Tracking Technology and Metrics for Team Sport

Team sport provides a safe, reliable, consistent and enjoyable way for kids to exercise. It also helps to promote positive life habits, such as a sense of community and self-discipline.

Research has shown that children who participate in team sports experience greater physical fitness, better academic performance, and are more socially involved than kids who do not play. These benefits are largely due to the skills that children learn during and after participating in team sports, including dedication, commitment, problem-solving, hard work, and a positive attitude toward setbacks.

Athletes who train and compete in team sports face numerous challenges, including the varying positional demands of the game, and the long time course over which the sport is played. Given these constraints, practitioners need to be thoughtful when selecting tracking technology and corresponding metrics to profile training and competition characteristics.

Metrics for team sports vary, ranging from distance covered at various speeds (Level 1; Table 1) to high-speed movement, accelerations and decelerations (Level 2; Table 2) [6,7]. The selection of metrics should be tailored to the context of each sport to ensure that practitioners are provided with information that can be used to describe, plan, monitor and evaluate the training and competition characteristics of athletes.

Tracking systems provide a wide range of derived metrics and have been applied in many different ways. These applications require critical thinking about what metrics to use, which definitions, calculations and ecological validity are most suitable, and how they are applied within the specific context of a sport.