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Martin Buchheit, Hani Al Haddad, Ben M. Simpson, Dino Palazzi, Pitre C. Bourdon, Valter Di Salvo and Alberto Mendez-Villanueva

The aims of the current study were to examine the magnitude of between-GPS-models differences in commonly reported running-based measures in football, examine between-units variability, and assess the effect of software updates on these measures. Fifty identical-brand GPS units (15 SPI-proX and 35 SPIproX2, 15 Hz, GPSports, Canberra, Australia) were attached to a custom-made plastic sled towed by a player performing simulated match running activities. GPS data collected during training sessions over 4 wk from 4 professional football players (N = 53 files) were also analyzed before and after 2 manufacturersupplied software updates. There were substantial differences between the different models (eg, standardized difference for the number of acceleration >4 m/s2 = 2.1; 90% confidence limits [1.4, 2.7], with 100% chance of a true difference). Between-units variations ranged from 1% (maximal speed) to 56% (number of deceleration >4 m/s2). Some GPS units measured 2–6 times more acceleration/deceleration occurrences than others. Software updates did not substantially affect the distance covered at different speeds or peak speed reached, but 1 of the updates led to large and small decreases in the occurrence of accelerations (–1.24; –1.32, –1.15) and decelerations (–0.45; –0.48, –0.41), respectively. Practitioners are advised to apply care when comparing data collected with different models or units or when updating their software. The metrics of accelerations and decelerations show the most variability in GPS monitoring and must be interpreted cautiously.

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Ryu Nagahara, Alberto Botter, Enrico Rejc, Masaaki Koido, Takeshi Shimizu, Pierre Samozino and Jean-Benoit Morin

Purpose:

To test the concurrent validity of data from 2 different global positioning system (GPS) units for obtaining mechanical properties during sprint acceleration using a field method recently validated by Samozino et al.

Methods:

Thirty-two athletes performed maximal straight-line sprints, and their running speed was simultaneously measured by GPS units (sampling rate: 20 or 5 Hz) and either a radar or laser device (devices taken as references). Lower-limb mechanical properties of sprint acceleration (theoretical maximal force, theoretical maximal speed, maximal power) were derived from a modeling of the speed–time curves using an exponential function in both measurements. Comparisons of mechanical properties from 20- and 5-Hz GPS units with those from reference devices were performed for 80 and 62 trials, respectively.

Results:

The percentage bias showed a wide range of overestimation or underestimation for both systems (-7.9% to 9.7% and -5.1% to 2.9% for 20- and 5-Hz GPS), while the ranges of its 90% confidence limits for 20-Hz GPS were markedly smaller than those for 5-Hz GPS. These results were supported by the correlation analyses.

Conclusions:

Overall, the concurrent validity for all variables derived from 20-Hz GPS measurements was better than that obtained from the 5-Hz GPS units. However, in the current state of GPS devices’ accuracy for speed–time measurements over a maximal sprint acceleration, it is recommended that radar, laser devices, and timing gates remain the reference methods for implementing the computations of Samozino et al.

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Sandra C. Webber and Michelle M. Porter

This exploratory study examined the feasibility of using Garmin global positioning system (GPS) watches and ActiGraph accelerometers to monitor walking and other aspects of community mobility in older adults. After accuracy at slow walking speeds was initially determined, 20 older adults (74.4 ± 4.2 yr) wore the devices for 1 day. Steps, distances, and speeds (on foot and in vehicle) were determined. GPS data acquisition varied from 43 min to over 12 hr, with 55% of participants having more than 8 hr between initial and final data-collection points. When GPS data were acquired without interruptions, detailed mobility information was obtained regarding the timing, distances covered, and speeds reached during trips away from home. Although GPS and accelerometry technology offer promise for monitoring community mobility patterns, new GPS solutions are required that allow for data collection over an extended period of time between indoor and outdoor environments.

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Denise Jennings, Stuart Cormack, Aaron J. Coutts, Luke Boyd and Robert J. Aughey

Purpose:

To assess the validity and reliability of distance data measured by global positioning system (GPS) units sampling at 1 and 5 Hz during movement patterns common to team sports.

