We purchased a Playermaker and put it through its paces for a month to investigate whether this wearable football tracker really works and if it’s worth buying.
Playermaker is a wearable performance-tracking system geared towards helping footballers better understand and improve their output.
Championed by the likes of Arsene Wenger, the hardware has been battle-tested at five-a-side knock-arounds and the training bases of Champions League heavyweights.
The product itself is a discreet pair of motion-sensing straps that slip over each of your boots. As you play, the system logs and sends data to the Playermaker app.
A dizzying array of metrics – kick velocity, distance covered, and touches by leg to name a few – are then presented via your Apple or Android device.
For those not familiar with this new form of football tracking tech, the following video from Playermaker is perhaps the easiest way to quickly understand what it is:
Playermaker styles itself as a cut above the GPS tracking products that have swarmed the marketplace in recent years, with myriad features purportedly separating it from the herd.
For a month, we put the system through its paces to evaluate that claim. This is what we found.
Playermaker Review Key Findings
Playermaker is a high-end product used by club sides at the highest level and represents stellar value for money. Our test results were convincing. Playermaker brings industry-leading insights, in an affordable package, for players and teams at all levels.
With an ‘Excellent’ Trustpilot rating, and a 30 money-back guarantee so you can see if it works for you risk free, we feel it’s definitely worth trying.
Use discount code premierinjuries for an extra 15% off all Playermaker plans.
The Playermaker system was designed with players across the spectrum in mind – playground rising stars, Sunday league guns for hire, and elite-level professionals are all catered for.
The lightweight spec works on pretty much any footwear and is built to withstand all weather conditions and playing surfaces.
Parents can use the data picked up by the sensors to pinpoint potential improvements in their kids’ games, while more experienced players can iron out weaknesses that otherwise might have gone unnoticed.
We purchased a Playermaker, via the Playermaker website, and then tested the boot-mounted sensors’ credentials on indoor and outdoor pitches, of varying standards, over a period of a month. Here’s what we found…
First off, some admin. In the box, you’ll find:
- two smart sensors,
- two wearable straps,
- a charging case,
- a charging cable,
- and a how-to manual.
The product has the premium feel you’d expect from what is ultimately an addition to your kitbag. Once the motion sensors are in-situ, you don’t notice them a huge amount. But ensure correct mounting, otherwise your metrics will either be inaccurately recorded or not logged at all.
That’s the hardware. Now, the software. When setting up your device, you’ll be prompted to sign up to the Playermaker app, available to download from the App Store or Google Play Store. This is where, after syncing your sensors and taking them for a spin, you’ll track your data.
Users can toggle between match and practice modes via the app, with separate functions for small-sided games and various on-the-ball and off-the-ball training formats.
The level of customisation is truly impressive, but even more so is the number of metrics covered.
While chest-mounted sensors register only physical output, Playermaker records technical performance too. We were able to analyse our number and type of touches, number of possessions, time on the ball, time to release, kick power and technical balance.
You’ll also get the traditional metrics: distance covered, top speed, sprints distance, number of sprints work rate, and acceleration/deceleration.
There are fewer useful metrics for goalkeepers, however, and the lack of a heatmap feature is a little underwhelming.
Playermaker Analysis & Insights
The app offers a kaleidoscopic range of analysis and insights, including links to sleep and nutrition, which we haven’t seen offered in a data tracking system before.
This feature allows players to tailor their physical loads in terms of rest and recovery, ensuring they create the ideal conditions for natural talent to flourish.
In terms of reviewing the data itself, the app is user-friendly and makes good use of infographics. If you’re a parent, it’s a good starting point to introduce your kids to analysing statistics.
You can view your personal bests in each metric and compare them to fellow Playermaker users around the world, including the pros. It’s definitely a dopamine release when you check your numbers after a game and discover you’ve set a new record for hardest kick.
This is the device’s outstanding feature, to go beyond anecdotal evidence and turn suspicions about your game into quantifiable data.
Playermaker Ease of Use
Other than a quick wipe-down after a session on wetter playing surfaces, charging the device is the only concern in terms of upkeep.
We found that the battery life lasts slightly less than the advertised 10 hours, so ensure you have enough juice before embarking on a session. If the sensors die before you put them back into the case, you’ll lose all your data from that session (which caught us out on a couple of occasions), so it’s best not to sail too close to the wind when you’re down to the dregs of battery life.
