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Becoming a Better Coach Using Sensor Technology

turf.coachCoaches and personal trainers are always looking for an edge. They watch boatloads of film looking for areas of improvement. They research diets and build innovative, well rounded workouts to make their athletes as effective as possible.

Sensor technology gives coaches yet another edge. By recording baseline metrics, they can establish the areas that need the most improvement for each individual athlete. Rather than using one standardized circuit for everyone, they can cater specific workouts meant to target the holes in each player’s game. Below are recordable metrics and workouts that athletes can do to improve their respective numbers.

GENERAL ATHLETICISM

Acceleration
Speed and acceleration are two very different things. An athlete can be fast and still have subpar acceleration if they take time to build up speed. What’s cool about acceleration, though, is that sensors measure it by the amount of force an athlete’s feet put on the ground. So, with a sensor you can obviously measure forwards acceleration, but also backwards for athletes who backpedal or even up, for jump acceleration.

Recommended Workouts:
Sled Power Push

sledImage source: bodybuilding.com

This exercise helps athletes develop power and strength within their stride and is great for athletes that are looking to improve acceleration throughout all of their movements.

How to Run the Drill: (This drill does require equipment)

  • Using either standard weighted plates or weighted bags
    • 17yr old High School Girl Volleyball Player would use around 25 – 35 lbs
    • 18yr old High School Boy Football Player would use around 45 – 85 lbs
  • Athlete should place hands on sled with body angled approximately 45 degrees.
  • Driving legs into the ground, athlete should sprint from the starting position to the end (2 – 6 sets x 10 – 30 yards).

Dependent on where your athlete needs work (Initial explosion vs consistent endurance explosion) The amount of reps, distance and weights will change.

High Knees with Wall Assistance

Great for improving acceleration and top end speed, this exercise develops an athlete’s fast twitch muscles to help them run smoother, more efficiently and with greater burst.

How to Run the Drill:

  • At a 45 degree angle, athletes should press their hands against the wall with arms extended and parallel to the ground.
  • While facing the wall, the athlete should keep their core tight and back straight, forming a straight line from head to ankles.
  • The athlete should then alternate raising their knees to approximately hip level, with ankle and foot flexed.
  • Keep alternating knee raises as quickly as possible.
  • 3 sets x 20 sec

Vertical Leap

It’s one thing to let an athlete load up and jump as high as they can for a vertical leap measurement, but that is a different metric than in-game vert.  Can they improve how high are they getting when going up for a rebound or a 50-50 ball?  Is that number the same for all four quarters or do they need to work on endurance?

Recommended Workouts:

Body Weight Paused Jump Squat

squat.jumpImage source: bodybuilding.com

This exercise allows for the utilization of static movements and develops strong explosive muscles that will endure the beating that athletes take during game time. This is great for athletes looking to improve their vertical explosiveness.

How to Run the Drill:

  • Athlete should stand with their hips forward, feet just wider than their hips (about shoulder width)
  • Descend down just above parallel, pause for 3 seconds and then jump as high as possible.
  • Perform 10-20 reps x 3-4 set
    • 17yr old High School Girl Volleyball Player would use around 50 – 95 lbs
    • 18yr old High School Boy Football Player would use around 135 – 225 lbs

Speed

Overall speed remains one of the most important measurements in any sports. You don’t need a sensor to measure speed, but you should always look to see if their is room for improvement.

Recommended Workouts:

Romanian Deadlifts (RDLs)dead.liftImage source: bodybuilding.com

This exercise helps develop deep hamstring strength. By developing explosive extension and contraction of the hamstring muscle, it creates a faster and more efficient leg turnover. This is great for athletes looking to increase top end speed and transitional speed.

How to Run the Drill:  (This Drill does require equipment)

  • Athlete should stand with their hips forward, feet just wider than their hips (about shoulder width)
  • As they lower the bar, bend at the hips, keeping their back straight. Make sure they also stick out their butt.
  • Focus on controlling the speed of the bar as they lower the weight.
  • Lower the bar as far as they can without rounding their back. Should be about mid-shin
  • Make the raising phase of the lift explosive, but do not compromise form, your athlete should thrust their hips forward through this movement, maintaining a flat back the entire exercise.
  • Perform 10- reps x 3-4 set

BATTING

Bat Speed

Let’s be honest, fastballs aren’t slowing down. Pitchers are throwing gas and locating the ball where the batter is at a disadvantage. Maybe a player can already get around on the ball anyway, maybe his bat speed needs work, maybe it needs work on pitches inside.  With sensors, you get all this information.

Recommended Workouts:

Russian Twistrussian.twistImage source: bodybuilding.com

This exercise will help to develop rotational core strength enabling batters to rotate their hips through each swing.

How to Run the Drill:  (This Drill does require equipment)

  • Have them sit on the floor in a crunch position with both knees bent so just their heels are on the floor.
  • With a medicine ball close to their body, have them rotate by turning their shoulders side to side, tapping the ball on each side of their body on each repetition.
  • Perform 30 reps x 3-4 set

To enhance the speed of muscle contraction, let go of the ball and rotate side to side as rapidly as possible on the final set.

Rotational Push-up w/ arm extension

This exercise helps batters develop stronger core, and overall upper body strength. Batters will feel this within their core (oblique and abdominal area) as well as shoulders and hips.

How to Run the Drill:

  • From the top of a pushup position, you will start a slow descent bringing your chest to the floor.
  • Directly following you will push up from the floor while at the same lifting one of your hands and arms up towards the ceiling.
  • Perform 15 reps x 3-4 set

Strength

Recommended Workouts:

Medicine Ball Rotational Throwsmedicine.ball.twistImage source: uvamagazine.org

This exercise is geared to develop batters rotational core strength. Players are able to generate as much force as possible simulating the amount of force seen with a full motion swing.

How to Run the Drill: (This Drill does require equipment)

  • Standing close to a wall hold a medicine ball in both hands in an athletic position. (Hips forward, feet just wider than hips (about shoulder width)
  • Similar to a baseball swing, wind up by rotating the ball away from the wall.
  • Explosively pivot your hips, midsection, and shoulders to forcefully throw the ball against the wall.
  • Pick up the ball and repeat.
  • Perform around 10 reps per side x 3-4 set

Cable Rotations w/ Stability Ball

Designed to help increase core strength and improve stabilization, as well as consistent strength throughout the game.

How to Run the Drill: (This Drill does require equipment) (This has been written for left handed batters)

  • Attach a single handle to a cable pulley set at chest height and grab it with your right hand.
  • Grab a weighted (around 5lbs) ball and have the athlete hold it against their chest.
  • Wrap the cable around the outside of the ball.
  • Stand in your batting stance and line up your left shoulder perpendicular to the cable station.
  • Keeping your stomach pulled in, twist your upper torso to the right in a swinging motion.
  • Perform 10 reps per side x 3 sets





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