Originally written on Project Spurs  |  Last updated 8/20/13
The San Antonio Spurs have been known to be ahead of the curve in the NBA for some time now. Whether it’s in scouting, player development, or even strategy, the “small market” Spurs tend to lead the pack and from there other teams try to emulate the same practices in hopes of obtaining similar success.    The latest development has been implementing a new technological device called OptimEye, which is designed to optimize and personalize players training regiments. The goal is to maximize performance and reduce injury in players. The Spurs became the first NBA team to use the technology in an actual game environment during this years’ Las Vegas Summer League.    The details of the device were explained by Jeff Caplan as the following.   The device, called OptimEye, is roughly the size of an oldfangled beeper and athletes wear it inside their jerseys on the upper back between the shoulder blades. The device records literally every movement the player makes, accurately measuring exertions such as distance, velocity, changes of direction, acceleration, deceleration, jumps, heart rate and more.   These physiological and physical performance parameters are then uploaded to a computer to be analyzed, allowing coaches, trainers and the players to understand their individual workload levels. These are conclusions that once could only be subjective, say, by reading a player’s body language, to now being totally objective. By wearing the devices during practices, teams can monitor their players’ physical output and closely watch their load levels to ensure each player is not being overworked and ensuring ultimate preparedness to play in each game when performance counts.   Worn during workouts, the device can provide real-time data alerting coaches and trainers if a player’s exertion rate is too high, the moment when a player is most vulnerable to injury, allowing coaches and trainers to pull back.   Even though this device is currently being used by many pro sports leagues around the world, the NBA has yet to allow the device to be worn during actual games. The decision is likely hinging on the approval from the players association and the league.    For a team that always manages the minutes of players, this technology can only enhance the knowledge of the Spurs training staff. They would then be able to advise the coaches on when certain guys should rest, take the night off, or if they should have a minutes limit when returning from injury. It might be even be able to take away the uncertainty of when it’s fine to bring a player back from injury. What we do know is that it would provide specific and accurate numbers which would allow the decision-making process that much easier for not only coaches, but players as well.    Once again the Spurs are setting the pace for the league. You can be sure they are always on the lookout for the next advancement in the game today.   Are Spurs fans excited about the newest technology to enter the game?
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