Performance Analyst Shane Mangan shares his experience on how he uses gpexe to monitor the athletic performance of the Ballyboden St. Enda’s Gaelic football team, easily managing 30 units and quickly exporting specific data to a customized database.
1) How often do you utilise gpexe?
I have been using the gpexe lt system for over a year. Previously I used it with several teams in the Gaelic sports of Gaelic football, hurling and camogie.
Currently, I work with an amateur Gaelic football team so we use the system three days a week – two days for training and one day for matches.
2) Which parameters supplied by gpexe are you particularly interested in and why?
The main parameters that I focus on are total distance, distance in particular speed zones, maximum speed, accelerations and decelerations. I really like the fact that with the gpexe web app, I can export all the raw data from any training session or match to store in our club database.
I have recently started to use Polar heart rate systems in association with GPS devices. The integration between the devices is seamless, the devices automatically pick up and the heart rate strap fits nicely under the gpexe vest.
3) What type of feedback do you gain from the parameters of interest?
I use these figures to monitor my player’s training load and to assess the effectiveness of training drills in relation to match play demands. We try to individualise the data for each player as much as possible.
After a time, we can begin to express every training drill as a percentage of a player’s max speed or compare the distance covered in a specific drill to the average that the player normally covers in the same drill.
“the gpexe system is the most user friendly that I have used and the customer service and technical support is of very high quality”
Ballyboden Performance Analyst
4) In what way does the monitoring of the data impact on the planning of your work?
The monitoring of data has a big impact on how we plan our work. We keep a close eye on our external training load to ensure that players will not be exposed to large spikes or dips in their training load.
At the moment, we are collecting data on different training games and drills with the hope that we can create a tactical periodisation model which will improve our performance in matches. The data we are currently collecting will hopefully help us optimise how we prepare our players for competition.
5) Do you use the live and for which purpose?
I have not had the chance to use the live system but I hope I will be able to try it in the near future. I think it would be very useful especially for players who are making a return from injury, we could use it to monitor their load in real-time to ensure that these players are not doing too much/too little in a session.
I think the live system could also potentially be useful for matches. You could use the data to identify which players are fatiguing the most and need to be substituted.
6) Is there any significant data collected, as an example of analysis, which you can share with us?
Since I have a background in performance analysis I try to link the physical performance indicators to the technical performance indicators as much as possible.
Below is an example of one of the graphs I present to the coaches post-match which links the technical and physical performance(High-speed distance per minute).
7) What type of interaction do you have with the coach relative to the data collected?
At the start of the year, I will meet the coaches and discuss with them the type of data that we will be collecting, which variables that they want to look at and go through the format of the GPS report.
The day following a session I send the GPS report to the coaches with some written bullet points to explain some of the key points. Sometime the coach might have a question that they will call me or email me about but normally we just talk about it at the next training session.
8) What type of interaction do you have with the player relative to the data collected?
In my experience, players are always interested in seeing their own data. While I do not want them to get overwhelmed and too focused on the numbers I also realise that is important to share some of the information with the players. In the past, I have posted up the top 3 fastest players from each session, also the top 3 players who have covered the highest high-speed distance (In Gaelic football we used the speed zone of >17km/h as the high-speed threshold).
Since my role with Ballyboden St. Enda’s is as a performance analyst, I like to relate the GPS metrics to technical performance indicators. For example, after each game, I plot high-speed distance versus the number of attacking actions on a scatter graph for every player (see the image in question 6 above). This gives the players an idea of their physical performance while it also ensures that they do not forget about their technical performance.
9) How much time do you utilise on average for the operative phase of the system and on the data analysis?
The process of uploading the data from 20-30 gpexe units normally takes about 10 minutes. The latest web app update has really sped up the splitting of drills. In a typical training session, we would have 8-10 drill splits. The latest update allows me to de-select or trims a player’s involvement in any of the drills from one page, this is a fantastic addition that lets me set individual splits within the team splits for every player within 5 minutes.
The export of data for 10 splits takes about 15 minutes as each split has to be exported separately. Once I have exported the data, I import it into my customised database, refresh the data and graphs (approximately 5 minutes of manual adjustments) and then export the report to PDF to share with the coaches/players. The whole process from start to finish can take less than 45 minutes.
10) What pushed you to choose gpexe and have you had any experience with other GPS systems, and if so, what differences did you find?
Since I am based in a research group, that has multiple pieces of research working with a number of teams it was important that we could identify a system that is on a cloud-based system. gpexe met this criterion and having seen data on its reliability and validity we were happy to choose gpexe.
Personally I have used 4 different manufacturers of GPS in my work to date. The gpexe system is the most user friendly that I have used and the customer service and technical support are of very high quality.