West Bromwich Albion are one of a number of teams embracing wearable technology to help give them an edge over opponents. Matthew Stock reports.
Wearable tech is now a vital tool in many professional sports, including Premier league soccer. This training top by Catapult was designed for elite athletes, and has a dozen individual sensors embedded inside. It captures up to 1000 data points per second in real-time to monitor performance and fitness. And a local positioning system - via this pitch-side receiver - tracks players' movements with pin-point accuracy. Leading English team West Bromwich Albion are one such squad embracing the tech. SOUNDBITE (English) MATTHEW GREEN, FIRST TEAM FITNESS COACH FOR WEST BROMWICH ALBION, SAYING: "All together we get lots of different training information about that player's movements for those training sessions; be that the distances that they cover, the speeds that they reach, the numbers of changes of directions, accelerations and decelerations. Overall a real nice picture of the player's load for that training session." Such performance analytics are bringing a new dimension to tactics... even for the most traditional soccer managers. SOUNDBITE (English) MATTHEW GREEN, FIRST TEAM FITNESS COACH FOR WEST BROMWICH ALBION, SAYING: "Any manager now working in the Premier League at the top of their game has to understand that this information is there, and they have to be open and available to take that information. I think that very few managers in this day and age will chose to completely disregard it because, obviously, it's going to bring something objective to the table." And, as the technology evolves, in-depth analysis of player performance could soon be possible during competitive matches. SOUNDBITE (English) MATTHEW GREEN, FIRST TEAM FITNESS COACH FOR WEST BROMWICH ALBION, SAYING: "I think then that that evolution will mean the data is then available to coaches and to support staff during fixtures to then inform match-day decisions on player readiness and how fatigue might be occurring during the game." The Catapult system is used by a number of other Premier League football teams, including current champions Chelsea.