Our first appearance at the Coaches Conference was a big success! Not only because of the coaches we met and the feedback we received, but also because of the passion these coaches have for sport science. It also turned out to be a great opportunity for us to meet a few of our beta backers - Tony Sandoval from the University of Colorado Boulder, Matt Springer from the University of Northern Iowa, Matt Hawkey from the MLS and Mike Robertson from iFAST Indianapolis. We couldn't be more thrilled to have these guys on board!
NSCA Coaches Conference
As a sports science geek, it was a constant balancing act to showcase our device and to quench my thirst for the latest research in the field by attending seminars. What peaked my interest most was Dr. Bryan Mann’s presentation on VBT (velocity based training). Dr. Mann has published a number of articles on this topic but it was great to see first hand how he uses two athletes with different physical abilities/characteristics and gauges their training session based on the speed at which they can move the bar during both traditional and Olympic lifts. Stay tuned, in a couple weeks I’ll review some of Dr. Mann’s work and provide a framework for how coaches can use VBT with their athletes.
The Motor City
The Joe Louis Arena, home to the Detroit Red Wings, is filled with a strong sports history and some great traditions. Although the Wings still trail my beloved Leafs in Stanley Cup victories (Leafs 13, Wings 11), they have the longest streak of playoff appearances in the NHL and 4 Cups since 1997. And I’ll tell you why I’m worried that they’ll surpass the Leafs Cup total soon - their front office wants to measure everything! The Wings see huge value in biometric feedback, especially considering the speed and physicality that the game is currently played at.
The Bengals Aren’t the Only Cats in Town
One of our beta backers, Chip Morton from the Cincinnati Bengals, had some great insight for us. What did he say? NFLers are concerned with one thing during training - results! If any sort of technology impedes them in the weight room, they’ll tell you. This is why we’re making sure PUSH is intuitive and easy to use.
What surprised us more than anything in Cincy was the University of Cincinnati Bearcats and their state of the art training facility. It includes an underwater treadmill and more Olympic platforms than any other institution we’ve visited on the road. Needless to say, keep an eye out for coach Joe Walker and the Bearcats program moving forward.
Sports Science Chatter in Pittsburgh
Not sure what the deal was with Pittsburgh, but it just so happened that two of our stops were very interactive and research oriented. At Duquesne University, coach Welday (former S&C coach for the Penguins), shared a similar vision to that of PUSH - what ACTUALLY makes a difference in the weight room. We ended up immediately putting the PUSH system to the test - we strapped the device on one of coach Welday’s athlete’s and this is what we found:
175lb Power Clean - 1.5m/s
175lb Hang Power Clean - 1.90m/s
Same athlete, two different results. Needles to say Coach Welday was surprised! He originally thought power cleans from the floor would elicit a higher velocity output.
Scott Umberger, a PUSH Labs beta backer, was training a group of athletes when we stopped at Umberger Performance for a visit. To our surprise, his young high school athletes had some great questions.For instance, “how will PUSH help me become a better athlete?”. Tremendous question. I had to do my best to briefly explain the Force-Velocity curve (see previous post here) and how each section of the curve will target a different training component. You could see the wheels turning with these young athletes which makes what were doing here at PUSH that much more gratifying.
From Philly Cheese Steaks to the Gym of the Future
Ryan Podell, S&C coach for the Philadelphia Flyers was one of the youngest guys we met on the road. That being said, he is a fountain of knowledge and a big believer that technology does have it’s place in training. He’s already keeping tabs of his players by monitoring their on-ice activity, sleep patterns and nutritional habits...and we hope that PUSH will soon be another tool in his repertoire.
And one last note on Philly before we move onto the New York...you make one hell of a sandwich!
Our next stop, the Big Apple. Wouldn’t it be great if you walked into a gym and all of your physical characteristics, mood, readiness to train and stats from previous workouts were instantly available to your trainer? You actually don’t have to look too far - Joe Dowdell, long-time performance coach and owner of Peak Performance in Manhattan is on course to creating a “SmartGym” that will have all your stats...and more.
Joe already has a system in place that displays his clients heart rate (HR) on a screen as soon as they enter the gym and allows them to stick to their prescribed ranges throughout their entire training session. Joe’s a visionary in the fitness world and we’re really excited to have him on board our beta-program.
I can’t write about everybody in one post and I surely don’t want to forget to mention some top-notch coaches that we met with so I’d like to send the following coaches a big shout out:
- Joe Jablonski - University of Detroit Mercy
- Brandon Spickler - University of Miami-Ohio
- Kevin Collins - Columbus Blue Jackets
- Todd Hamer - Robert Morris University
- Phil Matusz - Villanova University
- Nick Johnson - Halevy Life
- Eddie Barahona - SportsLab NYC
- Art Horne - Northwestern University
Be sure to check out my Q&A with Scott Umberger in next week’s post, his responses may surprise you!