by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – THE suspension of all contact sport in schools in South Africa has stalled ambitions by the first local school or academy to test the much-talked-of Playermaker technology.
The Waterstone College’s Soccer Academy is the first facility to introduce the hyped athlete performance tracking platform.
Recently, the Department of Basic Education announced that school sport was suspended with immediate effect to curb the coronavirus third wave.
“We haven’t played other schools yet due to the lockdown, but our goal is to help improve our players’ technical and tactical aspects of the game, to take their football knowledge to another level and to, where possible, help them obtain scholarships,” Waterstone College’s Head of Soccer, Gavin Andrew, said.
Designed for football at every level, Playermaker consists of a smart motion sensor strapped to players’ boots, which then detects valuable data to help improve a player’s game.
To read the data, the sensor must be removed from the boot and plugged into the sensor box.
The data provides the players and coaching staff with insights on the technical, tactical and physical analysis.
“This is a valuable tool to have in any soccer academy,” Andrew said.
“Once the sensor is attached to the boots, it analyses various key performance Indicators and we have accurate data in Excel format. After training, each player receives his report/data on total touches, leg use percentage, distance covered, HID, intense speed changes and work rate,” he explained.
Most football teams currently make use of technology such as GPS vests to analyse players’ performance.
GPS vests mostly track players’ speed, distance covered and heart rate.
Playermaker does not record heart rate but various other tactical and technical data which is important for tracking the game of younger players.
During the lockdown Waterstone was researching ways to improve its training programme by using technology and came across various tools.
The aim was to find an in-depth tracking technology tool that will give them more insights about both the technical and tactical aspects.
The Playermaker footwear device was placed on over 100 players’ boots at the school.
“This has exceeded everyone’s expectations,” Andrew said.
Jacques Nel, Executive Head of Waterstone College, lauded the Playermaker as an incredible product.
“We are excited about the results. Not only does it improve the players’ skills, but it also improves our coaches’ knowledge,” Nel said.
– CAJ News