“The Male Sports Bra” has been quite the anomaly for those not in the know of sports medicine. As odd as it might look on male athletes, it serves a purpose in gathering important information on players during training.
The design might be off putting to some, but many athletes and coaches swear by this technology for enhancing soccer player performance on the field, as this technology is helping to give teams a competitive edge over their rivals.
Why do soccer players wear bras?
Here is three reasons why most soccer pros are wearing bras:
1. GPS Tracking
GPS tracking devices inside the bra help understand how far a player runs during training. Data such as how far a player runs each session is vital to understanding a player’s capabilities. Coaches can learn a lot just by how far a player runs in various sessions or during different drills.
For example, you can take this data and pinpoint exactly when the player slowed down or sped up. You can pinpoint a player’s weakness or strength in all kinds of ways.
It’s fascinating technology when you understand how powerful it is.
Now, consider a whole team’s data. Imagine how a coach could check their progress or lack thereof. Or, who is putting in extra effort or the player taking a leisure stroll during practice.
The amount of data collected is endless and gives insight unlike ever before.
2. Periodization Training
After all the data is collected in real-time, the next step is to analyze it for future use. Going back to weaknesses and strengths, coaches can plan training sessions around weak points.
Are players tiring out at a certain mark? Will endurance training help solve that problem? What about specific players and their acceleration? Is it up to par with competition?
Questions that left coaches stumped now have detailed answers. From here, it’s all about focusing on improvement in key areas – not just an overall general training session. Best part, coaches can track and graph improvement.
What’s equally important as hard work? Rest.
When players get adequate rest they perform better. Long training sessions week after week take a toll on an athlete’s body. Tracking sessions after rest cycles give coaches an idea of how effective the rest was. If performance is still low, then more rest is needed and the tracking continues.
3. Long Term Tracking
Annual reports give team owners leverage on deciding salaries or whether or not to keep a player on the team.
The numbers don’t lie, and these numbers give owners and managers an idea of worth for a player. It’s easier now to put a value towards different aspects of a player – an example would be speed.
Players could be stacked up against one another and the player with the higher stats would be the better option. On paper at least.
Many factors go into selecting a player for a team. Having numerical values will help with selecting the right player for a team.
Bras recommendation for soccer …
There are few products on the market available for the average player. However, the company catapult has released a “GPS Vest” (Check it Here on Amazon) which is essentially a bra. It functions the same as the pros wear.
You get all the tracking data you need that is sent directly to your iPhone or Android phone. The bra is called PLAYR. It uses proprietary software that analyzes your different stats, such as total distance and total speed.
The vest itself is made of stretchy material that is lightweight, and easy to put on and off. Before you ask, yes it can withstand sweat and all the elements- from hot to cold.
Most people’s reviews you find on the material are positive and seem to withstand heavy usage. No rips or tears.
How does it detect your location?
A pod attaches to the back of the bra that tracks all your data. It collects your stats and delivers the info to an app on your phone.
However, there have been some complaints with the app connectivity issues. From what others are saying is this is more common with Android.
The one issue with the design is the pod is not as small as you might imagine. In fact, a fall on your back while wearing the pod may result in damage to the unit. It is lightweight and most people don’t notice they have it on. Besides the size, when it connects to the app it is accurate.
Accuracy is one of the most important attributes of a GPS bra. Next, to comfort and durability. The PLAYR excels in all three areas.
It is worth mentioning GPS trackers work only in open air areas. This means no domes. In order to connect to GPS you’ll need to be in an area with no obstructions. Only outdoor soccer players are going to benefit from this bra.
Is it still worth it to buy it?
The metrics gathered will help guide training sessions in the most beneficial directions. Any amateur soccer player will want to get a GPS tracker to keep track of progress. The one pros are not the only ones to benefit from the amazing technology.
Where this practice is the most common?
Who’s wearing bras? Every professional team is taking advantage of athlete tracking systems. Notable players such as Messi have been in the spotlight for sporting a tracking system.
Because of superstar players such as Messi wearing these bras, you can expect the popularity of them to explode all throughout the soccer community all the way down to the high school level.
Again, they are a bit odd to see on male athletes, but if Messi is wearing one then you can bet everyone is wearing one.
Who started this trend? Real Madrid is known to have been using these athletic trackers since way back in 2013. They have been around for a while.
They are mostly used in practice, but you may catch a professional player on the field wearing one if they take their jersey off.
Considering they are expensive, you will see them mostly used on the professional level.
Do goalies also wear bras?
Every player is wearing one and this includes goalies. They may not be running down the field, but they remain active on the field.
Top speed has to be recorded to make sure goalies are getting around the net fast enough. An athletic tracking system is going to let coaches know whether or not a goalie is agile.
During training sessions they are useful to understand how quickly a goalie can change directions in order to block a shot.
A slow goalie is a useless goaling. Acceleration and change of direction are key metrics for goalies.
Smart coaches will ensure their goalies are being tracked as much as any other player.
Another metric to consider is idle time. If a goalie is spending time idle, then that means the offense is keeping control of the ball longer than their opponent.
Coaches can gauge the success of their offense if their own goalie is spending more time idle than active.
What are they made from?
Typically, athlete trackers are made out of synthetic materials. This allows them to stretch and withstand sweat along with various weather conditions.
Cotton would not hold up to sweat. So, don’t expect your tracker to be soft to the touch like cotton would be. Instead, elastic materials are used and can cause chafing from friction while running.
The tracker itself is typically made of hard plastic. The PLYR is a good example of what most devices look like. They must be large enough to hold all the electronics needed to collect data.
A hard fall may knock them apart.
The more you spend the better the materials. Additionally, the more you spend the lighter and tougher they will be.
For an amatuer that has not made soccer their full time job such as a professional player, the PLAYR is perfect for the occasional training sessions.
Final Thoughts: Is this common in other sports?
Other sports have taken advantage of athletic tracking systems. The metrics these devices capture are useful to any coach of any sport.
There’s one thing to consider though – what sport is being tracked.
The NFL is using athletic tracking systems because their players are running long distances and have their own drills that require some type of tracking.
Golf players do not have the need for a tracking system since they are stationary up until they have to go move close to their ball after a hit, or after making it into a hole and on to the next one. Maybe they want to track their endurance then a tracking system could come in handy.
But, sports that require large amounts of running and athletic ability will have better use of a tracking system.
Any sport you can imagine that requires these two attributes will more than likely have a player utilizing an athletic tracker.
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