Newcastle United FC was one of the first Premier League Clubs to invest in Catapult Technology back in 2010 when they initially invested in 10 S4 units-the Club also employed Jamie Harley as Sports Scientist to run the system. Six years on Jamie is one of the most advanced data-driven individuals in his profession.
Using Catapult comprehensively in real time, using an iPhone during training sessions, and leading towards every match, Jamie can’t imagine a time when the technology won’t be a valuable tool used in every training session.
“I can’t see a time, certainly at Newcastle United, that we wouldn’t use the system.It’s become such a key part in what we do at training, the equipment is just part of the kit that the players wear. They’ll put the shorts and t-shirt on, they’ll put the GPS and the heart rate monitor on, and then they’ll get the shin pads and the boots on. It’s just part of the kit.”
Often a source of knowledge for people new to athlete tracking technology, Jamie has become adept at explaining what each of his players is wearing and what effect it has on his day-to-day workload.
“The Catapult GPS devices themselves are very small devices that sit in between the shoulder blades in a vest that the players wear. So typically on a daily basis, we’ll look at how far the players run in terms of overall distance. We then look more into detail for every individual, the maximum speeds we’re asking them to achieve in a session.
We might want players to restrict the speeds they’re going at in sessions, and we’ll obviously look at that quite closely. We then look at things like high-intensity running and then a factor of football being so multi-directional is “What we’re able to do is map the whole training week to what’s happening on a match day. Now, when we’ve had the most positive physical performances in games we’re then able to build up what works for each individual player, what’s their best preparation for a game.
Again, we then just try to replicate those weeks – we call them micro- cycles – replicate those micro-cycles leading into a game so that we’re in peak physical condition for the Saturday.
Monitoring those micro-cycles are instrumental in better understanding what has led up to an injury, then breaking that down to better understand it. Every time we’ve picked up an injury over the last few years, we’ve mapped exactly what that player’s done leading to the injury. If there are any patterns that have come about, and there have been some patterns to pick out from their physical loads picked up from the Catapult devices, we then just try to obviously avoid that situation happening again in the future.
Everything is tracked using the Catapult devices, as soon as they start their rehab process right through to their return to play.”
In 2015 Newcastle United invested in an additional 20 S5 units for the 1st team squad with the S4 units being passed down to the Academy to monitor the Under 21s and 18s.
Imagery sourced from Newcastle United http://www.nufc.co.uk/page/News/Gallery/0,,10278~5729088,00.html
Jamie Harley - Sports Scientist at Newcastle United Football Club