THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – A year after implementing the wellness program Fit for 90, head women's soccer coach Frank Marino has taken another step for towards creating the most well-rounded approach to fitness tracking possible for his Cal Lutheran program as the first Division III school to partner with Playertek by Catapult, a world renowned company with the most modern approach to wellness.
The Catapult brand is used by professional soccer players all over the world and Division I programs including local and national powerhouse programs UCLA, Stanford and Wake Forest (N.C.). CLU join impressive company on a quest to keep its athletes as healthy as possible by tracking a variety of areas associates with the health and wellness of each individual member on the Regals roster.
"We want to do what is best for our student-athletes, especially concerning their long-term health," Marino went on, "The combination of Fit for 90 and Playertek by Catapult vests will create opportunities for our student-athletes to be as successful and healthy as possible."
The wearable technology that the student-athletes are set to use will be incorporated into both workouts and competition this season. Each vest contains a lightweight GPS pod that reports metrics including, but not limited to, GPS positional data and volume and intensity metrics such as speed, distance, and load on the athletes to better monitor players exertion over the course of a workout. When the workout is completed, the pods are plugged into USB ports to display the activity of every player. With the Playertek by Catapult system, coach Marino can determine if a particular player needs to scale back based on the distance they run during a workout or if someone needs to be pushed a little more. He can additionally call for adjustments based on the length of student-athletes runs and their positional tendencies on the field. Marino will now combine the Playertek by Catapult vests with the self-reporting system Fit For 90, allowing him to weigh both wellness and scientific viewpoints for each of the players on his team. Last season, the squad endured the fewest injuries ever in his eight-year tenure as head coach.
The Playertek vests are created by Catapult Sports, an Australian company that aims to reduce the number of injuries among soccer players. The product is used by Premier League clubs, American professional teams, and NCAA DI squads.
"We are extremely excited to partner with a DIII program as forward-thinking as CLU," said Justin Facer of Catapult Sports.
In the Fit For 90 app, players report factors such as sleep, mood, hydration, stress and soreness to indicate preparedness for daily workouts. Marino then receives wellness scores that combine the ratings of each factor that the student-athletes report. While Marino can take into account every student-athlete's wellness score, Fit For 90 calls special attention to players who score below a certain threshold.
"The system has been developed in a way that draws attention to players who report low wellness scores," said Dr. John Cone, founder of Fit For 90.
With the combination of rate of perceived exertion (RPE) data from Fit For 90 and quantitative data from the Playertek vests, Marino will be able to holistically measure student-athletes wellness.
Strength and conditioning coach Pat Holmberg will also be involved in monitoring the results from both areas and assist in analyzing the data. He believes that while the practice used in 2016 proved effective by monitoring internal loads via sRPE and Fit for 90, it is necessary to track the external loads as well to ensure reliability and validate the findings.
"Playertek by Catapult allows us to collect external load data that, when considered alongside internal load data, provides worthwhile insight that enables our coaches to appropriately modify practices, weight training sessions, and competitive playing time' Holmberg added, "In doing so, we are able to improve performance, reduce the chance for injury and enhance the student-athlete experience."
The first opportunity for the Regals to don their new vests will be on Friday, Sept. 1 when Cal Lutheran opens its 2017 campaign at home inside of William Rolland Stadium against St. Catherine (Minn.) at 7:00 p.m.
Playertek by Catapult (GPS Tracking System): https://www.playertek.com
Fit for 90 (Wellness Application): https://www.fitfor90.com/
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