The advantages of using GPS data in football

More and more sports are taking a scientific approach to optimising team and player performances. This includes the use of GPS devices and the data they produce. Football is no exception, in fact GPS devices have become commonplace in both training and competition in professional football. Let’s have a brief look at some of the advantages of using GPS data in football.

What helpful information do GPS devices record?

GPS devices record the an athlete’s various positions throughout a session. Using this information software calculates metrics such as distance covered, metres per minute (or second), high intensity running distance, very high intensity running distance, speed information, acceleration, deceleration and athletic load.

These metrics can be charted within bands* indicating the athlete’s performance levels, exertion loads (the physical stress placed on the athlete) and fitness.

More advanced GPS devices can record impact data, usually measured in g-force, which is useful information in impact sports.

Some measure heart-rate data which adds to the value of the information gathered from training sessions and competition.

* Speed bands define the different speeds an athlete has run. For example the higher speed bands represent the faster speeds. Different schools of thought use anywhere from three to seven speed bands.

Sometimes heart-rate bands, once again this can vary from three to seven bands, are used to measure the different levels of exertion. Heart-rate bands demonstrate aerobic, threshold and anaerobic type states which is very useful information indicating how hard an athlete worked.

Why is this data so useful

Various studies on injury occurrences in professional football, in both training sessions and pre-season games, shows that players who performed at significantly higher metres per minute, compared with their seasonal averages, were measurably more prone to injury .

This indicates an increase in training and game-play intensity, without the proper recovery, increases a players injury rate. Periods of rest, including recovery from injury, could potentially leave players unable to cope with intense bouts of high intensity efforts during training and matches.

One of the advantages of using GPS data in football is injury preventionIf coaches monitor the above patterns using metrics gained from GPS devices injuries can be predicted and even prevented. 

Injury – prevention is better than cure!

Injury in football can happen so quickly, and the road to recovery can be lengthy. All the time a player is “out of action” their fitness levels are in decline. The longer a player is away from training the longer it takes to regain the fitness levels to be able to compete again.

Prevention is better than cure!
Analysis using GPS data is a useful tool which helps to understand players fitness levels, performances and player load leading to coaches and sports scientists making decisions based on data and metrics which help to prevent fatigue and injury.

Optimise player performances and fitness levels

Recording athlete’s information using GPS devices means you are able build a log of their fitness levels, improvements in performances and can monitor the effectiveness of training effects and training loads. You can see if your athlete is over training, when they need to rest and when they are at peak condition.

Some software allows you to view an athlete’s performance for every match & training session they have played in. You can compare their results over selected date ranges making it very easy to chart their improvements.

This produces invaluable information which coaches and sports scientists can use to fully optimise their athlete’s fitness levels.

The advantages of using GPS data in football?

Injury prevention, improving fitness and optimising performance are some of the main reasons GPS data has become so prevalent in football. 

About the Author: Anadi James Taylor

About the Author: Anadi James Taylor


I am expert in helping sports clubs, schools, colleges and universities improve their sporting performances using Sports Video Analysis and GPS Performance Analysis.

I developed with world class sports scientists, coaches and trainers and university lecturers to help optimise, maximise and realise the performance of athletes and teams.

iSportsAnalysis has helped over 120 universities, private schools and clubs to reach their true sporting potential; whether that has been from them using the iSportsAnalysis online video streaming services, our online sports video analysis, coaches corner or our GPS performance analysis, the results speak for themselves!

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