north carolina state UNIVERSITY
Director of Strength and Conditioning
Bob Alejo first heard about Catapult during his second stint as the Director of Strength and Conditioning with the Oakland A’s in 2009; the first time with the A’s was between 1993-2001 which included the Moneyball years. “Looking at ways to improve performance and reduce injury incident,” Bob said. “I reached out over several sports and countries to see metrics and interventions other strength and conditioning coaches and sports medicine/athletics performance teams were using.
“It was then that I found teams in Europe were using the technology.” Using the technology extensively with the Wolfpack’s men’s basketball team, Bob has a handful of metrics that he relies on.
“PlayerLoad per minute, without question. Over the last 10-15 years, density of training (work load and intensity in relation to time) has been a primary focus in training (weightlifting, conditioning), making intensity a key variable in peak performance (power, speed, strength) and recovery (the restoring of systems).
“That being said, it is necessary to include an analysis of all variables (in our case, total IMAs, jump breakdown, accelerations and decelerations, and total load) in contrast to PlayerLoad per minute to provide context for the metric.
Using these metrics, Bob effectively uses Catapult to quantify athlete risk and readiness. “The answer for reducing incidence, severity, and risk of injury and ensuring the best performances is two-fold: 1) analyze the data, and 2) be on the same page with the head coach!
“Considering absolute and relative values (timing of data: hard practice, short practice, day after games, day before games, etc.); in relation to other athletes of similar positions, personal best data (eg. an athlete’s total PlayerLoad for a specific practice compared to year-todate highest PlayerLoad is the percentage of maximum PlayerLoad); and considering physical profiles in the decision making process (strength, power, fitness and speed data) and understanding the sport and practice plans (content and intent).
“All of which is 100% meaningless unless the head coach understands the meaning of the data and believes in it, like our head coach, Mark Gottfried does.”
Bob also describes his experience using Catapult for returning an athlete to play following an injury as “great!” “Every drill is cataloged with a team and individual profile for each drill.
“It’s easy to quantify the athlete’s stage during his return-to-play process. For example, if a three-minute drill has averaged 12.00 PlayerLoad per minute and the athlete is at 9.00 - physically, mentally or both the player is at 75%. “Two interventions would be to shorten the drill to see if that affects intensity or perform the drill for four minutes to achieve the total PlayerLoad of 36. As mentioned, looking at accelerations and decelerations, jump bands and IMAs will help support our next decision.
“Another example, would be an athlete returning from a lower body injury whose jump band breakdown during a non-contact rebounding drill illustrates his stage of mental and physical return-to-play. And of course, the objective information allows our ATC, Ryan Holleman, to plan the best course of action in the rehabilitation process to minimize setbacks and allows us to have a common dialogue when moving from the rehabilitation to reconditioning phase.
Why did Bob choose Catapult?
“In my opinion, it’s the best available technology of its kind with a wealth of available data and users for comparison and education. Additionally, support staff has been available and informative.
“It allows me to get that much closer to 100% certainty when concluding the effects of movement and the physical cost of training, practice and competition.”
Bob is currently the Assistant AD/ Director of Strength and Conditioning at North Carolina State University, where he oversees all of the strength and conditioning efforts of the department, and coordinates the day-to-day efforts of the men’s basketball team.
Before joining the Wolfpack, and after his tenure with the Oakland A’s, Bob was the Director of Strength and Conditioning at UC Santa Barbara from 2005-2008. During that time he was also a member of the 2008 US Olympic Team as strength and conditioning coach for the Gold medal-winning men’s beach volleyball team. From 1984-1993, Bob served as strength and conditioning coach at UCLA where he worked with 23 men’s and women’s teams, including the men’s basketball team.
An accomplished lecturer and author, Bob is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (through the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s Certification Commission) and holds the advanced NSCA Registered Strength and Conditioning Coach distinction.