The women’s soccer team implemented a new heart monitoring system last spring to keep track of the workload each player’s training.
Now three games into the season, the team has seen positive results from the Polar Electro Team2 Bluetooth system, head coach Tom Brown said.
The system allows Brown to objectively monitor the workloads and heart rate each player is putting into training and games; a problem Brown said the team faced last season with pre-game warm-ups.
Brown said the pre-game warm-ups were generating larger training loads, which limits peak performances during the games. Brown said his coaching staff reconfigured the team’s pre-game routines to limit stress during warm-ups.
“The loads were getting higher than we wanted and we also found the intensities were not getting as high as we wanted,” Brown said.
Brown said the intensity is related to the quality of the performance versus workout loads relate to the quantity of weight training and conditioning.
The data from the system helps Brown and his assistant coaches, Meredith Flaherty and Keaton Henson, determine what the team needs to do to continue getting better while making sure the team does not exceed their physical capability during workouts.
“We can tailor our training sessions based on the information and data we get back to run a shorter or lighter session or know times we can run a heavier fitness practice,” Flaherty said. “After training sessions, the data is input into the program and we can tell if ‘yes, this player is good to go’ or ‘No, this player is fatigue.'”
By monitoring the workload each player is producing, Brown said he is able to compare players and positions and determine who is not reaching their individual performance goal Brown determines.
“[We’re] more aware of the workloads on the players so we don’t put too much of a work burden on them,” Flaherty said.
The system has also become a motivational tool in making sure the players are playing their best. Sophomore forward Shelby McDaniel said it keeps the team from falling behind in their work on the field.
“We have training sometimes where [Brown] will call us out and say like ‘Shelby, you’re not working hard enough,'” McDaniel said. “There’s no way to hide. You have to constantly work your butt off.”
McDaniel also said that it keeps players from slacking off away from the field because the team has to constantly maintain their fitness. She added the system allows players to stay in game day shape, without working players too hard.
“We can’t be overworked and we have to prevent injury,” she said. “It works both ways; to train you hard and also to protect you and get better too.”
McDaniel said the team looks to continue to get positive results this season from Brown’s system.
The Bearkats soccer squad squares off against the University of North Texas in Denton on Friday, before returning to Huntsville to face Prairie View A&M University on Sunday.