Why do Football Players wear GPS vests?

You’ve seen your favourite professional athletes wearing GPS vests in training and games, but have you ever wondered why they wear them?

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

“Why are all of these football players wearing black sports bras under their jerseys? 

“What is the sports bra that Ja’Marr Chase was wearing against the Patriots today?”

We see this question all the time on social media. So why do football players wear “sports bras”? Are they sports bras, or are the football players actually wearing vests?

The simple answer is: Yes, football players wear vests during training and games to track and measure their performance on the field. They are wearing a GPS vest that just happens to look like a sports bra. The vest is designed to hold a pod between the shoulder blades that contains a 10Hz GPS, an accelerometer and a magnetometer. These GPS devices are able to capture over 1250 data points per second to measure how much and how hard the players are working, and players and coaches are able to analyze data such as total distance, top speed, number of sprints, sprint distance, power, load, intensity, and more.

Those core metrics are displayed in an app for athletes, sport scientists, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches, and anyone else related to the sport 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 that looks like a sports bra instead of on the wrist or the waist?

Two main reasons for this:

  1. The vest holds the pod in the optimal position for tracking so it can reach the GPS satellites. This makes sure the data is as accurate and reliable as possible.
  2. It’s proven to be the safest place to put it for physical sports such as soccer, rugby, basketball and football.

Are GPS vests helpful for football players who aren’t professional athletes but just want to take their game to the next level?

Arguably, even more so. Data is the best way to improve your game. 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.

Track, Analyse, Improve

Catapult One is a sport tracking solution that measures the core metrics to make you a better player