Why do soccer players wear GPS vests?

You’ve seen the pro’s wearing vests in training and matches, but why do they wear them?

“What is the sports bra that Eden Hazard was wearing against Liverpool today?”

“Why are all the Bayern Munich wearing a black vest under their match jerseys?”

“Why is Mbappe wearing a sports bra during training?”

These are some of the questions we have seen on social media over the last couple of years, and we are going to answer them in this article.

Why do soccer players wear sports bras / vests?

To put it simply, soccer players wear those vests during training and games to track and measure their performance on the pitch and are commonly known as GPS vests. The vest is designed to hold a pod between the shoulder blades that contains a 10Hz GPS, an accelerometer and a magnetometer. Combined they capture over 1250 data points per second to measure how much and how hard the players are working with insight into data such as total distance, top speed, number of sprints, sprint distance, power, load, intensity, heatmap and more.

Those core metrics are displayed in an app for sport scientists, physiotherapists and strength and conditioning coaches to use to help inform if their team is training optimally for performance on game day, at potential risk of injury or returning from injury safely.

But why is it held in a vest like that? Why not on the wrist or the waist?

Two main reasons for this:

  1. The vest puts the pod in the optimal position for tracking as it has line of sight to GPS satellites above so you get more accurate and reliable data
  2. It’s proven to be the safest place to put it for physical sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball and football

Is it helpful for soccer players who aren’t professional?

Arguably, even more so. Without access to sports scientists or the data that pro clubs have, it’s difficult to find out how you can improve. That’s why we created Catapult One. After 15 years experience of providing these performance solutions to clubs such as Chelsea, Real Madrid, Ajax and Borussia Dortmund, we wanted to make a version available for aspiring players and coaches to help more players improve their game with the same technology and data as the pros.

Where can I get one?

Get your own now by joining Catapult One here.