By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Editor
Coaches no longer have to look for athletes breathing heavy or tapping their helmets to realize they need breaks. Now, GPS tracking technology provides coaches with precise metrics that serve as predictors of unproductive play or injury.
Catapult has recently released the Playertek, which was designed with high school coaches in mind. The software is less technical and more intuitive than the products marketed to pro and college coaches, and the price point falls in line with high school budgets.
D.J. Callender, Catapult Director of Sales, and Robert Pomazak, St. Charles North (Ill.) head coach, each weigh in with five ways the Playertek technology can make a team better.
Catapult Director of Sales D.J. Callender
Fewer soft tissue injuries.
“One of the buckets we preach and coaches find is the value of soft tissue mitigation. The technology allows coaches to keep athletes fresh so they’re not at risk of suffering soft-tissue injuries.”
“If you can understand what peak performance and output looks like, you can dial in what you want for a 50 percent day or a 75 percent day. It’s taking a preventative approach.”
Program the week.
“Go into every Friday night fresh and ready to perform at your best. If that’s the goal, what should you do on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday? That’s a growing piece of the puzzle.”
Gain access to a content hub.
“The Catapult community is consolidated into a hub online for all users. We have blogs with comments, so you can ask for feedback. It’s a user-generated content hub.”
Get in-house consulting.
“We have a team of sports scientists, and we can package in a consulting piece to it. A lot of teams use our in-house staff and trainers.”
St. Charles North (Ill.) coach Robert Pomazak
Pomazak has created a system using Catapult technology to help track and evaluate the performance of his defense throughout the season.
Players are fresher.
“I decided to invest in this technology because the return on investment is huge. We’re able to keep our players fresher for longer.”
Customize practices for individuals.
“It’s not just cookie-cutter. I’m able to look at an individual player’s load and prescribe the lowest dose practice for that player. The ideology of running players into the ground has changed.”
Get key metrics.
“The metrics I use the most are sprint distance, total caloric expenditure and impact. The biggest adjustment we’ve made is to impact. We have eliminated impact from the practice to the point that we don’t monitor the metric.”
Eliminate high-risk periods for fatigue.
“I monitor our wide receivers’ sprint distance. If a player runs a deep route, we immediately put in a new player. Within a week, we saw 250 yards of sprint distance cut down.”
Don’t rely on players to rest when they’re tired.
“Often times, players won’t tell us the truth. When you show them the data behind it, you might get a more honest response. ‘I’m tired.’ Or, ‘I feel fresh.’”
Catapult has recently released PlayerTek, which was designed with high school coaches in mind. The software is less technical and more intuitive than the products marketed to pro and college coaches, and the price point falls in line with high school budgets. PlayerTek provides insights into athlete and team performance and work load, with a range of powerful features, including the ability to see live, on-field data snapshots, heart rate monitor integration, a dedicated player-centric app, and more.