Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Tyrone ahead of the game with GPS

 On Sunday, there were a few eyebrows raised about the tell-tale sign of a little square showing up on the back of some Tyrone players.

 

Underneath their shirts there was a GPS (Global Positioning System) unit, feeding data to a computer where instant information could be obtained about a player’s output.

Worn in a harness, similar to a sports bra, this nifty little piece of technology reveals distance covered and effort expended, it can also take into account the amount and the toll of hits that a player takes.

While this may be new to some GAA followers, this technology has been around for the last couple of years and this culture of statistics was embraced a long time ago in soccer.

In his work with the Ulster Council's coaching arm, Kevin McGuigan visits all nine counties to take match readings.

At the recent Ulster coaching conference, he hosted a presentation illustrating how the efforts of a hurler from Ulster were similar to any other top-level hurler in the country. The upshot of this is that we can establish through science the way hurling is coached, rather than the condition or appetite of players for fitness and conditioning work, that accounts for a shortfall.

It may seem futuristic, but consider that the England rugby team's shorts have an in-built pouch for their GPS tracking systems.

This is what GAA will look like in the space age.