The University of Charleston Golden Eagles recently won the 2019 NCAA Division II Men’s Soccer National Championship under the guidance of Jeremy De Hoog, the team’s Graduate Assistant Coach. Jeremy has a wide range of responsibilities within the program and plays an important role revolving around the team’s use of athlete tracking technology.
“My role at the University of Charleston entails the daily operations to prepare for training and game days. This varies from laundry, to setting up the drills on the field, to assigning our Catapult wearable pods to each player for each training and game.”
The university believes that its sports programs significantly benefit student development. Specifically within the soccer program “the goal is to enhance our student-athletes’ experience and to create the best professional environment they could possibly be in,” Jeremy mentions.
The assistant coach sees the use of Catapult as an important feature within the program and believes the technology can enhance the student-athlete experience and professional standards found within its teams.
Evaluating performance metrics
Catapult has allowed Jeremy and other coaches within the team to keep up with the ever-changing demands of running a soccer program and has been central to evaluating performance metrics.
“The technology allows our staff to stay up-to-date with our constant changing environment and to improve the quality of our program, through overseeing and evaluating player workloads.”
The Golden Eagles use Catapult’s wearables to focus on a select few performance metrics. “We look at Distance, Sprint Distance, Power Plays, and Top Speed,” Jeremy explains. Evaluating these metrics allows coaches to precisely understand the intensity of practices and games. Jeremy says that Catapult has provided the “most value with injury prevention and planning out training sessions.”
Comparing performances across positions
In soccer, each position requires slightly different skills and physical capabilities. The data derived from the GPS technology found within Catapult’s wearable technology enables Jeremy to compare players across these different positional groups.
“It helps to analyze positional group differences to understand the lower or higher distances for certain positions as well as comparing players within their position. It helps us ratify our arguments to play one player over another.”
The soccer teams at the University of Charleston have enjoyed using Catapult since transitioning from their previous technology supplier. The switch to Catapult was seamless and it has provided the players with the numbers they can utilize to understand their own performances.
“Many of the players, if not all, have bought into Catapult. It has been an easy transition from our previous monitoring system. The pods are easy to use and so is the app.”
Jeremy continues to explain that he can “utilize the data to provide our players with insights on their own performances and that our players are interested in what their numbers look like after a game or training.”
Distinguished recruitment and staff development
Moving away from the performance benefits of using Catapult, the team’s use of wearable technology has had a positive impact on recruitment and staff development.
“Catapult helps us to attract potential recruits. Where other universities might not work with GPS monitoring systems, the University of Charleston’s Men’s Soccer Program can distinguish itself from other universities.
“The knowledge of our coaches regarding GPS analysis doesn’t only have benefits for our programs, but also for their individual development which they could add to their resume.”
The value of wearable technology
Since its introduction, wearable technology has been a central feature within the team’s operations. From analyzing the players’ performance metrics to distinguishing the university during athlete recruitment. Jeremy explains his overall thoughts on the technology and the value it would provide to programs similar to those at the University of Charleston.
“I would say Catapult is a valuable investment. Especially if the program has faced injuries for which they have no answers due to the lack of understanding around player workloads. In addition, the return that comes from attracting more recruits as well as higher-profile athletes who want to feel like they are in a professional environment is huge.”