Essential GPS Performance Guidelines

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Until now, GPS units and the collection of data has, been used by only a few sports and only at the elite level. This means Performance Guidelines are available for only these sports and at the elite level. Performance Guidelines are created by the E GPS measuring:

  • Total Distance Travelled
  • Maximum Speed
  • Average Speed
  • Time and Distance within each of 4 effort thresholds/speed ranges

GPS performance standards

Historically, GPS data collection has been part of only a few sporting codes, and only at the elite level. Nowadays, the use of GPS to learn about, and to benchmark player performance is spreading rapidly. Even so, most sporting organisations are still a long way off the point where they can publish normative data that players and coaches can refer to. Even when performance standards are available, the applicability of these figures to players outside of the elite level may be limited.

So, a commonly asked question is how can I interpret my GPS data, and when generating my stats, what figures should I use when determining what constitutes sprints and other thresholds?

At the bottom of the page is a table of thresholds that are used in AFL football. NB: this table does not go younger than U18. These figures will get many adults started, but really there is a lot of value in GPS data other than comparing your elite benchmarks and it should be obvious that every player and indeed every team will have their own targets that should be set according to needs. We would give the following advice or pointers to get new users started. This page is not exhaustive and is just something to get you started thinking about what you can do with data. Note also that our analysis templates are totally customisable, if you have need for a custom template, please contact us to discuss.

  • Most coaches will have a squad with some players that are doing well, and others that need to lift a bit. Try measuring the performance of players that you know are about the mark and then this can be a starting benchmark for others in your squad to work towards.
  • Recognise that player roles differ. For example, in AFL football, the full forward covers less distance than a midfielder. Number of sprint efforts might better reflect the work for a full-forward.
  • Players: set your own goals. Smart goals are ones that are achievable, and measurable. Progress that builds over time is usually a safe and sustainable approach. You can run statistics based on whatever thresholds you think are appropriate for you. Aim to improve your distance, average speed, number of sprint efforts, or whatever it is that you think needs improving. Try your best in the match and use the stats to measure your progress.
  • Look at the graphs: the plot of speed will show how your efforts are distributed throughout a match. Are you achieving high speeds (whatever that means for you) throughout the match, or does the speed drop off significantly as the match goes on?
  • Look at the pitch maps. Are you moving around the pitch in the patterns that support your role within the team strategies? It may be that your idea of what happened during the game, is very different to what your coach thought; the pitch map shows what really happened. All players, juniors especially, can learn a lot about the game by studying the pitch maps. Use the interactive map to watch your movements through key periods.

Australian Football

4 Effort Threshholds/Speed Ranges

  Low Medium High Sprint
State U18 0-6 kph 6-12kph 12-18kph 18+kph
SANFL League & Reserves 0-6 kph 6-18kph 18-23kph 23+kph
AFL 0-6 kph 6-18kph 18-26kph 26+kph



“The Essential GPS is a very cost effective way of obtaining performance based data. It’s compact, lightweight and really easy to use. You don’t have to be a sports scientist to understand it. Anyone can use it.” “I think the cost of this unit combined withit’s functionality, makes it a Must Have for anyone who wants to step up to the next level.” Dr Nigel Jamieson DBA, MBA, MSc, BA, Dip Ed, Grad Dip Out Ed, Grad Dip Rec, Dip Train&Assess, Dip Sustain

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