Projects: Sports Training

Training Game Sense

The amount of video that football coaches analyze and players study would amaze most fans. I learned that as I worked as the Athletic Video Coordinator for Purdue University from 1990 to 2003. But, we can do more to accelerate players' learning. We can use video and data (formation, coverage) to quiz and learn rather than just watch video -- putting the coach in their players' ears during video study. Interactive video training can improve game sense for sports like hockey, soccer, and basketball as well as football.

Fans, players, and coaches all recognize athletes who seem to have a special "sense" of the game. They seem to know what's going to happen on the field, court, or rink before it happens. They can hit a pitch or return a serve that arrives in less than half a second ... while seeming to have all the time in the world. Game sense isn't a "talent" -- it can be trained in the same way that we train muscles. I am working with a start up company (Axon Potential) to bring together my experience as a college video coordinator, my study of sports science, and my knowledge of instructional technology and design to create products and drills for training both kinds of game sense -- decision skills (like a quarterback) and reaction skills (like baseball batting).

I have also worked with ballistic recognition-reaction skills like batting in baseball (in my dissertation) and in softball (with youth and college teams), including inventing a patent-pending computer program for training on the pitch recognition (now considered the "sixth tool" in baseball). In tennis, I am midstream in a project to train tennis players to pick up the type and location of serves--very much like pitch recognition.


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