Background and objectives
Since I started to play touch rugby 10 years ago, I and others have been wondering what distance gets covered by players in a game. Over the last couple of year, two parallel developments further increased the interest for this topic:
- Technology is now commonly used by professional sportsmen and the corresponding data is made more and more visible to us all during the broadcast of sporting events (eg distance covered by players shown in football, rugby, etc.)
- The emergence of wearable technology items, at a low enough cost for non professionals to acquire them, allows us all to try and generate that data by ourselves.
The latter works well for many sports (cycling, long distance running) but whether or not it will work for your sport will depend on two main parameters:
- can you carry your phone or the alternative device in your sport?
- Is the data generated good enough for the derived analysis to be meaningful?
In the case of touch rugby, watch-like items can be an option but the high speed contacts (with other players or the ground) mean that you are taking a risk of braking your gadget. Also, touch rugby has a lot of stop start actions that happen in a small area of the field and these require GPS that are accurate and able to sample your position at high-frequency to give you exploitable data. A robust and high end item is what you need but then the price will be the barrier for most.
Additionally, if only a couple of people can afford the right GPS, then the benefit of the data generated will be limited by its low representativity. To extract trends and references one must gather data for a sample of 10, 20 or more players.
This is where the GPS project started and how sprintZ GPS was born! Could we make our own high accuracy GPS unit that would be sufficiently low cost for a large number of touch players to be interested in buying it?