Using Technology to Advance Development

Dec. 21, 2015

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Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The way college basketball players and coaches watch “film” the last decade has changed due to advancements in technology. A relatively new advancement has found its way onto players’ bodies to quantify the volume and intensity of their motion.

University of Iowa men’s basketball strength and conditioning coach Bill Maxwell said the UI purchased Catapult Sports last summer and began implementing the technology during preseason conditioning and skill sessions.

The Catapult compression top secures a unit at the top of the players’ back, which utilizes accelerometers and gyroscopes to track and quantify their movement.

According to Maxwell, about five to 10 schools across the country utilize the technology. The Hawkeyes use the units in both practice and games.

“The idea behind obtaining these units came from our sports performance group,” said Maxwell. “We’re looking at ways to monitor our athletes.”

Maxwell says for the most part he and the coaches are just collecting information this year, as the benefits will be realized in years to come.


“We are generating a baseline of information; very little interventions are being done at this time,” Maxwell said. “Short term, it’s helping support some subjective observations our coaches are making, however, in future seasons we want to build a data set that will partly influence our decisions.”

Maxwell said the athletes are not seeing any immediate feedback at this time.

“I share some information and explain the process of what we’re going through, but this is a goal to find trends over the long haul,” said Maxwell.

Redshirt freshman Brady Ellingson says he believes that using these devices will help the team’s training in the future.

“It will help us with recovery and give the coaches information on how much they should push us in practices,” said Ellingson.

One of the statistics the units gauge is called inertial movement analysis (IMA). It takes a very active effort to record an IMA, such as a sudden speed change, deceleration, or a vertical jump. IMA is the only tool to accurately measure explosive micro-movements.

“That kind of data is important,” said senior Jarrod Uthoff.

Maxwell said that after Uthoff saw his initial IMA data, the volume of his quality efforts increased.

“We want to get a greater understanding what each athlete’s external output is; then we compare with internal responses,” said Maxwell. “In the future, we will make adjustments based on the readings to be more precise with the timing and amount of work needed to illicit an optimal response.”

For more information on these devices, visit:

The Hawkeyes return to action Tuesday, closing out their nonconference schedule against Tennessee Tech. Tipoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (CT) on Mediacom Court at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Tickets are available for $18 for adults, and $5 for UI students and youth.

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