LSU Keeping Sports Science Simple With GPS Technology

Modern technology is growing and changing at an incredible pace. Athletes at all levels of the game are more intimately familiar with smart phones, computers and tablets than some coaches would prefer.

In fact, some coaches may find this fast-paced tech-savvy generation to be more challenging to engage and maintain their attention. Maybe that’s because too many coaches aren’t using these factors to their advantage.

LSU Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coordinator Eric Donoval has embraced this ever-changing world of technology, and is finding the process more rewarding and intuitive than he thought possible just a few short years ago. During the 2016-2017 season, LSU partnered with Polar to use GPS technology to take their data analysis to the next level.

“It’s essentially the same technology that you have in your iPhone when you pull up google maps or anything like that,” Donoval says. “The GPS will give us a ton of variables: how far they’ve run in yards, the maximum speed they hit in miles per hour, their average speed and how many times they accelerate or decelerate really fast.”

Comparing Polar’s GPS tech to the iPhone should help alleviate some of the concerns coaches may have about embarking on what they may feel is a complicated process. Even children at a young age find this sort of technology easy to understand and manipulate.

The simple and intuitive GPS technology Polar offers isn’t the only thing coaches should be excited about. Their Pro system includes physiological tracking that gives coaches a deeper look at what’s happening with their athletes’ performance.

“Prior to this we were using a different GPS system that did not have all of the physiological stuff,” Donoval says. “So having that has added a whole new dimension. There was a learning curve, figuring it out and applying it to other factors, but it has been really eye-opening.

“It helps validate what we are doing. As a strength and conditioning staff, we want to put the best product on the field. We want to be the most powerful, the fastest, the strongest. So it allows us to validate if we are doing the correct stuff to get these guys ready to play football.”

Having data that validates coaching adjustments is invaluable, but it’s not just the quality of the data, it’s the way in which it is delivered. Keeping up with tech evolution for the sake of keeping up isn’t enough. That’s why Polar makes things as intuitive as possible, and provides support to coaches to help them get the information they need, when they need it.

“This field is shifting towards the sports science side,” Donoval says. “But at the same time you don’t want to be looking at so much information that now you are suffering from paralysis by analysis.”

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