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Polar Elector TEAM2 Bluetooth heart monitoring system to improve season training for women's soccer

Sports Reporter

Published: Thursday, December 6, 2012

Updated: Thursday, December 6, 2012 00:12

Sam Houston State University athletics are taking the next step to enhance athlete performance on the field.

In an effort to prevent injuries and optimize training results, women’s soccer head Tom Brown will measure his players’ vitals with a new Polar Electro TEAM2 Bluetooth heart monitoring system.

Brown said the system will be used live during practices and workouts to be relayed back to a monitor on the field so that either Brown or one of his assistant coaches can assess each player’s workloads during workouts.  

“We’ll know about how much of a workload factor they’ll have in each game,” Brown said. “We want to make sure we’re not tiring them out during [season] training. We can actually know when their heart rate is gotten back down to where we want it and send them again so we maximize the type of training that we’re doing,” Brown said.

The new system, worth just under $10,000, will include 10 main transmitters as well as six watches for players to wear during personal workouts. According to Brown, the watches will keep guessing out of their workouts and allow his players to monitor their workload outside of the offseason and season practices.

“Normally we will give them target heart rates,” Brown said. “They’ll have a watch there so they can be monitoring themselves. Then they’ll come back and turn them into me and I’ll know exactly what kind of workout they did and what loads they did.”

Junior forward Tricia Mallory said assessing players’ workouts will help increase performance on the field and prevent injuries before they occur.

“Sometimes during the week you can be overworked and be too tired to actually do your best performance during the game,” Mallory said. “We had injuries pretty much throughout the season and most of them were from training rather than in games.”

Mallory also said that the individual watches will motivate incoming freshmen as well as the entire team to complete effective workouts.

“Obviously you feel like your body is tired [during workouts], but maybe this can help you see that are able to do more or you can do less,” Mallory said.

Soccer programs such as Texas A&M have implemented similar monitoring, but Brown’s system will focus players’ vitals during activity versus what the workout was.

“[TAMU] went about it a little different,” Brown said. “I think their focus wasn’t exactly what my focus wants to be as far as the training loads. They put a GPS tracker in their shoe so it’s recording all the time. So it’s giving them more information about distances covered whether it’s at high speed or low speed…we have always tried to personalize their training by approximating what their heart rates were. It helps us personalize the time that everyone is getting so we’re actually trying to maximize their ability.”   

According to a Discovery News article, semi-professional soccer programs use both GPS and workload indicators to monitor and improve training for specific positions. 

Although the system will not be available until spring training, Brown said he is optimistic about the results it will yield during the season and help keep his players healthy.

“I think anytime we can be getting data back that we can use to affect our training sessions can be nothing but positive,” Brown said. “A lot of coaching is subjective, I think based on our staff’s experience and stuff that can be effective [but] this is objective data. When you see their heart rates and see what players are really doing, I can’t do anything but be positive.”

The women’s soccer team completed the season 7-10-1 and lost against Oral Roberts University in the first round of the Southland Conference Tournament.

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