If you’ve seen footage of practices from different professional sports in recent years, at some point you have almost surely seen athletes wearing very short, tight black vests on top of their practice jerseys. They’re not doing it for fashion; they’re wearing the vests to track GPS data, which coaches feel may hold a key to maximizing performance while minimizing injury risk.
Now, these advanced data solutions are beginning to trickle down to the high school level, with some 30-odd high school football programs using Catapult Sports’ GPS tracking systems, according to the Dallas Morning News. Coppell later enlisted with Catapult as well. The comprehensive training analytics company provides data for everything from top speed and heart-rate exertion to running symmetry, among other data points, and at least one high school coach is singing the company’s praises.
DeSoto High, the nation’s No. 7 ranked team, became the first Texas school to use Catapult’s GPS system in May. The Eagles are currently 7-0, and DeSoto football coach Todd Peterman thinks that the team’s ability to track things like running symmetry has helped players avoid significant soft tissue injuries, which are down almost 70 percent, year-over-year.
“There are things we can now identify instead of having a subjective answer from a kid,” DeSoto head athletic trainer Scott Galloway told the Morning News. “In years past, you were just guessing. We’re able to see things now we’ve never seen before.”
Needless to say, the new data is well worth the $3,000-5,500 per season needed to pay for the Catapult GPS devises and systems.