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« June 6, 1944: Richard Kersting ‘42 | Home | Teevens’ Smart and Safe Football »

A New Trend in Football Fashion?

Catapult1.jpgAt first I thought that some very athletic women were participating in a football team conditioning drill. Who else would be wearing a sports bra on Memorial Field? But, no, it turns out that the form-fitting halter tops on these Dartmouth varsity players hold a highly accurate GPS tracking unit in a small pouch just below the neck. The device, made by Catapult, an Australian company, can measure a thousand points of data per second: everything from acceleration, impact, speed, yards logged and so on. As one Team Canada hockey coach put it, “Catapult eliminates an athlete’s or coach’s personal perception of workload. The data is a true objective measure of the effort put forth.”

In other words, a coach can both assure in real time that athletes are getting a sufficiently vigorous workout, and that they are not surpassing their maximum workload. The information is allowing coaches to precisely tailor practices to keep athletes fresh. The software has even been adapted to position players like football linemen and soccer goalies, whose mobility profile is different from that of most other athletes.

Catapult has 1500 pro teams using its device, everyone from Australian rugby squads to the Cowboys and Packers, the Bruins and Canadiens, the Celtics and Golden State Warriors, and European soccer clubs like Chelsea and Bayern Munich.

The next frontier: selling live data to broadcasters, who might track players whose work rate is higher than others, or whose hits are the hardest, or who are showing tension as measured by an accelerated heart rate.

Whatever you do, don’t laugh at these guys:


This University of Alabama video describes how the Crimson Tide uses Catapult’s technology:

Addendum: As always, Buddy Teevens ‘79’s football team is on the cutting edge of technology, either because it’s buying in new innovations or developing them itself in the case of the Mobile VIrtual Player (MVP).

Addendum: An alumnus writes in to note that the football team is not the only College squad to wear, er, um, the latest in sports tracking technology. The ruggers do, too, though their equipment is made by VX Sport:

Rugby in VX trackers.jpg

Forgive me, but in this instance I just can’t help but recall the Lumberjack Song.

Addendum: Another alumnus writes in:

Not to take anything away from our innovative Buddy, the DRFC has been using GPS load monitoring devices since 2012, thanks to a gift in memory of Paul Darling ‘66 USMC by his teammates.

Credit where credit is due.


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