PLL Partners with Tech Company Catapult to Track and Optimize Player Performance

PLL Partners with Tech Company Catapult to Track and Optimize Player Performance

Injuries are a part of pro sports, and that was evident in the Premier Lacrosse League’s lengthy injury report heading into their All-Star break. With just a 10-week 2021 season, the PLL’s goal is to maximize players’ availability, and one of the ways it plans to do that is through its partnership with Catapult.

On Tuesday, the PLL announced a new collaboration with Catapult to capture player performance data and deliver optimizations throughout the 2021 season. The initiative integrates information collected on the field into decisions on player health, load management and practice regimens, among other performance-based insights.

“We’ve seen Catapult’s impact on the world’s top performing athletes, and we’re excited to collaborate with them to enhance the way we strategize, play and train,” Paul Rabil, Co-founder and CMO of the PLL, said. “Their state-of-the-art tech offers us the tools to better understand performance trends, strengths and weaknesses, all to help us perform at our highest level. We’re thrilled to work with the Catapult team to elevate our players and product on-field.”

In a venture that began earlier this season and will continue through the duration of the 2021 PLL schedule, Catapult is equipping select players—including Archers attack Grant Ament, Redwoods midfielder Sergio Perkovic, and Whipsnakes long stick midfielder Michael Ehrhardt—with GPS-based wearable technology and athlete management software. The SaaS technology enables users and coaches to better manage workloads, optimize performance and mitigate injury risk.

“The PLL is a dynamic, fast-growing league that shares our commitment to driving the future of sports through innovation,” Will Lopes, Catapult CEO, said. “Our goal is to improve the performance of the athletes and teams we work with, and we’re excited to collaborate with the PLL to provide actionable insights into player performance, health and wellness.”

Ryan Brown sports the Catapult wearable as he suits up for a Waterdogs LC game. (Photo courtesy of PLL)

Founded in Melbourne in 2006, Catapult began as a partnership between the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC) to maximize the performance of Australian athletes ahead of the Sydney Olympics. After 15 years, Catapult provides software solutions that enable over 3,200 elite teams worldwide, across major leagues such as the NFL, EPL, NBA, NCAA, and NHL, to use technology to optimize performance.

So far through the first six weeks of the PLL season, the PLL and Catapult collected data and insights on player workload, sprinting distance, total distance, acceleration/deceleration, and change of direction, among others. Notable data highlights include:

  • Players covered 20% more ground during games they won
  • Similarly, players recorded a 20% increase in distance per high-speed effort during wins
  • Long stick midfielders logged 2.5 times more acceleration efforts and distance covered in wins
  • Midfielders recorded a 36% increase in high intensity change of direction efforts during wins

The partnership also has the potential to allow the PLL to enhance their TV broadcasts as well. In an interview from 2019, Mike and Paul Rabil suggested that fitness wearables could be used to track player health data and that data could be used to enhance broadcasts and help inform sports bettors placing live bets on games. While the league is still several steps away from that vision, they informed Lacrosse Playground that their intention is to eventually integrate player data into the broadcasts and their partnership with Catapult is a part of that plan.

In the meantime, the PLL and Catapult will continue to work together to translate findings into actionable optimizations and hope to elevate league-wide play and minimize injuries as a result.

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