Old Brods players to wear GPS monitors in match
WELCOME to the computer age. A brave, new era of micro chips and satellite receivers. A freakishly evolved realm where every step and every tackle is measured and quantified from the heavens.
And leading the pack are the Old Brodleians RUFC , whose players next season will go where no rugby union player has gone before.
If pre-game testing is any guide, the results could be scary, especially if you happen to be a Old Crossleyans ball-carrier.
Run into Old Brods back rower Danny Vento and expect to be greeted with a force four times greater than a space shuttle launch.
A smack almost three times greater than a Formula One car at full speed. A collision to test the physical tolerance of a fighter jet pilot.
When Vento tackles, he hits you with a G-force of 13. When this was pointed out at training recently, the hard-nosed Brod screwed up his nose.
"That wasn't during a game," he said. "I wasn't going 100 miles an hour, flat-out."
He will be next season , so watch out. And so will teammates Adam Standeven and Matty Hoyle .
Both were tracked by GPS during a trial two weeks ago and returned incredible speeds.
Tipping the scales at 107kg, Standeven would not be disgraced in a 100m Olympic sprint. During a match, he sears 9.5m every second.
Although generally considered to be the fastest man in black , Hoyle is actually 0.3m behind.
Quantification of their skills has generated much interest among these competitive beasts.
Brods sports science co-ordinator Freddie holt says the players are now trying to outdo each other at training sessions with the data suddenly available to measure who is the fastest, strongest and fittest.
Better yet, it measures the results instantaneously.
Recently, Vento whacked new prop Callum Thompson with a bellringer at training while wearing the GPS vest.
"Wow!" Vento yelled as he saw the tackle's G-force register on his laptop. "That was an 11.8."
Thompson struggled to regain his feet.
"But the biggest thing among the players is seeing who runs the fastest," Holt said.
"The information has been good because it makes them competitive. It makes them strive for better results.
"But the trick 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."
Brods haven't invested in the technology to engender healthy rivalry among their players.
As Holt points out, the data is generally used retrospectively to measure the strain on an individual during a game or training session.
By collating the data with previous results, the coaching staff can make an educated judgement on how much energy a player has expended and then tailor his recovery program accordingly.
"Last year, we were using the GPS on four players per training sessions, but now it's 20," Holt said.
"Across the board, we can measure physical characteristics and workload for each player during a session or a game.
"The upshot is to tailor their recovery, so if they've been hit with greater impact or run more metres, we'll go a bit lighter on them the following week."
During next years games , the Brods 's brains trust will have access to all data live, enabling coaches to make decisions .