Wearables that track your movements in a game are getting ever more popular. But do they help you get better?
Playr consists of a smart pod, a vest and an app. The pod is inserted into the vest at the back, which is worn underneath or over a football top and sits at the top of the footballer’s back.
The pod connects with global positioning system (GPS) networks and the app for location-tracking, and monitors distance covered, sprint distance, where players have travelled and at what speed through a pitch heat map, and player load, which determines the physical and psychological stress felt by players based on factors such as oxygen consumption, maximum heart rate and exertion.
The pod is activated when it comes into contact with magnets in the vest and is charged wirelessly through the use of an induction charging pad.
The SmartVest is breathable, lightweight and based on the same design used by professional athletes and teams worldwide. It is a tight fit, preventing the Playr device from moving and providing more accurate data. The design holds the device in a padded sleeve placed between the shoulder blades, providing extra stability and a better GPS signal. The vests are fully approved to be used in matches, unlike wrist-based trackers.
While the vest is there to keep the smart pod in place, it acts rather like a sports bra. This may be a little disconcerting to some men, but as this male reviewer found, the support it gives is rather helpful when doing training (even if that’s not the main reason for wearing it!).
The accuracy of the readings is amazing! We were able to not only compare our stats against people around us but it compared our stats against the professional footballers that also use the football GPS vest.
Overall, a great product, good to track your speed, power etc being able to improve on results is a key thing for most athletes. Small improvements lead to big improvements.