• Categories
  • Sport physiology

    Antonio Robustelli: GPS Application and Team Environment pt. 1 – Functional Integration

    Antonio Robustelli

    Sport scientist

    The use of the Global Positioning System (known as GPS) in team sports has become standard and several products have appeared on the market to satisfy the needs of customers ranging from top pro teams to small amateur clubs.  

    The rise in popularity of wearable technologies has led to the production of high-tech units together with an improvement in functionality which is fundamental in team sports. The main advantage of GPS, and wearable technologies in general, is that they have led to an increase in awareness of the need to understand  how an individual, within a team environment, responds to training stimuli. 

    Dynamic Complex Systems

    The application of GPS in team sports should not be considered only as a way to monitor the training load for each individual player as this is a reductionist overview of the dynamic complexity of a team environment.

    Football teams are now considered as complex adaptive biological systems where there is a continuous interaction between players. They are a dynamically changing environment (Passos et al, 2008).

    It is fundamental to properly understand the way collective behaviour influences overall and individual performance on the pitch. Degeneracy, one of the characteristics of biological systems, is defined as “the ability of elements that are structurally different to perform the same function or yield the same output” (Edelman and Gally, 2001). 

    Balague et al. (2013) stated that “complex systems in sport consist of structurally and functionally heterogeneous components which interact (generally informationally or/and mechanically) with varying intensities and spanning different spatio-temporal scales. They are also adaptive and goal-directed, changing and fitting their behavior to emerging constraints.”  

    It is in this dynamic scenario that GPS can give coaches a deeper insight into the complex adaptive nature of players as a collective entity.

    Collective Training and Behaviour

    GPS monitoring during training sessions can make the analysis of the collective behaviour more efficient. Training sessions on the pitch should emphasize the collective aspects of team organization rather than isolate performance components (Mallo, 2014).

    Individual players needs to develop the ability to coordinate with others through a complex environment, leading to what is called collective behavior (Lòpez-Felip et al, 2018). Monitoring training load and performance metrics through GPS can help coaching staff to analyze this dynamic interplay between players and how they act as a coherent unit to create an optimal team synergy (Araujo and Davids, 2016).

    Workload metrics such as Player Load (which is the sum of the root mean square of changes in acceleration and deceleration per second) can clearly define the amount of external workload an individual player is exposed to and then they can be compared with other players in the same position, giving a performance insight into the team’s collective behavior. This way, coaches are able to receive direct feedback iand improve their training plans and the overall performance of the team.  

    Teams as Superorganisms

    Duarte et al. in their 2012 paper proposed a socio-biological model of team performance in which teams are defined as Superorganisms acting through the functional integration of individuals players who are part of a system which is “more than the sum of its parts”.

    This is where GPS technology differs from other monitoring methods as it records team performance daily and how players behave daily on the field to reach a common goal.

    In the second part of this article series, we will discuss how you can practically implement GPS technology in a team environment and how the Team Dashboard can provide coaches with a global picture of team collective behavior.

    Antonio Robustelli

    Sport scientist

    Sport scientist and performance consultant works worldwide with semi-professionals, professionals and Olympic athletes in various disciplines.

    Share article:

    Similar Articles

    Sport physiology

    How to build up physical fitness and monitor the training load of players preparing for the season

    Pre-season preparation periods in football are vital in terms of motor improvement. Most often they can be divided into the longer winter period, which focuses onRead more >

    Sport physiology

    How to prepare players for the season?

    In the context of recent football trends, training micro and mesocycles in pre-season can be divided into conventional ones, as well as those based on tacticalRead more >

    Sport physiology

    How to monitor and optimise training load?

    Monitoring and optimisation of training load should be based on knowledge about our players. Tests are necessary to get the knowledge - but test results aloneRead more >

    Sport physiology

    How to increase a young player’s efficiency without exposing them to the risk of injuries?

    Contemporary football is a very complex discipline as regards developing talent. Over the years it has changed diametrically, so that when you watch the game ofRead more >

    Sport physiology

    All about maximum heart rate and resting heart rate

    It can’t be emphasized enough – heart rate monitoring is extremely important for athletes. It’s crucial to know your heart rate values to be able toRead more >

    Sport physiology

    Athlete’s speed – stay in the zone

    As we previously wrote on our blog, it’s important to control your heart rate zones, especially when you are working on your aerobic and anaerobic efficiency.Read more >

    News

    Acute to Chronic Workload Ratio – new Sonda Sports system feature

    Monitoring physical activity is the key to determine the right workload and minimize injury risk. It is easy to do with the help of sports tracking equipment asRead more >

    Sport physiology

    Change of speed in numbers – why and how to keep track

    An athlete moves on the pitch almost constantly, changing only his speed. We see a player accelerating from slow walking to a sudden sprint within secondsRead more >

    Sport physiology

    The ABCs of heart rate zones

    As diverse as sports disciplines are, there is one element they have in common – the importance of heart rate. When it comes to semi-professional orRead more >

    Want to use our products?

    just click the button below

    Buy Now!

    "