It turns out that the 2013-14 Florida State Seminoles weren’t just head and shoulders above every team in terms of talent and execution. They were also apparently lightyears ahead of the nation in terms of technology. Over the past few seasons, FSU has employed GPS tracking to prevent player injuries and it is paying off in spades.
The way it works is relatively simple, yet revolutionary. Select players have a Catapult tracking device placed under their shoulder pads during practice. After every session their metrics (movements, speed, quickness, etc.) are delivered to the FSU coaching staff, and then evaluated by the training staff. From there, the team alters each player’s regimen in order maximize their productivity.
“I live by that thing,” (Jimbo) Fisher said. “There are going to be major surgeries sometimes because you’re going to get a knee or an ankle that’s broke, or a leg. You can’t help that. But a lot of the wear and tear on the body, we’re able to take a lot of the guess work out of now.”
According to the Orlando Sentinel, FSU’s “preventable soft-tissue injuries are down by 88 percent the past two years.” Last season the team lost only one starter to a season-ending injury, and that was due in part to a prior condition from birth. Compare those numbers to the University of Florida’s 10 players with season-ending injuries (and the teams’ vastly different years) and it’s little wonder why Fisher lives by the tracking devices. Injuries derail seasons.
Catapult sports scientist Gary McCoy claims that FSU has perfected both the data collection and resulting workout adjustments, and that the university is leading the charge for GPS technology.
“In a four-year term, they’ve put together one of the best prescription models of impact data across all sports,” said catapult sports scientist Gary McCoy. “I’ll walk into NFL clubs and they’ll ask who’s doing it better than anybody. I say ‘Florida State University.’”
Perhaps Florida State’s biggest talent wasn’t a Heisman-winning quarterback or No. 1 ranked defense. Maybe it was the skill in keeping all that talent out on the field.