Thanks to technology that Information Technology Services rolled out and supports, UNC-Chapel Hill’s football program can collect and analyze detailed information to help optimize player performance and safety.
“During workouts, practices, and even games, certain players are wearing vests that have a GPS tracking unit actually in the vest,” said Andrew Gibson, a Technology Support Technician with ITS On Site Support group. “It measures things live, like their top speed, how many steps they’re taking, heart rates, stuff like that.”
From these GPS vests, the football staff can learn, for example, how many miles a wide receiver runs during a game. Then they can train him to run exactly that number of miles in his workouts.
The strength and conditioning coaches like the GPS equipment because they gain precise numbers with which to inform training.
“It’s helped us achieve success on the field and in the weight room this season by helping us quantify the performance measures that we use for our football athletes,” said Simon Haake, Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach.
Carolina’s football program has been using the GPS vests for more than a year. This GPS technology first attracted the attention of a few college football teams just a few years before that. Now the technology is used by the National Football League as well as some hockey, soccer and rugby teams.
“It’s been effective,” Gibson said, “so a lot of teams are actually starting to catch on to it.”