Parkland College’s new Polar Team Pro heart rate telemetry system contains technology primarily used by professional and collegiate sports teams to track training volume. Parkland acquired the system when it was released internationally this summer; we were the first to have the system in the United States.
Our Cobras Women’s Soccer team is currently using the system to make sure they are not over- or under-training during their competitive season. But they’re not the only ones benefiting from this new technology. Dalton Swenson, one of our student trainers, explains below.
Training Tool. The athlete wears the transmitter during games and competitions, and it records multiple data points for that person. Inside the transmitter is an accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, and GPS, as well as other technologies. As the athlete trains outdoors, Polar has 13 satellites that look for the signal. When four satellites pick up the signal, the athlete’s position on earth is monitored, as well as her speed of movement, change of direction, etc.
So, the athlete/coach can review the practice/game and see exactly where the athelete was during every second of that session, what their heart rate was at the time, how fast they were moving, etc. All of the data points objectively help tell the athlete how hard the session was for her on that day, and how long she will need to recover from it. It will also give total calories burned during the session so the athlete knows how much food she needs to refuel.
Learning Tool. Our Parkland Kinesiology students are learning the system and are helping the intercollegiate coaching staffs here interpret the data to give practical advice to student athletes on training intensity, training volume, nutrition, and recovery strategies. It gives our students experience with a product that is typically seen with world-class soccer programs (such as our United States women’s team), the NBA, NFL, and Division I football and basketball.
If they want to become a strength and conditioning coach, or work in the growing field of analytics, this technology gives them a huge leg up on the competition. It also aids the personal trainer or physical education instructor who is going to work with a different clientele, but where heart-rate telemetry can be highly effective in aiding the client.
For the regular person, there are inexpensive heart-rate transmitters that an individual could use to get similar information on their own workouts. Obviously they won’t be as fancy or intricate as this system, but they will help you make important training decisions and get a clear understanding of how hard a session really was.
[Chris Warren is director of the Parkland Kinesiology program.]