If you’ve seen famous footballers training at top clubs or perhaps taking their jerseys off after a match, a question may have popped into your head: “Why is he wearing a bra?”
Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and a host of others have been spotted wearing what looks to be your typical female athlete undergarment. Well, no, you might not be surprised to hear that this isn’t anything like what Brandi Chastain flashed the world in 1999.
Rather, the "male soccer bra" garment harbors a tracking device to monitor athletic performance, often sewn into the fabric near the chest to hold it in place. The piece of technology many clubs use is small but powerful in the insights it can provide into a player. The item can:
- Gage the workload of a player during a session
- Identify group outliers (those who are pushing themselves and those who are slacking)
- Identify players who might be under particular training stress due to ill health, fatigue or other factors
- Compare session over time
- Monitor individual training demands
- Periodization training using a range of variables
- Monitor rehab and recovery activities
- Compare players, sessions, drills and games
So, for example, without devices like these, we wouldn’t know Luka Modric ran an astounding 39.1 miles this past World Cup. More importantly, the staff and sports physiologists can better address and manage the group with which they work and ultimately get the most out of them.
Soccer players aren’t the only ones using these sports-performance monitors; they can be found on players in the NBA, NFL and other top leagues. One can see why. Knowledge is power, after all, and these things tucked into the "male soccer bra" certainly give a lot of information that could help give teams an edge.