Accuracy and Reliability of GPS Devices for Measurement of Sports-Specific Movement Patterns Related to Cricket, Tennis, and Field-Based Team Sports

Vickery W.M., Dascombe B.J., Baker J.D., Higham D.G., Spratford W.A., Duffield R.

Aim: This study aimed to assess the accuracy and reliability of 5, 10, and 15 Hz global positioning system (GPS) devices in measuring sports-specific movement patterns related to cricket, tennis, and field-based team sports.

Methods: Two male subjects completed 10 repetitions of drills simulating movements typical of tennis, cricket, and field-based sports. They wore two 5 and 10 Hz MinimaxX GPS devices and two GPS-Sports 15 Hz GPS devices in a specially designed harness. Criterion movement data for distance and speed were obtained from a 22-camera VICON system sampling at 100 Hz. Accuracy was assessed using one-way analysis of variance with Tukey’s post hoc tests. Interunit reliability was determined using intraclass correlation (ICC), and typical error was estimated as coefficient of variation (CV).

Results: The study found that the distance and speed measures obtained from the 5, 10, and 15 Hz GPS devices were not significantly different from the VICON data. However, the coefficient of variation (CV) for the 5 and 15 Hz devices ranged between 3 and 33%, with increasing variability evident in higher speed zones. Most ICC measures showed a low level of interunit reliability (r = -0.35 to 0.39).

Conclusion: Despite no significant differences from the criterion data, the study suggests that GPS devices may consistently underestimate distance and speed measures, especially in higher speed zones. Practitioners should be cautious when using these devices for sports-specific movement analysis.

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