Since our relationship started with VX Sport pre-2010, the product has developed into one of the world’s leading GPS athlete tracking systems. The software interface is easy to use, understand, and navigate through which makes complicated data analysis relatively simple for a sport scientist or strength and conditioning coach. VX Sport also allows a client to decide on a number of software options that vary in price depending on the depth of the analysis that is needed. A weekend warrior who enjoys his or her trail running may want a less complicated software system than the software system that a professional sports team may want. This makes the product very accessible to a wide range of athletes, from the weekend warrior right the way up to the elite levels of professional sport. The VX Sport team are always open to suggestions from their clients on how to make the software interface even better or easier to work with and it is not uncommon for new software updates to contain new additions to the software that were asked for by their clients.
The hardware has also changed and developed over the years as technology has improved and become more refined. The hardware provides accurate and reliable data that can be downloaded either after a trading session or after match or can be captured live using a small and compact live receiver. The robust carry case doubles up as a charging station and makes transporting the system and downloading GPS data an absolute breeze. Each GPS unit weighs only 50 grams and sits comfortably inside a lightweight and breathable VX Sport vest that comes in a number of different sizes. A 10 Hz Swiss GPS chip allows the GPS unit to communicate with the GPS satellites orbiting the Earth at a rate of 10 times per second, which is more than adequate for tracking athletes movements around the sporting field. 3 accelerometers and 3 magnetometers inside the unit measure the different forces placed on the athletes body, and when paired with a wireless Bluetooth LE coded heart rate monitor, provides all round physical performance stats.
We have been involved with VX Sport for many years and have found the personal touch and technical support that their staff provide to be excellent. It is fantastic to know that if you have any questions or suggestions about the product, the VX Sport Science team will get back to you as soon as they possibly can. With Stellenbosch University being based in South Africa and VX Sport being based in New Zealand, one would expect the time difference between the two countries to cause issues with product support. However, with VX Sport this is not an issue and we are more than satisfied with the support that they provide us from the other side of the world.
As we are an academic institution that primarily works with student-athletes across a multitude of different sporting codes, we are constantly looking to benchmark how we work with our student-athletes with the best teams in the world. VX Sport has been phenomenal in helping us connect with international sport teams and clubs that use the VX Sport system. This has provided us with fantastic learning opportunities for our sport scientists, strength, and conditioning staff over the years. A regular interaction that VX Sport has enabled us to have is with the New Zealand Super Rugby team, the Auckland Blues, who also make use of the VX Sport system. Many hours have been spent discussing the use of GPS systems in sport with the Blues staff and this would not have been possible without the VX Sport team.
Overall, the VX Sport system is a great product to work with. The simple and easy to use hardware and software provided by VX Sport, coupled with fantastic customer support from the VX Sport Sport Science team make this sports wearable product a great addition to any sports team or athlete looking to take their athletic performances to the next level.
Opinion piece by Grant van Velden (@gvanvelden;@SUSportTech), High Performance Sport Scientist and Sport Technology Manager at the Centre for Performance Sciences at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.