Men in bras – it’s becoming more and more normal on the soccer pitch. Whether it’s BVB captain Marco Reus, Zlatan Ibrahimovic or former Bayern winger Franck Ribéry, who now plays for US Salernitana – many soccer stars wear a bustier under their jerseys. But why actually?
Admittedly, the footballers’ garments are not a classic women’s bra. Rather, the neoprene bra with integrated GPS consists of an upper-body strap and a small pocket in the back of the neck that contains the so-called monitor. This memory chip records the data of the professional soccer players, which is either viewed live on a computer on the sidelines or analyzed later. In the docking station case, all monitors are charged after use and all data is stored.
The so-called GPS bras are now used by many professional clubs during training sessions or test matches. “They record movements on the pitch and store the physical data about them,” explains sports physician Prof. Dr. Ingo Froböse of the Cologne Sports University in response to an atechbook inquiry. “Where is the player moving, how fast is he? What is his heart rate? When does his willingness to run decrease?” In addition, it is also possible to evaluate how players behave tactically among themselves, “and what forces, for example in a duel, are acting on them,” Froböse added.
— GPSports (@GPSportsSystems) March 2, 2016
Data should help with training optimization
With the help of data from the GPS bra, the coaching team can identify weaknesses in players, individually adjust the intensity of training and ultimately prevent injuries in soccer. Froböse cautions, however, against viewing the data as a central element: “Football should always remain a game. In training, the use of the bras makes sense. Deficits can be identified quickly and the intensity of the units can be optimized. The long-term development of the player can also be monitored well with the help of the BHs.” The great art, however, is to analyze the data correctly.
The BHs are said to be able to record up to 60 parameters per player. And they don’t just provide valuable information in an active state. For example, they can also be used to check sleep quality. After all, optimal regeneration is a relevant factor for overall fitness due to the high load during the season.
There are various systems and providers of the GPS bras. Top clubs such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Barcelona or Juventus Turin, for example, use the models from the US company GPSports. The system costs the clubs around 50,000 euros.
Coaches have more and more data and analysis at their disposal. Games and practice sessions are constantly filmed. The coaching staffs are growing all the time, and more and more experts are looking after the professionals. The transparent player is thus becoming more and more of a reality. Froböse to atechbook: “This is seen as too important. It’s absurd how match evaluations now work. Many things no longer have anything to do with the quality of the players. People hide behind science. And the individual quality of the players is pushed into the background. If you want to look at it simply: In the end, all that counts is looking at the table – which decides whether someone is successful or not.”
“Fans don’t want a mathematical game”
There is currently a debate about whether the bras should be allowed to be used in soccer matches. Froböse: ” I see this critically. The BH only records data and calculates things. It’s not beneficial for sports and performance if decisions are made on the basis of mathematics.” In sports, he said, a lot of things are random, and will remain that way.
“Fans don’t want a mathematical game, that would take out the emotionality,” Froböse believes. “The individuality is lost. It no longer matters how the player feels, what individual skills he has. You always have to see: It’s only the one who scores goals who has success.” Bayern did not score the most last season, he said. That was mainly the teams at the bottom, he said. “The playing ability is much more important than the data alone,” Froböse to atechbook. “A good coach simply sees whether a player needs to be substituted or not.”
How does the BH record soccer data?
Players can be located using GPS transmitters located in space. These use radio beams to transmit their current position and time to Earth at regular intervals. All GPS transmitters on the ground can thus calculate their own position. To do this, the GPS device must be in contact with at least four GPS satellites. Many devices, such as navigation systems, smartphones or even tablets, are equipped with GPS nowadays.