You might have seen athletes, men & women, wearing something that looks like a sports bra during training.
Those are actually the tracking devices the title speaks of.
“Catapult is a system. It’s precision engineering at the intersection of sport science and analytics.”
Catapult, developed out of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for multi-sport use, has been used in over 30 sports at the elite level. They are pioneers in the field of Sports Science, the graph below shows every ‘world first’ innovation utilised in Catapult.
Some of the early adopters of the Catapult system have been football and rugby teams. More recently 30 American football college teams and 15 NFL teams have signed up.
The system includes a sensor that weighs 85 grams contained in a vest worn by an athlete during training, that measures biomechanical data transferred in real time to the coach’s laptop.
Here are some of the amazing things that this sensor can measure:
- How far and fast did the player travel during a practice or game
- His rate of acceleration
- How many times he went right vs. left
- Whether he moved faster when he went one way or the other.
- The monitor can detect even a slight change in a player’s gait, which can be a sign of fatigue or injury.
There are clear benefits with this type of data. Here are a few:
“College teams using the system have reported an average of a 27-percent decrease in soft-tissue injuries.” – Catapult sports performance manager Ben Peterson.
- When an athlete does get hurt, sports medicine personnel can use Catapult data to manage his recovery. For instance, if an athlete only reaches 70 percent of his maximum speed, you can say that he isn’t ready for a full game yet.
- Coaches can see which players are working as hard as they can and, conversely, identify ones who aren’t.
With sports tracking reaching the level it has so far, it makes sense when we see simpler fitness trackers make its way into mainstream consumer markets, with products like the Jawbone Up24 and the Fitbit Surge.
Fitness tracking is the future, and sports science will be leading the charge.