Shameek Farrell knows the beautiful game inside and out, but when he gives the CATAPULT ONE app a whirl, the results blow him away. It’s a game changer for players at every level of football.
Over the past decade, we’ve seen technology play an essential role in enhancing players’ performance, and even more so now. There’s been an undeniable demand for players, coaches, and managers to examine data in real-time to help pinch extra performance out of a player and collectively as a team. In a game of fine margins, any advantage over your opposite number is a win. The game is forever evolving, and we have to grow with it too.
I’ve experienced the game at every level, from playing at Tottenham Hotspurs Academy as a young teenager, then semi-professionally with a handful of clubs throughout my twenties, and not to forget, my midweek five-a-side kickabout with my friends. Over the years, my game has changed from being a winger who would traditionally stay out wide and get “chalk on your boots” to now being heavily involved with build-up play, drifting from side to side, or dropping in deep to receive the ball in tight areas. I would call myself a “freelance midfielder”, or most people would call it the ten-role, and over the years we’ve seen a rise of teams accommodating their creative players to do what they do best. And that’s not the only thing that’s changed about our game. The game has gotten faster, the players are stronger, fitter, and more determined to be the best versions of themselves whenever they step onto the pitch. At twenty-nine, I still have that drive to be the best I can be, and I always attempt to find new ways to help maintain high levels of performance or ways to improve my output on the pitch whenever I play or train.
During my time at Tottenham Hotspurs Academy, every detail of my game was under an intense microscope, from my sprint speed to the distance covered during a match. There was no hiding from data, and I thrived off that. Back then, you’d have to wait several days before you could review your data from a match, and it was nowhere near the level of information that we can obtain now. The stats that the players and coaches can receive are more in-depth, more accurate, and can be instantly broken down to ensure the players are being developed correctly with more knowledge and the right care. Previously, this level of insight was only open to players at the elite level, but now you’re seeing a large number of semi-pro clubs and even some grassroots teams being able to have access to tracking devices or recording of games, which is amazing to see.
For years, players may not have known how or where to improve their game, but CATAPULT ONE is bridging the gap and allowing everyone to raise their game by tracking data when they play, providing professional coaching tips and nutritional advice. Game changer, right?
When I got the call-up to test out the CATAPULT ONE app, naturally, I was excited to see how it works first-hand, and I was especially intrigued to see my stats after the game and how I would compare to the pros. As I geared up to play my first game of the season under the lights over in West London, light drizzle graced the pitch, and all those pre-match jitters started to fade. I slipped on my vest, and off I went. Ninety minutes later, after a hard-fought game, I got back to the changing room eager to review my stats from the game. When I went into the app for the first time, it completely blew me away.
The in-app features such as the Catapult Academy are truly impressive. As well as seeing data from a match or training, you can access training drills to help you warm up more efficiently, agility drills, workouts to help gradually increase your speed and improve your running technique over time.
When reviewing your session in the app, you’re greeted with an analytical breakdown of your performance. Top speed, distance, power, and sprint distance. Each metric reveals what you did, what your target is, and how you compare against the pros who use the same device week-in-week-out. Over time, once you get a handful of games under your belt, you’ll be able to compare past performances. The stats will show if you’ve improved in a specific area, if you’ve met your average target, and it’ll also show you what you’re down on, which might be an area for the player to improve on. I believe that when players review their stats, it’ll galvanise and inspire them to elevate their game like never before. For a lot of players around the world, this is the final piece to the puzzle to help complete your game.
Another exciting feature for me is the post-game heat-map. It makes you feel like you are being analysed on Sky Sports! But above all, everything is really simple to use, from the connectivity of the pod to the breakdown of your stats, and most importantly, it gives you a real sense of confidence and much-needed direction when you need it the most.
Once you explore the app further, you’ll also see nutritional advice within the Catapult Academy. I feel this is one area a lot of players struggle with no matter what level you play. Being able to have this information available at your fingertips is a game-changer. You can train all you want, but if your diet isn’t correct, you’ll struggle to see any results, and that’s also very important to have in mind. The food you consume has a massive effect on performance levels. Honestly, the amount of thought to make the app as holistic as possible is beyond words. I wish something like this had been available to me when I was younger. Now, at every game or training session, you have a portable coach on your phone wherever you go, and that can only be beneficial to anyone who uses it.
I will unquestionably continue to use it throughout the season and I would highly recommend the CATAPULT ONE, not only just to young players who have aspirations of playing at elite level. Whether you play semi-professionally or Sunday league football, CATAPULT ONE helps to bridge the gap between elite, grassroots, and everything else in-between. Giving all players the resource to help unlock their potential is the biggest win of them all.
Individuals £13.99 per month
Team: £149.99 per player, per year.