There are two seasons here in the South: football season, and talking season. Talking season is merely the season where you sip the Kool-Aid. It’s about the potential your team could have next football season if your favorite players can make a jump. Sounds like a lot of hope and praying, right? Well, with advancements in sports science and tracking technology, teams can quantify how their various training programs are affecting their athletes. Catapult is a company whose advanced trackers are used by over 2,300 teams across over 40 sports. We’re going to tackle an in-depth look at the technology’s application to football. This product is being utilized by a variety of teams, including notable names like Alabama and Florida in college football, as well as the reigning Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL.
Catapult’s technology offers the expected tracking of speed and acceleration, along with position-specific analysis.
Catapult’s sensors are a combination of GPS tracking and inertial sensors. These sensors allow the tracking of acceleration/deceleration and explosive efforts for all players. Linemen sensors allow for the quantifying of contact load and load percentage. This helps build a picture of the demands the lineman goes through. This helps in training which body parts need the most training but can also be very beneficial in load management and getting injured players back to playing speed quicker. Naturally, the quarterbacks get their own metrics with their sensors too. Catapult quantifies quarterback workload through throw counts and contact loads when they get hit. It is an incredible amount of data collection for a sensor you can spot by a bump on a player’s back. Without the pads, the sensors usually work in a sports bra-like silhouette seen below.
Why does this matter?
Technology like Catapult provides real insights on whether your favorite institution’s likely massive investment in a certain coaching staff or backing up a Brink’s truck for a five-star player is truly worth it. Data is king. Catapult does an exceptional job of providing what is needed to keep players accountable, improve performance and recovery while taking the sport to new heights. It is certainly not the end-all-be-all. Because you can’t necessarily quantify the x’s and o’s on the wipe board. But training your receivers to run a 4.3 instead of a 4.6 can absolutely pay dividends.