Methods:

Twenty elite Australian Football players each wearing two GPS devices (MinimaxX, Catapult, Australia) completed straight line movements (10, 20, 40 m) at various speeds (walk, jog, stride, sprint), changes of direction (COD) courses of two different frequencies (gradual and tight), and a team sport running simulation circuit. Position and speed data were collected by the GPS devices at 1 and 5 Hz. Distance validity was assessed using the standard error of the estimate (±90% confidence intervals [CI]). Reliability was estimated using typical error (TE) ± 90% CI (expressed as coefficient of variation [CV]).

Results:

Measurement accuracy decreased as speed of locomotion increased in both straight line and the COD courses. Difference between criterion and GPS measured distance ranged from 9.0% to 32.4%. A higher sampling rate improved validity regardless of distance and locomotion in the straight line, COD and simulated running circuit trials. The reliability improved as distance traveled increased but decreased as speed increased. Total distance over the simulated running circuit exhibited the lowest variation (CV 3.6%) while sprinting over 10 m demonstrated the highest (CV 77.2% at 1 Hz).

Conclusion:

Current GPS systems maybe limited for assessment of short, high speed straight line running and efforts involving change of direction. An increased sample rate improves validity and reliability of GPS devices.

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Daniel A. Rodriguez, Gi-Hyoug Cho, John P. Elder, Terry L. Conway, Kelly R. Evenson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Elizabeth Shay, Deborah Cohen, Sara Veblen-Mortenson, Julie Pickrell and Leslie Lytle

Background:

Studies that have combined accelerometers and global positioning systems (GPS) to identify walking have done so in carefully controlled conditions. This study tested algorithms for identifying walking trips from accelerometer and GPS data in free-living conditions. The study also assessed the accuracy of the locations where walking occurred compared with what participants reported in a diary.

Methods:

A convenience sample of high school females was recruited (N = 42) in 2007. Participants wore a GPS unit and an accelerometer, and recorded their out-of-school travel for 6 days. Split-sample validation was used to examine agreement in the daily and total number of walking trips with Kappa statistics and count regression models, while agreement in locations visited by walking was examined with geographic information systems.

Results:

Agreement varied based on the parameters of the algorithm, with algorithms exhibiting moderate to substantial agreement with self-reported daily (Kappa = 0.33−0.48) and weekly (Kappa = 0.41−0.64) walking trips. Comparison of reported locations reached by walking and GPS data suggest that reported locations are accurate.

Conclusions:

The use of GPS and accelerometers is promising for assessing the number of walking trips and the walking locations of adolescent females.

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Laura C. Reid, Jason R. Cowman, Brian S. Green and Garrett F. Coughlan

Global positioning systems (GPS) are widely used in sport settings to evaluate the physical demands on players in training and competition. The use of these systems in the design and implementation of rehabilitation and return-to-running programs has not yet been elucidated.

Objective:

To demonstrate the application of GPS technology in the management of return to play in elite-club Rugby Union.

Design:

Case series.

Setting:

Professional Rugby Union club team.

Participants:

8 elite Rugby Union players (age 27.86 ± 4.78 y, height 1.85 ± 0.08 m, weight 99.14 ± 9.96 kg).

Intervention:

Players wore GPS devices for the entire duration of a club game.

Main Outcome Measures:

Variables of locomotion speed and distance were measured.

Results:

Differences in physical demands between playing positions were observed for all variables.

Conclusions:

An analysis of the position-specific physical demands measured by GPS provides key information regarding the level and volume of loads sustained by a player in a game environment. Using this information, sports-medicine practitioners can develop rehabilitation and return-to-running protocols specific to the player position to optimize safe return to play.

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Melody Oliver, Hannah Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Mitch J. Duncan and Scott Duncan

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and accelerometers are powerful tools to explain activity within a built environment, yet little integration of these tools has taken place. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of combining GPS, GIS, and accelerometry to understand transport-related physical activity (TPA) in adults.

Methods:

Forty adults wore an accelerometer and portable GPS unit over 7 consecutive days and completed a demographics questionnaire and 7-day travel log. Accelerometer and GPS data were extracted for commutes to/from workplace and integrated into a GIS database. GIS maps were generated to visually explore physical activity intensity, GPS speeds and routes traveled.

Results:

GPS, accelerometer, and survey data were collected for 37 participants. Loss of GPS data was substantial due to a range of methodological issues, such as low battery life, signal drop out, and participant noncompliance. Nonetheless, greater travel distances and significantly higher speeds were observed for motorized trips when compared with TPA.

