When it comes to thinking outside the box, the Colorado Rockies continue to outpace their Major League Baseball brethren. First, it was the ill-fated four-man pitching rotation. Then, it was an unusual front office structure. Now, it’s a high-tech training solution.
The team announced today that they have partnered with Sparta Performance Science, located in the Silicon Valley, to install Sparta’s “force plate” technology and propriety software. The goal is that the system will help the Rockies continue its development and growth of their strength and conditioning program.
What’s force plate? Good question.
According to the Rockies, it measures an athlete’s force production into the ground, which is apparently a primary determinant for human movement. Force plate technology is based off Newton’s third law of motion, where for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Basically, in order to move forward, you have to push backwards.
Got it? Here’s more high-tech mumbo jumbo to explain it further.
After the force plate data is analyzed by specific software developed by Sparta, it is organized into individual profiles that help identify injury risk and serve as a guiding tool to increase aspects of performance, whether it is sprinting speed or rotation power from the pitching mound and batter’s box. The software also records and tracks specific regeneration programs such as nutrition, sleep and flexibility to complement the training aspects for a complete snapshot of each athlete.
This approach has allowed Sparta to help hundreds of professional athletes. But the Rockies are the first professional sports team to install the force plate technology and proprietary software.
“We are excited to begin a long-term relationship with an organization that mirrors our cultural values and desires to be the best organization in its industry,” said Rockies executive vice president, chief baseball officer and general manager Dan O’Dowd. “This technology will be a tremendous asset in our efforts to further advance our performance development with all our programs and players.”
Sparta has been gathering data for over four years, examining only elite athletes under strict protocols. Following a collection of over 10,000 trials, this database has been independently reviewed by third parties from both Stanford University and the University of Paris to prove its reliability and efficacy. Through this data collection process, Sparta began to develop its own software to automate the gathering of data, player analysis and subsequent identification of the movement signatureTM. As a result, several other organizations are also incorporating this unique, efficient system.
Sparta Performance Science was founded by Dr. Phil Wagner, MD, a USC-training physician who has worked with world-class athletes all over the world, ranging from Olympic track and field to professional rugby in Australia and New Zealand.
“We are excited for this opportunity to bring a system for players to take accountability for their own physical development and see the subsequent effects on the game of baseball,” Wagner said. “With this first step, the Rockies and Sparta can begin to set a new standard for efficiency and player development.”
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