The wearable tech weighs in at 80 g (2.8 oz), around half of a typical GPS vest system.
The design is sleek, although perhaps slightly bulkier than ideal around the inner ankle. This can occasionally make touches on the instep a little unpredictable, but it’s a problem we encountered only two or three times in around 50 hours of testing.
In-game practicality aside, the app is easy to navigate and the sensor-to-phone Bluetooth connection runs flawlessly. Data visualisation is clean and interactive enough to share with kids and offers more than enough depth to truly optimise your game accordingly. It’s easy to spot if you are, say, too reliant on one foot, or if you’re recording too many long possessions.
If the how-to guide doesn’t answer your questions, you can book a 20-minute ‘onboarding meeting’ through the Playermaker website. It’s a nice touch, although we didn’t have any recourse to use the service.
The product is backed by the footballing glitterati and used by club sides at the highest level.
Arsene Wenger, who now owns shares in the company, was an early adopter when a demonstration from Fulham’s academy convinced him of its potential to disrupt the data tracking industry.
A trailblazer in the fields of sport science and data analytics, Wenger’s personal endorsement is perhaps the highest seal of approval, but Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott is also onboard as a brand ambassador, while Fulham, Hull City and Rangers have signed up as official partners.
As well as commercial tie-ins, a cursory glance at the Management Team section of the Playermaker website – where a reassuring combination of PhDs and sports smarts are on display – is a decent litmus test of the brains behind the product.
It’s one thing to be impressed by a product when everything goes smoothly but what about when things don’t go so well and you need assistance?
We found the initial purchase and delivery very straightforward.
Whilst testing Playermaker, we didn’t encounter any significant issues, so had no need to engage with support and experience how well they respond to calls for help.
So we turned to Playermaker’s Trustpilot account. It was reassuring to see them rated as ‘Excellent’ from their several hundred reviews.
What was particularly reassuring is how they respond to any issues raised by their customers and negative reviews. Each one we saw was given a personal response that directly addressed any issues raised. This is refreshing to see, given how many brand’s lazily copy & paste a generic response of little value.
Playermaker is offered as a subscription service with no upfront cost for the device itself. We’re used to seeing the trend of wearable tech requiring a subscription to access the full set of metrics, analysis and insights, in addition to an upfront cost for the wearable device, so it’s interesting to see Playermaker going all out on a purely subscription based pricing model.
Subscriptions are available as monthly, annual and 24 months. So, as you might expect, the effective cost per month reduces the longer you commit to it.
Check the Playermaker website for the latest prices and offers (get an extra 15% off at the checkout with discount code premierinjuries).
All told, the results were convincing. Yes, it does work.
Playermaker is a high-end product and represents stellar value for money. It’s a must-buy if you’re looking for a deeper understanding of your technical output.
If you’re a more casual player, there are other less expensive devices that would perhaps serve your needs almost as well.
Its durable and lightweight design is practical in-game, and different modes for different sessions types (training, small-sided match, full-sided match etc.) combine for a tailored experience.
The app is industry-leading. It delivers genuine insights without overstepping into a gratuitous and counterproductive data blitz, as it the case with so many of its rivals.
Remembering to charge the device before it exceeds its 10-hour cut-off point can be a hassle, as can ensuring correct mounting. But all in all, the Playermaker system is characterised by its ease-of-use and sleek, compact spec. It’s easy to see why it has won hearts and minds in the professional game.
Given Playermaker comes with a 30 money-back promise, so you can see if it works for you risk free, we feel it’s definitely worth trying.
Grab an extra 15% off all Playermaker plans
with discount code premierinjuries at the checkout.
Playermaker provides a market-leading array of in-play footballing metrics, analysis and insights. To find our more about all its features, how it works, and the latest offers, head over to the Playermaker website here (don’t forget to use discount code premierinjuries at the checkout to grab an extra 15% off all plans).
Playermaker is a common miss-spelling of Playermaker, a wearable performance-tracking system geared towards helping footballers better understand and improve their output.
We thought it worth mentioning this as we found ourselves inadvertently referring to it as Playermaker rather than Playermaker. So, if you’re looking for a real-world Playermaker review, you’ve come to the right place!