During the past 2 seasons of NFL a company called “Zebra technologies” has provided coaches and with trackers to analyze on field athletes’ performances. Until now metrics stored by Zebra have been used only by media, whereas these days Zebra is ready to release useful informations to all the NFL’s teams.
Zebra uses a technology based on RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification), placing sensors on both of the shoulders of the athletes. Thanks to the radio monitors, placed on different levels of the stadium, the frequencies of the sensors are captured 15 times a second, giving live feedback about several aspects of the performance of the athletes: the distance, the acceleration and the speed.
During these 2 years only 18 stadiums (of the 31 available) adopted the tracking system, meanwhile after the release of the data to the teams, every single NFL club adopted the technology.
This fact points out the importance of this information to the teams.
The data gathered could be used in several ways, mainly for planning the match strategy and for every single athletes physical preparation means:
– The informations gathered are a key advantage for coaches in order to select the correct plays for the athletes. Coaches’ decisions regarding formations and personnel are crucial as well, obtaining informations about how to game plan and put their athletes in the best conditions to succeed in the game.
– Strength and Conditioning : this aspect is the most immediate to be linked to the utility of measurements. Lifting sessions can be improved focusing on the specific targets that the performance of the athlete underlines. Constant tracking can help to prevent and avoid injuries caused by overtraining.
As a successful match is a result of well-planned physical preparation, the strength & conditioning coaches are the main receivers of the data. The game on Sunday can be seen as a test to judge whether the desired level of performance has been reached and which aspects of the performance should be enhanced.
RFID likewise, today many digital training tools are available on the market to help to track the preparation and improve the quality of the training performance. Strength trackers give you information about the velocity, the power and the force of every single movement in the weight room, enabling to enhance explosiveness, speed, strength or any other parameter the athlete needs to increase.
A significant advantage that the technology provides is the objectivity of these measurements, which is an indisputable starting point for planning future workouts and also an objective evaluation criterion to verify the progress. The complex reality of the measurements is made easy by comprehensible interfaces, graphics and bars, making the live feedback a real benefit for coaches and athletes.