Now My Head Hurts

aneurysmOh this is giving me a headache.

First, the NBA Developmental League begins to institute in-game HR/GPS monitoring:

http://grantland.com/the-triangle/the-data-flow-continues-nba-d-league-will-monitor-player-heart-rate-speed-distance-and-more/

Pretty cool, I know at least one of these devices also records vertical leap, one of my prime interests for 30+ years. The soccer teams at the University of Louisville instituted some of this stuff years ago and promptly became regular Top 10 squads. From what I recall; the trainers showed the coaches how hard the players worked in practices and how that impacted their legs during games. Players had been complaining of feeling ‘dead’ in the legs, but coaches ignored the protests until confronted with hard data.

Same could be done with basketball: “Hey coach, your guards have lost 3″ from their vertical leaps during the past 2 weeks as you bumped up practice time. Small wonder we are getting out-rebounded and losing 50/50 balls more often.” Interesting to see how/if the coach will react.

Then we see some in-race HR data from Hong Kong…but its from the damn jockeys:

http://www.scmp.com/sport/racing/article/1428475/study-finds-big-spikes-jockeys-heart-rates-race-day

Astounding how hard those guys work when it appears to the untrained eye that they are merely sitting on top of horses.

Why oh why does no one seem to understand how valuable this stuff would be from actual horses? Not vertical leap of course, but GPS and HR data from the warm up through the race and on through the gallop out/cool down. Trainers, spectators, bettors, etc. – everyone would have a new data stream to help improve their experiences.

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About bpressey

Equine Exercise Physiologist

Posted on February 16, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I’m more out of shape than I should be. I’m trying.to get my elder statesman ready for a beginner novice event. (5:00 minute xc jumping course). We are starting with three 5-minute trot sets, four 2-minute canter sets, followed by some more trot sets in the ring working on dressage. First day yesterday. I’m exhausted. My back is killing me. Leo barely broke a sweat and he is 27! (I’m 43.) Glory to the well-bred American thoroughbred!

  2. Are there trainers out there that are using HR/GPS ?

    • Yes several, but no ‘big’ ones in the US. I can think of top trainers in 3 other countries that utilize the technology on a daily basis, one almost obsessively so – but you won’t find me writing about them due to privacy concerns, although I may gently allude to them once in a while!

  3. Its probably seen as not in the best interests of racing to provide the punter with any more than the bare basic data.
    Its an old business model that hasn’t run its course yet

    • We do have Trakus which puts GPS chips into the saddlecloths, at least that is a step in the right direction as we can now quantify just how much work a horse does (distance covered, average speed, etc.). HR can complete the puzzle by providing the cost of that work do the horse, or quantify the age old saying – “It’s not how fast they go, but how they go fast.”

  4. Are you aware of any quarter horse trainers using heart rate monitors? Or any of the more progressive training models you describe on here?

    • Just this guy – https://thoroedge.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/the-quarter-horse-project/

      I hope to get more involved, but if any type of racing horse can do with minimal conditioning, it’s those whose races last 10sec or less. That’s akin to you and I sprinting to a mailbox at the end of a suburban driveway. We can do it holding our breath. I think the guy in this link is doing it perfectly following the Nunamaker protocol for thoroughbreds. Those 2 in the video should be seeing their first trials here in a few months.

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