The road to the Rio Olympics for the U.S. women’s volleyball team has included grueling six-hour practice sessions, sparking the need for players to train smart — not just hard. After all, one critical injury could derail the team’s chances of a successful showing on the world stage. That’s where a tiny wearable by VERT comes into play.
While training for the Olympics, the squad used the VERT jump monitor, which fits around players’ waists and calculates their jump heights and counts. It then sends real-time data to an accompanying app. The team has also been using it as an injury-prevention tool.
“It gave the coaches something to monitor our workload,” USA Volleyball outside hitter Kelsey Robinson told us. “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.”
That especially goes for the team’s captain and middle blocker Christa Dietzen, who played on the 2012 Olympic squad and battled injuries to make it to Rio. Being more conscious about how many jumps she made during practices allowed the coaching staff to preserve Dietzen’s health and prolong her career on the court.
“They kind of learned, ‘Here’s how many times our players are jumping by position’ and in a very short period of time, they started to change their practices based on the data and that was probably the significant shift for them,” VERT president and founder Martin Matak told us. “All of the players were put on some kind of jump count.”
Matak says players on the NBA’s Miami Heat also use VERT.