In June, we reported on Playr (£200), a shopper GPS system worn in a cropped vest that lets footballers monitor their motion in a recreation. It was launched by Catapult, which provides monitoring, knowledge and analytics to skilled sports activities workforce throughout the globe.
Now scorching on its heels comes a challenger, Apex Athlete (£250), which presents a really comparable expertise from STATSports, one in every of Catapult’s rivals in professional sports activities knowledge. It’s not equivalent, although – one key distinction is that Apex Athlete has in-app choices to trace sports activities aside from “soccer”, because the app calls it. Those totally different sports activities are rugby, GAA (gaelic sports activities – STATSports originates in Ireland), area hockey and operating. The Apex also can link to STATSports’ coronary heart fee monitor, the Scosche Rhythm+ (£70), to ship information on the utmost coronary heart fee achieved, common coronary heart price and time spent within the purple zone.
After making an attempt Playr’s modern package deal – the pod’s buttonless, makes use of an accelerometer to know when to start out monitoring, and comes with a wi-fi charging cradle – STATSport feels a bit clunky, starting with the piercing and indecipherable beeps that greet you if you flip the monitoring pod on and off. Aesthetics apart, when you’ve related the tracker to the app, you begin a session by turning the pod on, ready till it beeps to point it’s locked on to a GPS sign (it doesn’t take too lengthy; I hadn’t completed my warm-up), then slipping it into the vest and pulling it on.
As I found, it’s value protecting the tracker nicely charged. While the battery can final for 9 hours, there’s no approach to verify the battery’s degree and if the juice runs out mid-game, because it did for me, the knowledge logged to that time isn’t saved.
Once you’ve got turned off the pod to cease the session and synced it, the app will ask you to orientate an aerial view of the place you performed to suit a pitch-sized rectangle so the app can create warmth maps. Alongside these warmth maps are the odds of time spent within the defensive, midfield and attacking thirds of the pitch, in addition to yellow arrows marking the course of sprints. The excellent news is you can manually modify what counts as a dash – in my first five-a-side session I clocked up only one dash on the default dash setting of six metres a second. I quickly dialled that down.
There are loads of different stats out there in your session, though the acronyms used are a bit mystifying at first with no rationalization within the app, so I needed to dig across the company web site to work out what acronyms like HSR, HMLD and DSL stood for. (They stand for high-speed operating, excessive metabolic load distance and dynamic stress load.) I’d like to know what they imply and the way they might assist newbie footballers enhance however that information doesn’t appear to be forthcoming, at the least not in a format I can perceive.
Like Playr, there’s additionally a leaderboard so you possibly can examine your self with different customers of the tracker. Apex Athlete lists the highest accounts for complete distance, HMLD, max velocity and HSR – each weekly (prime ten accounts) and month-to-month (the highest 20). While Apex Athlete breaks down the way you examine to the highest rating, it misses the trick (which Playr pulls off) of offering a customized league desk of individuals round your capacity. Seeing how distant you’re from the most effective is fascinating, however if you’re not even inside spitting distance it’s not particularly motivating.
That’s to not say Apex Athlete is with out its makes use of, and when you’re a part of a extra critical novice set-up you, or the individuals round you, might have the sports activities science information to show the info into one thing helpful you’ll be able to act on. For now, although, Apex Athlete falls nicely in need of being accessible to the informal participant.
It additionally falls foul of the identical challenge Playr did, which is that it’s not presently accredited to be used in video games organised by the FA. It wants an International Match Standard mark and that it doesn’t presently have. STATSports representatives have informed Coach the paperwork is in and “confirmation of certification by FIFA” is due by the beginning of October, nevertheless it’s one thing to verify earlier than shopping for.
It simply reiterates that it’s early days for shopper GPS soccer trackers, and until you’re determined to pore over your warmth maps out of your five-a-side matches or training, it might be value letting the units mature for a few generations.
Buy from STATSports | £249.99