GPS tracking to measure exertion, speed, and to prevent injury

Last year I pointed out some interesting uses of GPS tracking to monitor multiple data points on players.  Read more here.

It seems that this technology is catching on in college and pro football.  The Florida State Seminoles used this during their National Championship season.  As coaches, we are constantly trying to find the balance between working a team to get the most ut of the, and keeping them fresh for game day.

David Hale writes in an article on,

Little changes in the practice routine can have massive effects on the bottom line of player health, Villora said.  Running laps used to be punishment for poor performance, but now Florida State’s staff understood that extra work was just as likely to create more problems the next day.

Of course the flip side is true, too.  As much as players are eager to see the results of sprints at practice, the GOS device can quickly expose those who are slacking.  Viloria gets the data in real time and lets coaches know when it’s time to crack the whip.  

The potential for this is huge.  Of course, something like this will have to be scalable so that it becomes affordable on lower levels.  FSU paid $25,000 to rent the equipment last season from Catapult, the company who created it.

For schools that can afford this technology though, the potential is enormous. Catapult sports scientist Gary McCoy said of FSU, “It’s their secret sauce.  If they continue to scout well and they continue to use this model, they’re going to build a dynasty out of this.  There’s no question.”

The Machine Knows

Of course, with all technology, learning how to use the equipment and data is important as well.  Without proper monitoring and analysis, the data is useless.

Jimbo Fischer used the data to be able to lighten up Rashad’s Greene’s practice to get more consistent performance on game day.  Think about how many hours you’ve spent over the years trying to figure out whether a player is dogging it or not during practice.  This technology takes the uncertainty away.

The article goes on to point out that Catapult is working on a formula to identify concussions as well.  It seems that the game is under attack, especially in terms of how concussions were handled in the past.  Several class action law suits seem to be taking shape from former players. Something like this can really help save the game.  This goes well beyond the “Junction Boys” days where players were physically demanded to put their bodies through torture to become champions.  Now there is a measurable way to monitor and maximize performance.  It will be interesting to see how this catches on at all levels.  In the mean time, there is a lot to be learned about monitoring performance, doling out physical punishment for perceived lack of effort, and pushing teams and players beyond their physical limits to their detriment.

Here are some articles that highlight and explain this technology:

FSU Rides Technology to Title

FSU Football Team Uses GPS Technology to Prevent Player Injuries

FSU’s championship season fueled by GPS technology

Packers adopting GPS technology to research injuries

GPS guides Packers toward better injury prevention

FSU, Packers favor GPS-based data generator

NFL to use tracking devices during games, practices

GPS Tracking Takes Football Practice to New Level

Here are companies that produce this technology:

Thought for future use of GPS tracking on the football field

Now I would like to take this a step further and think about how the technology might be used to provide feedback on execution of a particular play in order to use the data to improve the scripted performance needed on that particular play.  Could the technology be used on the field to give a coach instant feedback on what the player did on a particular play?  Did the receiver cut his route two steps short?  Did a defensive back open incorrectly and take a bad angle?  Did the quarterback not  get deep enough into the pocket causing a problem in protection.  Being able to monitor and get real time feedback on performance specific to an expected physical movement on the field  while also measuring physical effort really produces a useful coaching tool.  I’m sure that that type of technology can’t be too far off.

Please check out my iBooks.  These present an innovative way to learn the game.    101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays and The Zone Running Game:  Create a Structured System. Both resources are filled with detailed information, interactive presentations, and game film.






