Magic Weekend 2022: The GPS stats that help Super League stars shine | rugby league news

Sky Sports will again provide viewers with live GPS player statistics showing top speed, intensity and distance covered in the magical Betfred Super League weekend; watch all six games from St James’ Park in Newcastle live on Sky Sports on Saturday and Sunday

Last update: 07/05/22 12:01 am

Harry Newman from Leeds wearing one of the GPS tracking vests that record live data

As a youngster tearing up the pitches of the Yorkshire Junior League with Newsome Panthers, Harry Newman hardly gave a thought to what top speed he was reaching or what levels of intensity he was playing at.

But since progressing through the Leeds Rhinos academy setup and now as an established Betfred Super League player, those numbers are an integral part of the 22-year-old’s life thanks to GPS stats collected through vests. Catapult sports shoes worn by players during games and training sessions.

This year’s Magic Weekend will once again see sky sports giving viewers live tracking data on top speed, game intensity and distance covered, and for players like Newman these are metrics that provide valuable insight into their performance.

“Growing up and moving up the ranks as a kid, you don’t think about your GPS stats,” said Newman, who set the top speed of 21.25 mph on the first day of Magic Weekend last year. sky sports.

“But when you get to play at this kind of level, everything matters, being able to get those kinds of results in the back of games helps you become a better player.

“If you can do better for longer, then you have a better chance of performing at the highest level that you want.”

As a three-quarter, speed and intensity are two of the stats Newman pays the most attention to, though a suspension means he’ll be a spectator this year when his Rhinos teammates take on the Castleford Tigers in the final game of the first day in St James’s Park.

I don’t think people realize the volume of data in sports and how people use it to understand when to push an athlete, when to make it easier on an athlete, and ultimately makes game day much More exciting.

Professor Ben Jones

However, when it comes to the 12 Super League teams, the data goes a long way in informing their match preparations and ensuring players can perform at their best at the points where games are most intense.

“There are two things,” said Professor Ben Jones, RFL and England Performance and Research Lead. sky sports. “People can see how hard athletes are working, but they can also see how much detail is needed to support athletes to perform at their best.

“I don’t think people realize the volume of data in sports and how people use it to understand when to put pressure on an athlete, when to make it easier on an athlete, and ultimately makes game day better. much more exciting.”

“A really important way to think when looking at the demands of matches is how do we prepare athletes to not only survive the toughest periods, but also thrive in them. Ultimately, it’s not just about running blind.” .

“It’s about being able to run and have good decision-making, catching, passing, kicking, making those really tough decisions in the heat of battle. We’ve been able to do that, and the coaches, the support staff and the clubs have come together. prepared”. do that and you see it in the games.

It has been 15 years since the first study on GPS player tracking in rugby was carried out, with one forward and one back wearing a tracker during a game.

Since then it has rapidly evolved to almost all players wearing vests and it won’t be long before they are equipped with instrumented mouth guards that will track the load players’ heads are exposed to.

Much of the progress made with this data in rugby league has come through collaboration and information sharing between clubs and the sport’s governing body, and Professor Jones is in no doubt that the well-being and player performance now go hand in hand.

Top GPS stats from Magic Weekend 2021

Look back at the leaders in top speed, intensity and distance covered from the magical 2021 Super League weekend in Newcastle.

“One thing we’ve seen is that it’s not about how hard people train, but how people train to perform at their best,” said Professor Jones. “It’s not about tiring people out, it’s about doing a training session to allow people to adapt to that.

“GPS allows us to understand where we’re trying to get to in terms of the hardest part of the game and the best way we can train for that. That’s really important because if we can train players effectively and efficiently, we reduce the risk of injury, we increase performance.

“That’s a benefit to player welfare and I think where we are now, performance and player welfare are the same thing. Helping players perform better and good player availability is also a good success of the game. equipment”.

Newman appreciates the fact that the data is used to improve the well-being of the players, as well as the performance levels they can achieve.

It’s great for us players to be able to see what we can achieve as athletes. We do all the training and work hard to be able to provide that because, at the end of the day, we’re artists and that’s what we’re here for.

Harry Newman

And knowing the heights he and his fellow Super League player can scale in various performance metrics, particularly in the hardest part of games and over the full 80 minutes, serves to propel them to even greater heights.

“It’s great for us players to see what we can accomplish as athletes,” Newman said.

“We do all the training and we work hard to be able to provide that because, at the end of the day, we’re artists and that’s what we’re here for.

“Being able to see it live and know what we’re hitting in games is great.”

Watch all six Betfred Super League Magic Weekend games at Newcastle’s St James’ Park exclusively live on Sky Sports on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th July.

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