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Wearable Technology at the Foot-Ground Level: Implications for Athlete Training Load Monitoring

Project Description

Back-mounted GPS and tri-axial accelerometer systems are currently used to monitor training load in applied sports science settings for the purposes of optimising training intensities and subsequent recovery, as well as for injury prevention and rehabilitation. Such systems are valid and reliable in certain contexts but are less accurate in fundamental movements inherent to many sports, such as shorter distance sprints or changes of direction. These systems have currently proved unable to accurately predict ground reaction forces or impact shock wave transmission through the body. It is therefore prudent to explore alternative wearable technologies (e.g., inertial measurement units and/or smart insoles for sport-specific footwear) for this purpose.

This project will involve recruiting and recording groups of male soccer players performing a series of fundamental sporting movements. Kinetic and kinematic parameters during the movements will be recorded using novel wearable technologies, as well as a back-mounted GPS and tri-axial accelerometer system and gold-standard force platform and three-dimensional motion capture systems. Similar methods may subsequently be used to differentiate between athletes of differing ability levels and to evaluate the efficacy of wearable technology based training programmes.

The aims of this PhD project are to:
1) Determine the validity and reliability of novel forms of wearable technology for measuring training load;
2) Compare the accuracy of novel forms of wearable technology to that of back-mounted GPS and tri-axial accelerometers as well as gold-standard measurement systems;
3) Identify threshold kinetic and kinematic values indicative of various levels of performance in fundamental sporting movements;
4) Evaluate the efficacy of a longitudinal training programme utilising novel wearable technologies.


For more information on the supervisors for this project please go to:
Primary Academic Supervisor:
Secondary Academic Supervisor:

Type of programme: PhD

Start date of project: Jan 2020

Mode of study: full time

Length of studentship:3 year funded period

Location: Ipswich Campus

Funding Notes

All basic requirements and consumables already exist / are to be covered by the school. However, an industry partner (SportScientia Ltd) have agreed to contribute £15,000 towards the sponsorship of this PhD project to increase the scope of the deliverables from the PhD and potential research outputs. A Memorandum of Understanding has been provided.UK/EU Only.

Entry requirements: acceptable first degree: Biological Sciences; Sport and Exercise. The standard minimum entry is 2:1


i) Beato, M., Bartolini, D., Ghia, G., & Zamparo, P. (2016). Accuracy of a 10 Hz GPS unit in measuring shuttle velocity performed at different speeds and distances (5–20 m). Journal of human kinetics, 54(1), 15-22.

ii) Beato, M., Coratella, G., Schena, F., & Hulton, A. T. (2017). Evaluation of the external and internal workload in female futsal players. Biology of sport, 34(3), 227.

iii) Beato, M., Devereux, G., & Stiff, A. (2018a). Validity and reliability of global positioning system units (STATSports Viper) for measuring distance and peak speed in sports. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 32(10), 2831-2837.

iv) Beato, M., Jamil, M., & Devereux, G. (2018b). Reliability of internal and external load parameters in recreational football (soccer) for health. Research in Sports Medicine, 26(2), 244-250.

v) Beato, M., Coratella, G., Stiff, A., & Dello Iacono, A. (2018c). The validity and between-unit variability of GNSS units (STATSports Apex 10 and 18 Hz) for measuring distance and peak speed in team sports. Frontiers in physiology, 9, 1288.

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