SIUE basketball and soccer teams have began using VX Sport technology in order to better their practices and improve overall game performance.
Men’s soccer was the first to implement the technology for team use and the other teams followed suit.
VX Sport technology includes both a GPS and heart rate monitor in what looks like a sports bra, which the athletes wear during games and practices.
According to women’s soccer Head Coach Derek Burton, the combination of both these tools is what makes VX Sport software unique.
“There’s always been an element of being able to track with a GPS and distance, and there’s been heart rate monitors for a long time,” Burton said. “The ability for that technology that’s in the sports bra to be uploaded by the software is what makes it so usable and user-friendly.”
This technology provides the coaches and players with a multitude of data, but the statistics that Burton said are valued most in soccer are distance and the total number of accelerations and decelerations at both regular and high exertions, which help to create practices that closely simulate actual games.
The data provided also helps both the soccer and basketball teams from overworking their players.
According to Director of Athletic Performance Mark Jamison, basketball uses the heart rate monitors to track each player’s internal stress response. This allows coaches to provide players with adequate recovery time.
“They’ll probably get a little less at practice and will do more restoration and recovery work in the weight room to help facilitate recovery and make sure that their nervous system and their body is in the best position to compete on game day,” Jamison said.
Soccer has used the data to avoid over-straining their players as well. Both soccer teams did not see any muscle injuries due to overexertion during their seasons.
“It’s been a great addition to the program for pure student health and welfare [purposes],” men’s soccer Head Coach Mario Sanchez said. “We’ve cut down our injury rates drastically. Usually, when you pull a muscle it’s because you overtrain a muscle, and this allows us to monitor how much training we’re doing. This Fall, we didn’t have any muscle injuries at all.”
For players who have endured past injuries, the statistics provided by VX Sport technology help them to ease back into the rigors of the sport.
“It also helps when someone is coming back from an injury to gauge the exertion levels to make sure that they aren’t doing too much but that they’re also not doing too little,” Burton said.
In recent years, VX Sport technology has gained a lot of attention, particularly in the world of soccer.
Sanchez used the technology at the University of Louisville where he previously coached and is glad that the equipment is now at SIUE.
“For soccer, most NCAA Division I teams are using it and most professional teams use it,” Sanchez said.
For men’s soccer junior defenseman Kashaun Smith, using the same technology as professionals is an essential part in growing as a player.
“Obviously, as much as we’re amateurs right now, we are trying to get to that [professional] level, and I feel like mocking the goals of the professional teams is good for us because we are getting used to what they are doing professionally,” Smith said.