A German football club is testing special new sensors, that are placed on the players with the aim of collecting actionable data during training.
Characteristics such as acceleration, speed and ball contact are calculated in real time. The information is then analysed by the coach and the players, with the aim of helping them improve their game. In a single match, over 60 million positional records are streamed, analysed, and stored.
This is how it works: “A probe is placed somewhere on the player’s body, either in a shoe, in a shin guard or inside the t-shirt. The data is then transmitted in real time to a mast located in the stadium. It is amplified into a Hana database, so that the intensity of the radiation is minimal for the player,” says Bernd Leukert, head of Application Innovation at SAP, the German software manufacturer behind the sensor.
The data is used to strategically target the strengths and weaknesses of each player and help put in place the most effective training session possible. The information can also be used to help reduce the risk of injury.
“It partly strengthens what I already perceive, but it does more than that: it picks up what I can’t sense, what I can’t measure,” says says team coach Julian Nagelsmann.
“For example, if I want to measure the time between the moment a player takes over the ball and the goal is scored, all I can say, as a coach, is ‘That was relatively quick’ or ‘It was too slow’. But if I can work out the average time it takes by looking at all the data collected, that will help me draw conclusions to improve on next week’s training session using this specific tool,” he says.
While the sensors are still in their test-phase, the company behind their invention says it’s hoping they will soon find a wider use in other sporting disciplines.