George Ellis, a professional basketball skill trainer, believes that technology and smart devices have a strong influence on the future of training and recruiting for sports such as basketball, soccer and tennis. Ellis helps youth and professional athletes from around the world build the necessary skills to maximize their talents and abilities through his organization Real Athletics, a basketball training program with the Amateur Athletic Union.
One example of such technology is the Adidas miCoach X_cell which Ellis put to the test during recent basketball skill training sessions. The device easily straps onto the player’s body and connects to a mobile device through the miCoach mobile application. Through the app, players and trainers can monitor speed, vertical distance, response time and heart rate.
“The benefit of the device extends beyond tracking performance like quickness and vertical jumping ability for athletes,” Ellis said. “It also helps see if players have the inner drive to compete against their toughest opponents — themselves.”
Ellis uses an example of when the miCoach app displays the vertical height reached for a drill. Does that player respond aggressively to beat that number when running the drill again? This response gives a trainer insight into the heart of that player in addition to simply measuring the physical accomplishment.
The best application of the miCoach is the reaction drill. This allows trainers to measure something that would be difficult to replicate without the technology. When performing this drill, the device is held in front of the player and an arrow points left or right at random, requiring the player to quickly react. The X_cell records the time it takes the player to shuffle and measures body reaction to visual stimuli.
“The miCoach gives players and trainers a realistic picture of response time in one-on-one or game experiences,” Ellis said. “It shows through concrete data the skills that set good players apart from great players in elite sports organizations.”
The key for trainers using the miCoach X_cell device and mobile app is to use it in specific situations to motivate and set measurable goals. Ellis advises using it tactically when working with players in trainings. “The best technology to use with players is seamless and minimally distracting during the workout,” Ellis said.