Marcet’s U-18s are about to face SD Huesca. The players of the enthusiastically jump to action to test themselves against a prestigious club, only they seem to have strange bumps on the top half of their back. High-Performance Academy GPS sensors that will supply important information about their in-game performance.
The day before travelling to Huesca, the physical trainers load the devices, designed to collect data such as kilometers travelled, maximum speed, number of sprints, distances between players, the areas of the field with higher traffic…
At 11:15 the team gets on the bus that takes them to the Aragonese city. Moisés Falces Prieto loads the bag of GPS sensors onto the bus. “We know how important it is to invest in because they’re becoming more and more essential in sports training,” says the head of the New Technologies Marcet Physical Performance Optimization Department.
After a three hour journey in the rain, the team arrives at the stadium where they will soon come face to face with Huesca. The technician Pere Tarradellas and the physical trainer Adrián Benítez step on the pitch to check its condition and run over the final details before the match.
In the locker room, Benítez prepares the GPS devices. This technology allows the physical trainers to effectively distribute workloads throughout the season and manage more objectively. Thanks to GPS sensors it is possible to compare the performance of the same player over a course of weeks, or of several players during a match or a training.
It’s time for the technical pep talk. It’s one of the last games of the season and the team wants to give it their all to close a year in which they have competed against the likes of , Sevilla , Villarreal , Espanyol , Levante, Osasuna, Girona , Rayo Vallecano, Real Zaragoza , Mallorca and Estrasburgo , among others. Dijon
One by one, the players put on neoprene vests underneath their shirt to keep the GPS trackers in place.
Benítez begins to place the sensors on the back of the 10 field players. These devices have a multitude of applications. Among other things, they allow for the marking of personal goals and monitoring of improvements in the performance of each player making it quick to see, for example, whether players are performing above or below their average in certain facets of the game.
The devices are inserted in a pocket to protect them from possible blows. Hence, they are placed in the upper part of the back, one of the areas least exposed to falls or friction.
The physical trainer places the sensors before the team starts to warm up. Not only is the match data important, but the warm-up can also offer interesting statistics to determine what physical condition the academy’s players are in.
Once all the devices are distributed, Benítez checks the correspondence between the sensor number and each player. A correct synchronization is key to being able to collect reliable data.
The referee says it’s time to jump onto the field. Other Marcet kids, who have also travelled to Huesca, encourage their colleagues on the . Marcet Professional Program
Many nationalities make up the U-18s squad: Spanish, Brazilian, Haitian, Peruvian, Puerto Rican, Russian and Turkmen.
Huesca is in luck. A few days before the game, the Aragonese club’s first team was promoted to First Division La Liga for the first time in its history.
The pitch is not in the best of conditions. Rain from earlier on in the week has made for puddles. It’s a tough and level match, something that will inevitably be reflected in the statistics provided by the GPS sensors.
The match ends with a 2-1 on the scoreboard. The Marcet students have given one of the more promising teams in the Spanish football scene a tough match.
While the players take a shower, Benítez removes the devices and prepares them for their return to Barcelona, where the heads of the Physical Performance Optimization Department will analyze the data collected during the expedition to Huesca.
The day after the game, Moisés Falces downloads the data from the GPS trackers and begins to interpret it with the help of specialised software.
The measurements can be both individual and collective. For example, the sensors can indicate different points of speed reached by all the players in the different phases of the match, as well as body temperature fluctuations.
It is also possible to make a comparison between the first and second half of the game. In this case, the notable differences that are appreciated between the two parties are due to the fact that the player in question was substituted in the first minutes of the second half.
The head of the Physical Performance Optimization Department also prints out the most relevant data and hangs it on a board so that all players can see. GPS devices, like other types of applied to football, always awaken the curiosity of fellow students. Precisely for this reason, they are a tool with a huge motivational potential. New Technologies
In the days that follow, Falces summons the 10 field players who faced Huesca to explain in a more detailed and personalized way the conclusions that his Department has been able to come to thanks to the GPS devices. Unifying and syncronising the information is also interesting because it allows for comparison between student performance with that of a professional player.
In the general record of each player, you can see the distance travelled, the number of shots, the energy expenditure, the match sections in which the player has been more active… And also a heat map that indicates the zones of the field with the most traffic. Objective data is fundamental when it comes to improving the performance of each Marcet student and bringing them closer to their dreams of becoming a professional player.
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