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Thursday, August 15, 2013
Offbeat: GPS devices offer clues to energy use

By Calvin Watkins

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Dallas Cowboys are using GPS devices on 30 players to help monitor their movements, with the goal of evaluating how much energy is used during practice.

The New York Giants use a similar device for their entire team.

The device is placed in the back of the shoulder pads, and after every practice Brett Bech, the Cowboys' assistant strength and conditioning coach, downloads the data from the device.

Dallas has encountered numerous hamstring injuries -- including several to Miles Austin -- over the years, so the team decided to look at ways to combat the health issue. Several players also undergo extra stretching with Mike Woicik, the head of strength and conditioning, and Bech.

The Cowboys' wide receivers run a lot, it seems, between the individual, team and special-teams drills, so Bech monitors how much energy is exerted during practices. Depending on how a player reacts, extra stretching or scaling back their work in practice can be prescribed.

The Giants' GPS device checks hydration levels to show how much energy players have at certain points of practice.