Wearable technology helps athletic performance

A pair of CPASS faculty members have blended technology with sports science and performance to help improve coaching results. Clarksburg, W.Va. television station WDTV 5 included Roch King and Clayton Kuklick’s work in their three-part series on wearable technology which aired last fall. 

King and Kuklick, athletic coaching education faculty members, used Google Glass technology, an optical head-mounted display designed in the shape of a pair of eyeglasses, while working with the WVU baseball club last spring. They put the Google Glasses on some of the pitchers to observe what they were seeing. 

According to Kuklick, the project had a positive impact on athletes and coaches to help athletes improve performance. The technology captures the point of view of pitchers and hitters who are wearing the equipment. 

“Athletes become accustomed to the technology very quickly. People who are wearing the technology forget they’re wearing it and it doesn’t change their behavior. That gives coaches a unique data set,” King said. “They are able to make a connection with what [a situation] looks like to the player and what it looks like to the coach.” 

Google Glass provided overlapping points of view, from the pitcher, and from what the coach is seeing, when watching the pitcher. King and Kuklick also used a third remote camera that could view everything. 

“The camera can view what feedback the coach is giving to the athlete. Is the coach watching the performance or the result? It’s important that the coach be focused on performance. The coach needs to talk about what the athlete can’t see. With the connection between all of the information, the coach can help the pitcher improve,” Kuklick said. 

"We are looking for the way in which the point-of-view of the video review will influence the feedback of not only the performance of the athlete, but also the way in which the coach instructs them," King said. 

By studying what the player is seeing, from the player's own eyes, a coach is better able to find out what that player might be doing wrong and help them improve.  

"Again, I think it goes back to one of the key phrases I've used and other coaches have used," Kuklick said. "It's the question: 'what are you looking at?'"

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