A growing number of collegiate athletes are benefiting from technology as they pursue their performance dreams. With the NCAA Women’s Soccer and Field Hockey tournaments getting underway this week, eight teams in the National Championships hunt are relying on Firstbeat Sports to put physiological knowledge into practice for enhanced performance and improved recovery.
Leading the hunt for the women’s soccer title are the #1-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks (18-1-1), who won the SEC regular season title and set a school record with 18 straight wins in the process. Making their 10th NCAA tournament appearance, South Carolina defeated Alabama State (11-9-1) by a score of 7-0 in the opening round. SEC Coach of the Year Shelley Smith notched her milestone 200th career victory with the win, extending her record as the winningest coach in team history.
The Firstbeat Sports system helps coaches individualize training using an innovative analysis of heart rate and heart rate variability, the beat-to-beat adaptations of the heart. The system gives coaches and trainers access to player fitness levels, reveal the impact of each training session, and track training loads over time. It is also capable of monitoring player recovery levels, and can warn the team when poor recovery or accumulated fatigue is putting a player at increased risk of injury.
“Firstbeat has helped ensure that our players are able to properly recover from each training session by monitoring training loads,” explains South Carolina Strength and Conditioning Coach Alex Buchman. Use of the system allows coaches to develop a unique profile for each player based on their own personal physiology. As a result training decisions become more personal and proper training dosages can be managed with precision.
The South Carolina Men’s Soccer team is also benefiting from the utilization of technology to boost performance. They are set to host Mercer University in the open round of the men’s NCAA tournament. The game marks South Carolina’s 20th NCAA postseason appearance, all under Head Coach Mark Berson.
“As a school, South Carolina is really committed to their soccer programs, and it’s great to see them succeed,” says Firstbeat’s Benjamin Jensen. “Working with Alex [Buchman] and the women’s team over the past few years, you can see the dedication and effort they bring to the table. We brought the men’s team onboard before this season, and it’s been rewarding to work with the strength and conditioning coaches from both teams together as we look through the data.”
South Carolina will be hosting a rare NCAA tournament doubleheader, as the men’s team hosts Mercer in first-round action in the afternoon, and the women’s team hosts Colorado in the evening for their second round match-up.