LA CROSSE, Wis. (SPECTRUM NEWS) -- Jason Murphy is no stranger to putting together a practice routine. He's been doing it for six years with the University of Wisconsin La Crosse women's soccer team alone.
However, despite his experience, he's getting help learning how to fine-tune the training schedules from a tablet and GPS heart-rate monitors.
“It allows us to watch data live and analyze data after training in terms of load, distance traveled, speeds and energy exertion,” Murphy said.
Every player is wearing one of the heart rate monitors during practices and games.
It's not just coaches that can look at this data in live time, right after practice players can step off the field, grab their phones and check it out.
“For some players, it's like a daily thing that they like to keep tabs on,” said Lilly Brock, a senior goalkeeper on UWL.
Brock said she'll check in on it about every other day.
For coaches and players, they want the data to help understand how their bodies are doing, ideally perfecting workloads to cut down on injuries.
However, it's not technology usually available to programs UWL's size.
“It's one of those things where we are one of very few Division 3 teams that have the opportunity to work with technology this advanced and be able to monitor and kind of help with our recovery,” Brock said.
Dr. Andrew Jagim with the Mayo Clinic is running the study.
“So we can kind of be one of the first to kind of quantify some of that information,” Jagim said.
They're also tracking the player's sleep and nutrition, all to put together a better picture of the health of a player throughout the season.
“Future coaches and athletic trainers can then look to some of our data as kind of a reference,” Jagim said.
Once the study is done they want to provide the information to other division three schools, but also to high school and little league coaches.
Jagim thinks they will even be able to break it down to post work-out questionnaires that can give coaches an idea of how players are doing, without the financial barriers of the GPS heart-rate monitors.
“That I think really holds a lot of value to high school, middle school coaches that maybe can't afford the fancy technology, but if they can rely on some questionnaires or other heart rate type tests they can do to infer some of that same information I think that would provide a lot of value to them,” Jagim said.
Jagim said the Mayo Clinic is working to secure funding to do similar research for little-league aged athletes in the future.
In the meantime, Murphy said injuries have gone down on his team, and they're still learning every day from the data.
“Everyone's a little different so it's still a work in progress trying to fine-tune exactly how much we can use data and how valuable it is,” Murphy said.
Murphy hopes this can also one day influence the parameters that the NCAA sets out to allow teams to practice within.