XPS Network Uses Garmin Smartwatch Tech to Help Boost Athletic Performance

29 May, 2024

A winning strategy together with Garmin Health based on the pioneering example of the handball club, FRISCH AUF! Göppingen.

The ever-evolving technology field allows us to gather data-rich insights into our health, providing us with ways to optimise various aspects of our day-to-day lives. In particular, we can harness these insights for decision-making when it comes to our health and fitness. With numerous sports clubs now recognising the potential of utilising health metrics, including steps, heart rate1, sleep and stress, athletes are benefiting from tailored training programmes to enhance their physical and mental health and performance.

A Game-changing Platform

The XPS Network coaching platform from Sideline Sports has proved to be a pivotal player in a recent collaboration with Garmin and professional handball team FRISCH AUF! Göppingen, where Garmin provided discounted products to the Team for the collaboration. The platform allows the team’s coaches to create and communicate training plans, monitor and analyse training data, make data-driven coaching decisions and give instant feedback to players.

Through a seamless integration with the Garmin Health Connected Ecosystem, the XPS Network collects data captured by the Garmin Forerunner® 955 smartwatch worn by the players. This is fed into the XPS Reports feature, which shows a multitude of health metrics, particularly:

  • Sleep Tracking: Monitoring total sleep is vital for identifying the need for regeneration in players.
  • Heart Rate Variability (HRV): HRV allows coaches to monitor how the training input is working for the athletes.  A low HRV might be a sign of problems with a player’s overall physical and mental condition. Along with other actions, reducing training load can be taken to increase HRV.
  • Stress Tracking: Coaches are able to assess each player’s stress levels. High stress levels during training are necessary for positive adaptation mechanisms, but permanent elevated medium- and low-level stress values suggest negative influences, so coaches and staff can seek to alleviate this negative stress when necessary.
  • Running Dynamics: For special issues such as return to sports/play or the development of a more efficient running technique, ground contact time and stride length are observed.

Monitoring these metrics through morning reports gives coaches a clear view of where opportunities lie to optimise training for individual performance requirements.

A Real-world Success Story

Boasting eleven German championships, two European Cup victories of the national champions (Champions League) and four European Cup victories, FRISCH AUF! Göppingen has earned respect and market significance on the national and international handball map. The club had two main goals when beginning their journey with Garmin and XPS Network. Firstly, to optimise their players’ performance by adapting their training load with health data shown in XPS Reports. Secondly, to reduce the frequency of injuries and illnesses.

By objectively recognising signs of fatigue or nonoptimal performance conditions via the XPS Reports tool, coaches can intervene and make tactical changes to players’ training load.

The graph above shows sleep data from a player who was attending the European championships. The data shows that total sleep was down during this period, highlighting the need for adequate regeneration time upon their return.


This graph shows strong variation in this player’s HRV, suggesting that this particular regime is not suitable. Training load needs to be reduced and regeneration provided.

Using the Garmin Forerunner 955 has proven to be a success, not only with the coaches, but also with the players, illustrated by the compliance of using the watch:

“I use the watch every day and night because I get an overall look about my body, regenerations and the sleep. It helps me and the coaches to plan and structure the exercises during the exercise and after it. In my opinion the best smartwatch I’ve ever used.”

— Tim Kneule, Team Captain


“I use the Garmin watch for many things in my everyday life. At first for all my athletic sessions to see how effective the trainings were, to see the rest times I need to take. Secondly, I track and monitor my sleep to get an overview about my ability to recover and therefore see my readiness for training. Thirdly, I use the data about my heart rate variability to see if I’m doing well.”

— David Schmidt, Right Back Player

The Advantage of Using Garmin Health

Garmin was the clear choice in this collaboration from both a hardware and software standpoint. This application called for robust wearables made to the highest-quality standards, the ability to withstand daily use as well as hard strength-training sessions. Additionally, the Garmin Health API and Activity API offer insight into a great number of variables, resulting in a comprehensive overview of each player. Ultimately, this is used to help athletes to stay healthy, perform well and develop further, which in turn, benefits the performance of the team as a whole.

The Future of Athletic Performance

With innovations in fitness technology always on the horizon, the ways in which sports teams can understand the health, fitness and performance of their players will only continue to grow. Furthermore, this technology can be applied across the spectrum of sports, including basketball, field hockey, soccer, tennis, volleyball, floorball and more, pushing the boundaries on the potential these players can reach.

Find out more about the capabilities of fitness solutions with Garmin Health, and get in touch today.

1See Garmin.com/ataccuracy. Garmin smartwatches are not designed or intended to monitor or diagnose diseases or any medical conditions. Find information on metric accuracy here.