WVU’s Brown Implementing New Technology
West Virginia’s men’s basketball team is going through a transition period as it tries to mesh seven newcomers with eight returnees, but that’s not the only change the program has been assimilating. The Mountaineers also welcomed a new strength and conditioning coach, Shaun Brown, in May. A veteran of more than 30 years, with experience in both the NBA and college ranks, Brown has been working on implementing new technology to help maximize the results of his methods.
“Coach Huggins just signed off on implementing an RF feed to track how much players run,” he said of the small sensors that are also in use by the football team, among others. “That gives me everything they do, every jump, every foot, how fast.”
The information that’s returned is used in a number of ways. It gives the coaching staff an idea of the workload each player is shouldering, and it will also help Brown shape his conditioning plans for each player throughout the season.
“It is a lot of data,” Brown said of the raw numbers that are returned and input into a tracking system. “It is revolutionizing training You identify trends, how much each player is doing in game and in practice, and develop a database. Once you get those barometers, can figure out how much you need to do in training.”
Brown notes that in an average NBA game, a player runs about three miles. Those distances can vary though, with a number of factors influencing the total. Playing time and pace and style of the game can all combine to raise or lower that total. In turn, that can dictate the need to modify a player’s conditioning schedule in following days.
Another area where it comes into play is with injury rehabilitation, something that Brown and members of WVU’s medical and athletic training staff have been far too familiar with this year. As they track each player’s work, they can monitor their response to additional work and help them maximize the speed with which they can ramp up and return to action.
Finally, the new system provides feedback to those wearing the monitors.
“They get quite a bit of info about it themselves, Brown noted. “We send the data to players too, and they can access it on their personal devices.”
The new tech is just one way in which Brown is trying to get and keep WVU in peak physical condition during the grind of the season. There is still a need, even with all of the in-game and practice work, for running, stretching and lifting, but that can’t be overcooked. Put too much on a player, and a breakdown can be the result. Brown believes the new system will help in that regard.
“I think our style of play (at West Virginia) is that if you don’t use it, you lose it from the strength perspective, so you are trying to keep that,” he said of his goals, which are set in consultation with the coaching staff.