Smartphone and Tablet Software Apps to Collect Data in Sport and Exercise Settings: Cross-sectional International Survey

Matthew Peter Shaw*, Liam Paul Satchell, Steve Thompson, Ed Thomas Harper, Carlos Balsalobre-Fernández, Daniel James Peart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)


Advances in smartphone technology have facilitated an increase in the number of commercially available smartphone and tablet apps that enable the collection of physiological and biomechanical variables typically monitored in sport and exercise settings. Currently, it is not fully understood whether individuals collect data using mobile devices and tablets, independent of additional hardware, in their practice.

This study aims to explore the use of smartphone and tablet software apps to collect data by individuals working in various sport and exercise settings, such as sports coaching, strength and conditioning, and personal training.

A total of 335 practitioners completed an electronic questionnaire that surveyed their current training practices, with a focus on 2 areas: type of data collection and perceptions of reliability and validity regarding app use. An 18-item questionnaire, using a 5-point Likert scale, evaluated the perception of app use.

A total of 204 respondents reported using apps to directly collect data, with most of them (196/335, 58.5%) collecting biomechanical data, and 41.2% (138/335) respondents reported using at least one evidence-based app. A binomial general linear model determined that evidence accessibility (β=.35, 95% CI 0.04-0.67; P=.03) was significantly related to evidence-based app use. Age (β=−.03, 95% CI −0.06 to 0.00; P=.03) had a significant negative effect on evidence-based app use.

This study demonstrates that practitioners show a greater preference for using smartphones and tablet devices to collect biomechanical data such as sprint velocity and jump performance variables. When it is easier to access information on the quality of apps, practitioners are more likely to use evidence-based apps. App developers should seek independent research to validate their apps. In addition, app developers should seek to provide clear signposting to the scientific support of their software in alternative ways.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere21763
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalJMIR mHealth and uHealth
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 13 May 2021


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