Conclusions:

Pragmatic issues of using GPS monitoring to understand TPA behaviors and methodological recommendations for future research were identified. Although methodologically challenging, the combination of GPS monitoring, accelerometry and GIS technologies holds promise for understanding TPA within the built environment.

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Kathleen Meghan Wieters, Jun-Hyun Kim and Chanam Lee

Background:

Responding to the growing interest in the environmental influences on physical activity, and the concerns about the limitations of self-report data, this study evaluates Global Positioning System (GPS) units for measuring outdoor physical activity.

Methods:

Four GPS models were selected to test their accuracy related to adherence to an actual route walked, variations based on position of unit on user’s body, and variations against a known geodetic point. A qualitative assessment was performed using the following criteria: a) battery life, b) memory capacity, c) initial satellite signal acquisition time, d) ease of data transfer to other programs, e) wearability, f) ease of operation, g) suitability for specific study populations, and h) price.

Results and Conclusions:

The Garmin Forerunner provided the most accurate data for data points collected along a known route. Comparisons based on different body placement of units showed some variations. GlobalSat reported battery life of 24 hours, compared with 9–15 hours for the other units. The static test using ANOVA showed that the Garmin Foretrex’s data points compared with a geodetic point was significantly more accurate than the other 3 models. GPS units appear promising as a tool to capture objective data on outdoor physical activities.

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Carl Petersen, David Pyne, Marc Portus and Brian Dawson

Purpose:

The validity and reliability of three commercial global positioning system (GPS) units (MinimaxX, Catapult, Australia; SPI-10, SPI-Pro, GPSports, Australia) were quantified.

Methods:

Twenty trials of cricket-specific locomotion patterns and distances (walking 8800 m, jogging 2400 m, running 1200 m, striding 600 m, sprinting 20- to 40-m intervals, and run-a-three) were compared against criterion measures (400-m athletic track, electronic timing). Validity was quantified with the standard error of the estimate (SEE) and reliability estimated using typical error expressed as a coefficient of variation.

Results:

The validity (mean ± 90% confidence limits) for locomotion patterns walking to striding ranged from 0.4 ± 0.1 to 3.8 ± 1.4%, whereas for sprinting distances over 20 to 40 m including run-a-three (approx. 50 m) the SEE ranged from 2.6 ± 1.0 to 23.8 ± 8.8%. The reliability (expressed as mean [90% confidence limits]) of estimating distance traveled by walking to striding ranged from 0.3 (0.2 to 0.4) to 2.9% (2.3 to 4.0). Similarly, mean reliability of estimating different sprinting distances over 20 to 40 m ranged from 2.0 (1.6 to 2.8) to 30.0% (23.2 to 43.3).

Conclusions:

The accuracy and bias was dependent on the GPS brand employed. Commercially available GPS units have acceptable validity and reliability for estimating longer distances (600–8800 m) in walking to striding, but require further development for shorter cricket-specifc sprinting distances.

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Andrew D. White and Niall MacFarlane

Purpose:

The current study assessed the impact of full-game (FG) and time-on-pitch (TOP) procedures for global-positioning-system (GPS) analysis on the commonly used markers of physical performance in elite field hockey.

Methods:

Sixteen international male field hockey players, age 19–30, were studied (yielding 73 player analyses over 8 games). Physical activity was recorded using a 5-Hz GPS.

Results:

Distance covered, player load, maximum velocity, high-acceleration efforts, and distance covered at specified speed zones were all agreeable for both analysis procedures (P > .05). However, percentage time spent in 0–6 km/h was higher for FG (ES: –21% to –16%; P < .001), whereas the percentage time in all other speed zones (1.67–3.06 m/s, 3.06–4.17 m/s, 4.17–5.28 m/s, and > 6.39 m/s) and relative distance (m/min) were higher for TOP (ES: 8–10%, 2–7%, 2–3%, 1–1%, 0–1%, respectively; P < .001).

Conclusions:

These data demonstrate that GPS analysis procedures should be appropriate for the nature of the sport being studied. In field hockey, TOP and FG analysis procedures are comparable for distance-related variables but significantly different for time-dependent factors. Using inappropriate analysis procedures can alter the perceived physiological demand of elite field hockey because of “rolling” substitutions. Inaccurate perception of physiological demand could negatively influence training prescription (for both intensity and volume).