Athlete testing using OptoJump on the Ice
Last week, the OptoSource team visited Ontario and the Canadian sales team for a few days of meeting Kitchner/Waterloo’s top sports facilities, therapy offices, and Universities.At a Wednesday afternoon event held at RIM Park and Manulife Financial Sportsplex, the OptoSource team tested two power-skaters on the ice!
The team was first blown away by the immensity of the Rim Park Sportsplex. All under one roof are multiple ice arenas, home to youth hockey, clinics, figure skating and other activites; full length soccer field where tournaments are held in the off season; a satellite office for Waterloo Sports Medicine, who the team visited at the main office earlier in the week; and back-to-back, full-length basketball courts. In addition to food courts, retail outlets, and rehab centers, the facility is surrounded by multiple state-of-the-art turf baseball fields and soccer fields.
We first began by laying down strips of plastic to shield the OptoJump technology from condensation and particulate and later decided to place hockey pucks under the 10-meter OptoJump Next system. A need for some Howie’s Hockey Tape to cover the perforations in the blade of Ryan Kuepfer’s Bauer Vapor skate made all the difference in collecting data. We were able to conduct a number of tests, including sprints from a dead stop, a pass-through, a full stop and sprint back-through, and a change of direction within the technology. The correlation between contact times, individual skate acceleration, and distance traveled made for some incredible interpretation and raised a host of questions on how important this technology can be when used on the ice.
“A squat jump just isn’t going to give you that.” says Ryan. Looking for power-differential in the weight room won’t be enough to determine which leg is more effective, and ultimately, more efficient on the ice. “Long lunges might be the best test on dry land after seeing this” he continues “but I can now get a look at technique versus ability where it counts.” As a power-skating coach for local youth clinics, Ryan explained some of the advantages this technology opens. “I can see if the skater is fluid or not” says Ryan, “There might be a skater that we all think is good, but with this I can make a real decision.”
Ryan believes OptoJump can make for a great assessment tool surrounding the fatigue of each skater or even each line in a game situation. “This will be invaluable for scouting purposes.” Having grown up in Ontario, hockey, like most other residents, is essential to life. “I think you can really gain a serious competitive edge” he continues, “I know what it’s like to go out there in a knee brace and feel like its just not helping.” Ryan believes with a better rehabilitation and return-to-play screening offered by this technology, he could focus on nutrition and training and expect real results.