Road to Rio 2016
The U.S. women's volleyball team is headed to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. Before that though, they're taking their training up a notch. The team is having six-hour practice sessions to ensure they will play hard and smart during the games.
While training, the team is using the VERT jump monitor. When worn around a player's waist, the monitor calculates the height and number of each woman's jumps. Real-time data is then sent to an accompanying app.
“It gave the coaches something to monitor our workload. Now we can track how many times a certain position is jumping and if they’re jumping more, they will shut us down and we’ll do other things like pass or serve, so we don’t physically exhaust ourselves. It has really helped our older girls who do have knee injuries and back problems,” said USA Volleyball outside hitter Kelsey Robinson.
The wearable helps the players be more conscious of how many jumps they make during practices, allowing the coaching staff to preserve the players' health. Take, for example, the case of the team captain and middle blocker Christa Dietzen. She played in the 2012 Olympic Games held in London and she fought her way around injuries just to return to the games, but this time in Rio.
According to VERT president and founder Martin Matak, the wearable helped the coaching staff make the necessary changes to their routines based on the data they gathered. The players were also given certain jump counts. Matak even said that the NBA's Miami Heat also uses VERT during their practices.