of players during competition. The Elite Sport Performance Research in Training with Pervasive Sensing (ESPRIT)[2] research group are developing body sensor networks that will combine emerging wireless technologies and link positional data with heart rate, skin temperature (even core temperature with ingestible short rage telemetric pills), muscle oxygenation and biomechanical data to provide coaches with objective performance data which can be used to enhance performance.[3]

Based on football fans reviews and statements, the football fan community appears to be fairly divided about whether GPS technology should be introduced in football or not. For those highly interested in integrating the GPS technology, they are excited about looking at players’ real-time statistics, but most importantly they are looking forward to eliminate the human error from referee officials that usually costs football games.[4]

On the other hand, there are people that remain unenthusiastic about introducing GPS technology in football. Some believe when the game losses its ability to be judged by humans, then a line needs to be drawn. There is a common argument about the interruption of sports by technology and it stems from trying to keep football a simple sport. Some people are worried that football might lose its traditional brand and the interest in the game might go away subsequently. A fan says: “What fun would soccer be if you couldn’t argue about the offside rule?”

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