Validity and Reliability of an Accelerometer-Based Player Tracking Device

Nicolella D.P., Torres-Ronda L., Saylor K.J., Schelling X.

This study aimed to determine the intra- and inter-device accuracy and reliability of wearable athletic tracking devices, under controlled laboratory conditions. A total of nineteen portable accelerometers (Catapult OptimEye S5) were mounted to an aluminum bracket, bolted directly to an Unholtz Dickie 20K electrodynamic shaker table, and subjected to a series of oscillations in each of three orthogonal directions (front-back, side to side, and up-down), at four levels of peak acceleration (0.1g, 0.5g, 1.0g, and 3.0g), each repeated five times resulting in a total of 60 tests per unit, for a total of 1140 records. Data from each accelerometer was recorded at a sampling frequency of 100Hz.

Peak accelerations recorded by the devices, Catapult PlayerLoadTM, and calculated player load (using Catapult’s Cartesian formula) were used for the analysis. The devices demonstrated excellent intra-device reliability and mixed inter-device reliability. Differences were found between devices for mean peak accelerations and PlayerLoadTM for each direction and level of acceleration. Inter-device effect sizes ranged from a mean of 0.54 (95% CI: 0.34–0.74) (small) to 1.20 (95% CI: 1.08–1.30) (large) and ICCs ranged from 0.77 (95% CI: 0.62–0.89) (very large) to 1.0 (95% CI: 0.99–1.0) (nearly perfect) depending upon the magnitude and direction of the applied motion.

When compared to the player load determined using the Cartesian formula, the Catapult reported PlayerLoadTM was consistently lower by approximately 15%. These results emphasize the need for industry-wide standards in reporting validity, reliability, and the magnitude of measurement errors. It is recommended that device reliability and accuracy are periodically quantified.

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