Trojans to use GPS devices to collect data

Mark Jackson, senior associate director of Athletics, and Julia Plotts, associate professor of clinical finance and business economics at the Marshall School of Business, are using GPS tracking devices on football players to reduce injuries.

The two are implementing GPS analytics for the football program starting this weekend.

Plotts took students to Australia in 2009 for the Learning About International Commerce program, where they visited the Sydney Swans, an Australian Football League team that was using GPS devices.

Plotts saw the significance of using the GPS technology for football at USC after reviewing the Australian team’s data analytics. She reported her findings to Marshall Dean James G. Ellis who then connected her to Jackson.

Catapult, the company that created the GPS technology, utilizes advanced technology to track player movement and help prevent further injury.

The GPS is a performance measuring tool. It documents about 1,000 data points per second for multiple aspects of player movement. Catapult’s product can also present recovery time, collecting the data and displays it in a way coaches can use it to improve their practice regiment.

Earlier this year, a deal was reached with Catapult in order to use its GPS devices on the USC football team.

Danny van Dijk, a strength and conditioning intern, pitched the need for the use of this device.

“More than anything, GPS technology prepares us to better manage our athletes and plan our training week,” Dijk told USC News.

Six years later, in early 2015, Jackson flew to Australia to see the technology himself. The trip showed him that the technology was a viable addition to the team.

“It measures maximum velocity, player load, how much you push out your left foot … everything,” Jackson told USC News. “You have real numbers at the end of every practice.”

This device will not replace coaching, but it is predicted to enhance the team’s player analytics.

Players will be wearing this new GPS device at the first regular season game against Arkansas State this Saturday.

1 reply
  1. Ben Factor
    Ben Factor says:

    This story implies that USC is an early adopter. Not really. Florida State was. Alabama was at least 1.5 years ahead of USC.

    USC had the most obvious need for the devices, because of the sanctions, and the need to avoid injuries, but took no action then.

    Well, here is one of the next interesting sports tech idea: virtual reality training for QBs. If there is concern that Max Browne may not get enough snaps to be ready to play, USC should look into this technology to assist his development. Darnold as well.

    Needless to say, Kessler could employ it to prepare for games.

    I wonder if USC has even looked into this technology? I’m taking predictions for when USC finally starts using it.

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