On USA Football: Maximize summer practice time

This article on USA Football includes videos of Dan Gonzalez’s drag drill.  At the end of the drill is a movie trailer of Dan’s latest project.  This is an exciting development.  Dan’s interactive book goes well beyond what he presented in his first two books (both of which are outstanding).  Take a look at the trailer at the end of the video. Here it is on its own:

On USA Football:

For coaches and players, summer is a fun time a year. The challenge is to strike a balance between family, football and fun. With some simple guidelines to help maintain focus, the summer months can be utilized in a way that it isn’t overwhelming for players and maximum commitment is attained. Establish an attendance policy The first thing we always do is establish a summer attendance policy. We want players and families to know that their time is important, but their commitment is expected. We outline that if they are in town, they must attend. We establish well beforehand that summer jobs are not an excuse. We put our workouts in the morning – other than some 7-on-7 nights – at the exact same time that camp will start in August. We feel that this way their bodies are acclimated to working at that time of day, and there isn’t an adjustment period when camp hits. We are flexible with athletes involved in other sports during the summer. We communicate with the other coaches before the summer so that we know what each other’s plans are and can work things out so that the athlete doesn’t miss important events. We also establish communication expectations. We never want to hear from a player that: “Johnny told me to tell you he is out of town today.” We want and expect direct communication with the player. Under these simple guidelines, we have always had very high attendance at our summer workouts…read more

Check out my interactive books:

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays and The Zone Running Game:  Create a Structured System. Both resources are filled with detailed information, interactive presentations, and game film.

On USA Football: Empty Red Zone Package

RZ empty package.001

Check out my iBooks:   101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays and The Zone Running Game:  Create a Structured System. Both resources are filled with detailed information, interactive presentations, and game film.

On USA Football:

It’s summer, and just about every team enters at least one 7-on-7 competition. As explained in an earlier article, opportunities at 7-on-7s can be maximized in several ways. Whether you are doing it on your own or as part of a competition, the field space most worked in is the red zone and pre-red zone.

In this area, vertical space begins to disappear as you move closer to the end zone. Stressing a defense with horizontal spacing is at a premium. Defenses will use a mix of man and zone coverage. A favorite way to stretch the field and clean up the box for easy identification of blitzes is through 3-by-2 empty formations…read more


On AFM: Optimal Ways to Run to Zone Schemes – Part 1: IZ to the 1 Technique; OZ to the 3

When I installed the zone running game in 2004, Coach Bill Mountjoy wasn’t my original resource.  However, I got to know him on Coach Huey and Jerry Campbell Football, and as I refined our use of the zone running game, I picked up many coaching points and strategies from Coach Mountjoy.  It’s a privilege to share some of his knowledge in my post on American Football Monthly.  Learn more about the zone running game in my two iBooks: 101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays and The Zone Running Game:  Create a Structured System. Both resources are filled with detailed information, interactive presentations, and game film.


Since I incorporated the zone scheme into my offense in 2004, one of the common questions I get is, “Which side is the best to run inside or outside zone to?” It’s also been the topic of many friendly debates.

In this two part series, we will look at the rationale behind running the zone in different ways, how it meshes with personnel, and what the objective is in doing it in each way.

In part one, retired coach Bill Mountjoy explains his rationale for running inside zone to a one technique down lineman, and outside zone to a three technique down lineman. Mountjoy has a wealth of knowledge and experience with the zone running game. He bases much of what he believes and did on his learning from some of the best coaches of the running game including Joe Bugel and Alex Gibbs…read more

Enhance player understanding with “flipped coaching”


My books are on the cutting edge of presenting football knowledge.  They are packed with interactive presentations and video.  Get them for your iPad or mac here:

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays

The Zone Offense:  Create a Structured System

On USA Football:

Summer is here, and for just about every high school coach, now is the time when you become a full-time coach. Time feels like it is on your side, and you can work on things that will make your team better in the fall. What is the most effective way you can put yourself and your team ahead of the time crunch and the week-to-week in-season sense of urgency? Last summer, I had the privilege of interviewing coaches who use a classroom method called “flipped learning.” The coaches refer to the method as “flipped coaching.” I adopted this method last season, and I was able to help a young offensive unit learn what they needed to do to be successful. Flipped coaching utilizes simple tools to give your players the ability to learn at their own pace and have some materials to refer to when they need review. Installation meetings and film review can be done beforehand with the coaches’ key points and instruction saved for further review. The advantage comes for the player in that he can learn at a pace comfortable for him. In a live meeting, a coach cannot be rewound and listened to again. With flipped coaching, the player can do exactly that and review as many times as he needs…read more

Technology changes the way we work

“If the competition has laptop computers and you’re still using yellow legal pads, it won’t matter how long and hard you work — they’re going to pass you.”

