GPS Tracking Gives Notre Dame Competitive Edge

Notre Dame is one of only a handful of colleges utilizing GPS tracking systems on student athletes. Most recently, the women’s basketball team was outfitted with the GPS devices,  giving  coaches insights on athlete performance, and allowing them to strategize, optimize, and prevent injury.

Assistant director of strength and conditioning, Craig Cheek, tracks over 300 data points with the GPS technology, which is just a small chip in the back of the players’ jerseys. “What the GPS allows us to do is quantify exactly what we’re doing, instead of just guessing, ‘Yeah, that was a hard practice,’ or, ‘Yeah, that was an easy practice,’ ” says cheek. “Now, we can assign a number to it and say, ‘Yeah, that really was a hard practice.’ It helps the coaches make better decisions.

He knows exactly how many times a player moved right or left, forward or backward, and how many times each girl jumped during every game. “This can help us prevent injuries,” Cheek said. “We’ll see some trends. Maybe this particular player is always going left and that’s why her right knee is hurting, because she’s pushing off that leg so much. I can develop training plans specific to that individual and do more left-side work instead of right.”

Assistant athletic trainer, Anne Marquez, believes it will take a while longer to really start seeing the results from the GPS trackers. “We’re just scratching the surface with the technology right now. It’s real now,” Marquez said. “We’ll have to collect data for a year to get some serious game data. I think when we play Maryland and Connecticut, for example, the numbers will shift to the higher end of the intensity spectrum.”