Velocity based training devices / equipment / tools – My story of VBT.
Over the last five to 10 years there has been an ever increasing growth in the availability of sports science technology and performance equipment. With this increased access to technology there have been more devices and companies starting to produce equipment for strength and conditioning coaches and fitness professionals. In this post today I’m going to talk to you about my journey and problems that have arisen for my quest an investment for Velocity-Based Training.
What it is always incredibly important to understand is that if you do not have your house in order with regards to your training knowledge and system of application; then having additional sports science equipment is only going to compound the issues that are cropping up. I always like to remind myself when I go back and read some of the classical literature regarding the strength and conditioning industry about velocity based training. Velocity based training has existed for a very long time the only thing that has changed is that our ability to measure the velocity has become easier. A clever coach can always see and understand the need to manipulate training variables to elicit certain adaptations.
As a coach my number one priority is to ensure that my athletes stay healthy and the introduction of Velocity Based Training has made that possible
But still with this growth in technology it’s really important to acknowledge how being able to measure velocity has positively affected athletic performance training. The ability to manage fatigue and training status within the weight room has never been easier than it is now with the emergence of this technology. As a coach my number one priority is to ensure that my athletes stay healthy and the introduction of Velocity Based Training has made that possible. It is a great tool to educate athletes as well because when we want to train a certain quality all that we have to do is assign a number to it a repsective of the load. So we constantly nurture the athletes development in a progressive way that adapts to their readiness to train.
However when I first saw a Velocity Based Training unit my eyes lit up, and I thought all my training problems were going to be solved. However then as a young coach when someone told me the price tag that came along with such a unit none of my problems were solved. Velocity based training, or the measurement of velocity based training had to be put on the backburner until I could afford it.
When I was working at a professional rugby club we were using a Tendo unit a lot of the time and as a young coach I was just told that the players had to hit a certain speed. Immediately I saw the change of behaviour, the excitement, and the application to the training. but I only saw the effect of measurement and didn’t really understand what we were measuring. It then became really important to start to understand this a bit further. So it was about time for me to invest in my own VBT device.
I compared the accelerometer vs the lineal transducer. I knew and through speaking with numerous professionals in the field that the option of a linear transducer was the way forward. This was going to give me more accuracy.
The first measurement device that I invested in was an accelerometer. Essentially an accelerometer measures the speed of a bar in relation to the ground and What I found confused me as I was seeing different numbers then which I bought, and what compared to the Tendo unit. I did persevere with this, and tried a few different brands all using accelerometer. I started doing my research into accelerometer and found that the reason why I was getting discrepancies between the tendo and the accelerometer is because obviously the way they were measuring force was completely different. If you weren’t sure what this unit is, it measures through what is known as a linear transducer. Essentially a piece of cord is wound around a spindle and when the cord is unwound the speed at which the spindle moves is then calculated to create the variables which we are commonly associating with for velocity-based training. What this provides is a fixed endpoint of measurement. Conversely when we are using accelerometer the force that is applied to a specific movement creates an electrical charge which is then calculated to those variables. from that point on I knew and through speaking with numerous professionals in the field that the option of a linear transducer was the way forward. This was going to give me more accuracy.
The accuracy was the most important factor for me
Whilst I said earlier that competent coaches can understand the change in programming which will in advertently affect the velocity of movement; I knew that because of the behavioural impact that real time feedback was providing that these tools had great value within the programme. But the accuracy was the most important factor for me.
So with accelerometer is out of the question and I knew I wanted a linear transducer I set out looking for a product. I was taken straight to Gymaware which at the time was the Rolls Royce of velocity based training. And it deserved that title. The reason being not only its ability to understand the change of bar path which really did confuse the accelerometer the software of which it analyzed the lips stood out as it could cater for multiple athletes incredibly quickly without the necessary need to login and logout. I could work through 30 to 40 athletes very quickly and have leader boards. I have matched up my desire for reliability and psychology. The only stumbling block was that I didn’t have the thousands of pounds of which it costs.
Luckily I found Virtruve which has done a great job in marring up the financial restrictions with the technical accuracy.