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Garmin hopes smartwatches can guide Totton football club into the big league

AFC Totton are hoping to follow Wrexham’s FC’s path into the national league, but the catalyst for advancement will not be Tinseltown dollars, but the technical edge that Garmin technology can bring to players.

Even the most tribal football fan could not fail to have been moved by the success of Wrexham FC last season as they used Netflix finance and the star power of Hollywood A-listers Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds to catapult the club into Football League Division Two.

Now another semi-professional club, AFC Totton, which plays in the Southern League, are hoping to follow Wrexham’s success, but the catalyst for advancement will not be Tinseltown dollars, but the technical edge that Garmin technology can bring to players.

Totton is currently managed by Jimmy Ball, the son of the late World Cup-winning midfielder Alan Ball, and he plans to explore and showcase the potential of fitness wearables and coaching capabilities to deliver performance gains on the pitch.

Tech support should be rapid, because the Hampshire club is based in the same town as Garmin’s European headquarters.

Along with providing equipment, Garmin will also be the club’s shirt sponsor.

Players will be wearing the Garmin Forerunner 965 smartwatch around the clock as well as the HRM-ProTM Plus chest strap heartrate monitor during matches and training.

Garmin forerunner 965 smartwatch
Garmin Forerunner 965 smartwatch.

These will feed information to the Garmin Connect app, which will be compiled and crunched on the more centralised Garmin Clipboard system.

Totton’s sports therapist and coaches will be able to access and analyse the Clipboard information to identify the players’ progress and tailor their training programmes.

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“I’m thrilled that Garmin have decided to enter into this agreement with us. It’s consistent with my objective of making AFC Totton the most professional non-league football club in the country and for a global brand like Garmin to bring their expertise in performance to our table is fantastic,” says manager Jimmy Ball.

“All the players are ambitious and want to succeed in the game, so they are all fully onboard with this programme. They understand that any marginal gains we can win by taking this in-depth data approach will bring its own rewards on the pitch,” he adds.

Steve Brookwell AFC Totton’s CEO, says the Garmin deal represents a massive boost for the football club in an era of high profile support helping lower league sides.

“We’ve recently seen the rapper Stormzy and Wilfried Zaha invest in Croydon FC, who are currently a few levels below us in the English football pyramid, and of course Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have reignited the passion of the Wrexham fans with their exciting involvement at the Racecourse Ground. It is our belief that working with Garmin will enable us to gain the kind of fair advantage that excellence in fitness and preparation can bring to match-day performances on the pitch, to help Jimmy Ball continue to take the team in a positive direction whilst playing entertaining, attacking football that our fans will thoroughly enjoy watching and can rightly be proud of,” he describes.

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