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GPS Keeps Taniwhas On Track

Media Release 11 December 2014

GPS Keeps Taniwhas On Track

A NorthTec business student is helping the Northland Taniwhas keep their training on track through GPS technology.

Trevor Beasley, who is undertaking a Graduate Diploma in Business after completing a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation through NorthTec and AUT, has been assisting Taniwhas’ coach Tim Hurst as he works to get the best out of his players.

Using GPS technology supplied by NorthTec’s Sport and Recreation department, the coaching team have been monitoring players’ condition and fitness throughout this year’s ITM Cup campaign.

With GPS tracking, players wear a small device sewn into a vest under their playing jerseys which collects information about heart rate and position on the field. It is used for analysing physiological demands on players and fatigue during the game, and for rehabilitation and injury prevention.

GPS tracking is used by most professional European rugby teams, replacing time-motion analysis as the way to monitor strength and skill development. During training and matches, data feeds are monitored from the touchline in real time, giving coaches invaluable information enabling them to pick the optimal performing team at any given time.

Trevor said: “It can enable the coach to decide whether, for example, a player needs to ease back or do more training. It enables the coach to manage the load for each player and monitor their thresholds, to ensure they are fresh for every game.”

Tim Hurst, Strength and Conditioning Trainer for the Taniwhas, said Trevor’s work throughout the season had had a major impact on his ability to manage the team’s training and fitness levels. He said: “It has been huge for me, especially in such a compressed season when sometimes it came down to not which were the fittest teams, but which were able to recover the best.

“GPS helped us gauge how hard the training week was. It was good for the coaches to define what content was in their training and work out what was high-intensity through the GPS data, rather than being subjective about it.”

Tim said the use of GPS was also invaluable when it came to monitoring players’ recovery from injury or a hard match: “It helped me make sure they were able to train at the same intensity as required for a game, so I could determine whether they were match-fit.” He added that the Northland team would definitely be using GPS technology again next season.

Trevor became involved with the Taniwhas when he was required to complete an industry project as part of his business studies. He was aware that GPS equipment available to the Northland team at that time did not compare with the hardware used by other teams, and at the suggestion of NorthTec business tutor Lou Van Es, he offered his services and the use of NorthTec equipment to the team.

Trevor was assisted by fellow student Richie MacPherson, who is studying for his Bachelor of Sports and Recreation, an AUT degree delivered in Whangarei through NorthTec.

The students’ role throughout the 2014 season, starting in July, was to attach the GPS devices to players’ shirts before both training sessions and matches, then take them away and analyse the data.

Trevor’s project focused on the way technology can be used across different sports to measure fitness and performance, assisting coaches by providing empirical data. His aim is to manage a sports academy or similar organisation.

The use of NorthTec GPS technology to assist the NRU, while also enabling Trevor and Richie to complete their projects, was possible due to the partnership between the two organisations. NorthTec is the Taniwhas’ educational partner, with both working together to ensure team members have a career plan for when their playing days are over.

Dan Clark, NorthTec Programme Leader for Sports and Recreation, said any local sporting organisations wanting to make use of NorthTec’s high performance testing equipment should make contact with him. The equipment includes GPS trackers, SportsCode Gamebreaker, Siliconcoach, wireless timing lights, iPads, VO2 max and lactate testing.

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