There has been something of a statistical renaissance across all sports over the last several years, with teams searching for any advantage over their opponents. For the Philadelphia Flyers, this quest for information has led to the use of a computer chip that tracks a player's efficiency and speed.
The chip, devised by a sports data analysis company called Catapult Sports, is mounted on the back of a player's shoulder pads and has been in place for each Flyer during practice all season.
“At the start, it was a little bit of getting used to just having it on there and you're not sure what the whole program is all about,” defenseman Luke Schenn told Dave Isaac of the Courier-Post. “For me personally, sometimes in a drill, if you take that extra one or two strides to get into the play, it works on your acceleration a bit and it tracks that.”
At this point, the Flyers are mostly in the data-building stage. They haven't, as a team, charted enough information to make any sort of general changes or additions to their practice routine.
Still, Schenn says, the information -- mostly data related to a player's acceleration and deceleration -- is useful on a personal basis.
“It's not like you're comparing like me versus Claude Giroux,” Schenn said. “It's just about yourself. It depends on how you were the practice before or the week before. It's basically a measuring stick against yourself.”
And, beyond that, Schenn expects his new knowledge of his own speed on the ice in practice to carry over to games.
“That's in those first two or three strides,” Schenn told Isaac. “That can be the difference for a puck race in a corner and getting involved in a play. If you start mentally thinking about that in practice, I think it will come more second nature in a game.”