Melbourne Storm GPS technologyThe Melbourne Storm are set to once again take the lead in NRL player development, this time using GPS tracking technology in an actual NRL game.

GPS tracking and monitoring of players is not a new tool; with several clubs using it – however, the Storm will become the first team to take advantage of new ‘GPS Vests’ which they will wear in tonights game against the Dragons.

Whats so amazing about these GPS vests is the statistics that can be extracted; while coaches initially took interest in the distance travelled by players, the speed at which they trained – the device can also report on the power of impacts during a Rugby League game.
The actual power of tackles, shoulder charges and hits is quite scary.

A tackle force from a Melbourne player can registered up to 4 times more G-Forces than a NASA Space Shuttle launch.

Current FormulaOne drivers are under massive G-Force pressure when at top speed; however a big hit from a Storm player registers a force 3 times grater than this.

Jet Fighter Pilots are the most exposed to high G-Forces – their training and fitness requirements extremely demanding, however such is the statistics being extracted from the GPS Technology at Melbourne; it seems the G-Forces being experienced by NRL players is at the same level to these Fighter Pilots.

Data shows a G-Force of 13 currently registering for some impacts during Melbourne training; however this is expected to be broken tonight – with Storm players confirming they rarely tackle at 100% during training and they plan on upping the ante much more against the Dragons.

Other resutls that will strike fear into opponents hearts is the speed at which the Storm are travelling. Someone like Greg Inglis, a monster at nearly 110kg’s is covering ground nearly as quickly as an Olympic Sprinter. Many felt that Billy Slater was the fastest man at Melbourne, but Inglis’ stats are currently 0.3m better than Slaters.

The GPS tracking allows the coach to monitor how much work an individual player has done; as such allowing recovery and training techniques to be designed specifically for that player. The likes of Cameron Smith and Billy Slater who have extensive representative demands, can be constantly monitored to see how their performances are being affected by the extra work.

By adding the technology to the game environment, it really gives Craig Bellamy the power to make educated calls about substitutes at any time. Live data is fed to Bellamy and his team in the coaching box – they see which players have used the most petrol and can quickly swap them out for a fresh sub.

The other advantage achieved from the technology has been the competitiveness at training, suddenly players are working extra hard to out-do each other during drills and fitness work.

“The secret for the coaching staff is not to give them too much information. For instance, we don’t tell them about how much distance they run at training.

“If they ever found out, they’d probably tell us to ease off.” said Storm trainers.

It also could be a great too for the home Rugby League view in the future; while Channel 9 aren’t allowed to have access to the data in tonights game – it won’t be long before Television viewers will be able to tap into the constant stream of information; much like recent advances in the cricket such as hot-spot and snickometer.

Just imagine; instead of picking the man of the match – viewers could be SMS’ing their tips for the biggest hit in the game, a hit which could be measured right down to the exact G-Force!

By ricky

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