High-tech bid for basketball supremacy

A La Trobe University researcher is assisting Bendigo's elite athletes embrace world leading player-tracking technology in a bid to help the Bendigo Bank Spirit gain a competitive edge.

The Spirit's season will launch on Friday, 9 October. But an exercise and sports physiology PhD candidate recently appointed as the team's strength and conditioning coach is already hard at work collecting and analysing data from accelerometers.

'Accelerometers are small, lightweight tracking devices worn by players during training sessions and matches,' Mr Staunton said.

'They allow us to calculate the number of sudden changes in movement of a player and, importantly, measure how intensive they are.

'Sudden changes in movement may fatigue the body much faster than running at a constant speed. By measuring the intensity of a player's jumping, sprinting and shuffling from side to side, we can calculate an athlete's training load.'

The data is analysed and presented to coaching staff, who use it to help make decisions on how hard a player trains each week.

'Monitoring player's training can help prevent injury and ensure optimal levels of performance throughout a game or season,' he said.

'Accelerometers have given the Spirit an extensive baseline of data for each player. This could give the girls the edge to take that final step and win this season's championship.'

Mr Staunton began collaborating with the Spirit last season and was recently offered a coaching role.

Bendigo Spirit General Manager Adam Tarr said the appointment was made possible through a partnership between the team and the University.

'It has been a win-win situation for both parties which I hope can continue long into the future.

'We're excited to have such a talented and energetic PhD student in Craig Staunton involved with our program for the 2015/16 WNBL season.

'Craig brings a high level of professionalism to our program and has done an outstanding job since joining the Bendigo Bank Spirit.'

Mr Staunton also collaborates with soccer's Melbourne City youth squad and the Bendigo Braves, which are all sponsored by La Trobe University.

Media enquiries: Tom O'Callaghan, Media and Communications, T 03 5444 7415, M 0408 900 469