Magic Weekend 2022: The GPS stats that make Super League stars shine | Rugby League News
Sky Sports will once again present viewers with live GPS player stats showing top speed, intensity and distance covered since the Betfred Super League Magic Weekend; watch all six games from St James’ Park to Newcastle live on Sky Sports on Saturday and Sunday
By Marc Bazeley
Last update: 05/07/22 00:01
As a ripping youngster on the playing fields of the Yorkshire Junior League with Newsome Panthers, Harry Newman hardly gave any thought to the top speed he was reaching or the intensity levels he was playing at.
But since progressing to the Leeds Rhinos academy setup and now as an established player in the Betfred Super League, those numbers have become an integral part of the 22-year-old’s life thanks to GPS stats collected via the Catapult Sports vests worn by players during matches and practices.
This year’s Magic Weekend will again see sky sports bringing viewers live data on top speed, game intensity and distance covered, and for gamers like Newman, these are metrics that provide valuable input into their performance.
“Growing up and climbing 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 of the year. last. sky sports.
“But when you get to play at that kind of level, it all counts, being able to pull off those kinds of outings in the back-end of games helps you become a better player.
“If you can do it better for longer, it gives you a better chance of performing at the highest level you want to perform at.”
As a three-quarter, speed and intensity are two of the stats Newman pays most attention to, although a suspension means he will be a spectator this year when his Rhinos teammates take on the Castleford Tigers in the last game of the first day at Parc Saint-James.
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 for an athlete, and ultimately it makes the game that much more exciting.
Professor Ben Jones
When it comes to the 12 Super League teams, the data goes a long way in informing their preparations for matches by ensuring players are able to perform at their best when matches are most intense.
“There are two things,” said Prof Ben Jones, RFL and England performance and research manager. sky sports. “People can see how hard athletes work, but they can also see how athletes are supported to perform at their best.
“I don’t think people realize the volume of data in sport and how people use it to understand when to push an athlete, when to make it easier for an athlete, and ultimately it makes game day that much more exciting.
“A very important way to think when we look at match requests is how to prepare athletes to not just survive in these most difficult times, but to thrive in them. Ultimately, it’s not about not just running around blindly.
“It’s about being able to run and make good decisions, catch, pass, shoot, make those really tough decisions in the heat of the moment. We were able to do that, and the coaches, support staff and clubs have prepared to do this and it shows in the games.”
It’s been 15 years since the first study of GPS player tracking was conducted in rugby, with a forward and a back wearing a tracker during a game.
Since then it has rapidly evolved to have nearly all players wearing vests and it won’t be long before they are fitted 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 is due to collaboration and information sharing between clubs and the sport’s governing body, and Professor Jones has no doubt that the well-being of players and performance now go hand in hand.
The main GPS statistics of Magic Weekend 2021
A look back at the top speed, intensity and distance leaders at Super League Magic Weekend 2021 in Newcastle.
“One thing we’ve seen is that it’s not about how hard people train, it’s about how people train to perform at their best.” , said Professor Jones. “It’s not about making people tired, it’s about doing a workout to allow people to adapt to that.
“GPS allows us to understand where we’re trying to get to the hardest part of the game and the best way to train for that. That’s really important because if we can train players effectively and efficiently, we reduce the risk of injury, performance is increased.
“It’s a benefit for player welfare and I think where we are now, performance and player welfare is the same thing. Helping players perform better and good player availability is also a good success for the team.”
Newman is grateful that the data is used to improve the well-being of 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.
And knowing the heights he and his fellow Super League player can achieve in various performance metrics, especially in the toughest part of games and the full 80 minutes, serves to push them to even greater heights.
“It’s great for us players to be able to see what we can accomplish as athletes,” Newman said.
“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.
“Being able to see it live and know what we hit in games is great.”
Watch all six games of the Betfred Super League magic weekend at Newcastle’s St James’s Park exclusively live on Sky Sports on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July.