Are Catapult One GPS Metrics Associated with Soccer Field Test Performance in Female Collegiate Soccer Players?

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Schwartz, Kyle
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Middle Tennessee State University
BACKGROUND & PURPOSE: Global positioning systems (GPS) are becoming increasingly popular in field-based sports such as soccer, with many soccer programs, clubs, and teams utilizing this technology to optimize training and athletic performance. One of the primary uses of this technology is for monitoring player load; however, it is unknown if GPS performance metrics are associated with soccer player athletic performance assessed by common soccer fitness tests. The purpose of this study was to explore the utility of the Catapult One Sports GPS tracking system (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation; Melbourne, Australia) in the assessment and monitoring of collegiate women’s soccer players’ athletic performance by exploring associations between Catapult One metrics (accelerations, power score, power plays) and common field assessments of soccer fitness (Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1, 300-yard shuttle test, repeated sprint test). METHODS: Thirty-one female National Collegiate Athletic Association Division 1 soccer players (20.6 ±1.5 years) were analyzed for this study. Data collection took place over two weeks during the preseason. The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 1 (Yo-Yo IR-1) was performed as the very first action of the official preseason followed by the 300-yard shuttle and then the repeated sprint ability test with five days between fitness tests. Each player wore a vest with a GPS pod placed between the scapulae. Accelerations are actions where the player accelerates at 3 m/s/s for at least one second. The power score is the total count of the athlete’s accelerations, decelerations, and sprints. A power play is an explosive action where the power output exceeds 20 W/kg for over one second. Pearson product-moment correlations were used to explore the strength of associations between Catapult metrics and field-based fitness tests. Correlation coefficients were defined as small (r = .1-.29), medium (r = .3-.49), and large (r =.5-1). Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05. RESULTS: Sixteen players dropped out due to illness or injury. Acceleration count (r = .959, p = .000), power score (r = .685, p = .000), and power plays (r = .931, p = .000) each had large associations with the Yo-Yo IR-1 (22.54 ± 5.46 levels; n = 28). Three-hundred-yard shuttle test performance (59.69 ± 2.96 seconds; n = 17) was negatively associated with acceleration count (r = -.589, p = .000) and power plays (r = -.827, p < 0.01), while no significant relationship was observed with power score. Repeated sprint test performance (2.75% ± 1.49 % change in speed; n = 15) was not associated with any of the GPS metrics (p > .05). CONCLUSION: Catapult GPS metrics were largely associated with the Yo-Yo IR-1 and 300-yard shuttle test performances with power plays demonstrating the strongest relationship with women’s soccer fitness. These data suggest that soccer athlete fitness can be monitored using the power play metric from the Catapult GPS tracking system. Future research should consider exploring these relationships across a regular season when changes in fitness typically occur.
Health sciences, Physiology