– Bill Parcells

The advances in the technology available to coaches today are mind blowing.  Just five years ago I remember being tethered to my office computer and only able to watch video if I was on the university’s network.  The process for our video staff to upload the film was a bit long and I would have to wait an hour to watch film. Now I can leave the office after practice and watch video on my laptop, iPad or iPhone within minutes of practice ending.

If only there were a way to break down film automatically.  The long Sunday’s of film break down leave you mentally exhausted with strained eyes from watching and breaking down hours of film.  Well, those days may soon be over.  It looks like the technology to automate film breakdown and analysis is on the horizon.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 11.09.43 AM

I found an interesting prototype developed by a team of mat and computer science researchers at the University of Illinois-Champaign.  Their software called Autoscout detects player jersey numbers, tracks player movement, and ultimately labels plays.  Currently, they are able to do this with 80% accuracy.  I am sure they will continue to develop their software to the point where it is 99% accurate.  At 80% accuracy, even the hardest working graduate assistant would lose his job!

Here is the link to the video of the conference at MIT as well as a link to their powerpoint.

While these advances are not here yet, I have found two great tools which promise to make us more effective and efficient coaches.  The first tool takes away the tedious, but necessary work of drawing scout cards.  Football Play Card is the app I have been searching for for years.  The bottom line is you can save an hour and a half a day using this software, allowing you more time for analysis, direct work with players, and more time with your family at the end of the day. Checkout more advantages here.

The second tool provides our players with more learning opportunities than we can provide on the field while keeping them safe from contact and collision. It uses a technology that is used to train surgeons and fighter pilots – virtual reality.  It’s packaged affordably for the high school level.  The possibilities with this are huge.  Players play faster when they understand and recognize, and this training platform works to accomplish just that.  EON Sports Virtual Reality has developed training software that brings a Madden-like atmosphere to life with 3D virtual reality.  Your player can put the headgear on and turn his head viewing the field and the play as if he was right in the game.  Research shows that people remember more by doing as opposed to simply watching something.  You as a coach should watch game film, but ask yourself, “Are my kids learning anything from the hours of gamefilm they watch?” Film is good.  Overdose of film isn’t.  Herman Ebbinghaus studied learning and found a direct correlation to repetition based on active recall (repetition).  unfortunately, we have a limited number of reps in practice, and team periods don’t always allow for us to get our back-ups proper repetition.  Additional repetition can be provided through the virtual reality technology in EON’s software called Sidekiq.


Check out these innovative tools.  I will share more innovations soon.

My books are on the cutting edge of presenting football knowledge.  They are packed with interactive presentations and video.  Get them for your iPad or mac here:

101+ Pro Style Pistol Offense Plays

The Zone Offense:  Create a Structured System


A Significant Football Resource

You Can Do More!

Today’s post is significant for three reasons…

  • I am reviewing a great offensive football coaching resource, The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System
  • I am highlighting some innovative methods available to better teach whatever offensive or defensive system you use
  • I am introducing an outstanding coaching resource, Coach Keith Grabowski

zone offeseCoach Grabowski’s new iBook, The Zone Offense: Create a Structured System is one of the best coaching resources that I have ever read…. and you really do so much more than read it… you read it, you watch it, you interact with it, you takenotes in it.  It is a coaching clinic, webinar, PowerPoint, film session, drill guide, tutorial, etc… all rolled into one coaching resource.  It really is as if you had the opportunity to spend a week (or more!) with Coach Grabowski, his staff, and players when he was at Baldwin Wallace University.

Coach Grabowski starts at the…

View original post 459 more words