In the heart of a medieval city, a unique and very modern basketball team is beginning to make its mark on the game. We recently spoke to athletes and staff at Básquet Girona to find out how Catapult is helping the club as it progresses towards its ambitious goals.
Based in the Catalan city of Girona, about an hour northeast of Barcelona, Club Básquet Girona is a professional basketball team that plays in the LEB Plata, the third tier of Spanish basketball.
Founded by three-time NBA All-Star Marc Gasol in 2014, Básquet Girona is a club with big ambitions. Created to bring elite basketball, youth development, and community outreach to a sports-made area of Spain, Básquet Girona’s dream is to reach the Liga ACB – the highest level of Spanish basketball – within the next five years.
Beyond the court, the big-picture plan is for Básquet Girona to become a cultural and sporting ambassador for its region. As reported in The Athletic, Gasol is determined for professional basketball to play a significant role in Girona, with the club at the heart of that vision.
“An amazing opportunity”
As Básquet Girona continues to mature and grow as a club, it looks to further professionalise every aspect of its infrastructure. This has extended to the club’s performance department, where the decision was recently taken to implement Catapult’s wearable technology.
Recording metrics such as PlayerLoad and using Inertial Movement Analysis (IMA) to measure the biomechanical effects of movements such as jumps, changes of direction, accelerations, and decelerations, Catapult is helping Girona to transform the way athlete performance is evaluated.
“Using Catapult is an amazing opportunity,” says Arnau Sacot from Básquet Girona. “It is really helpful for monitoring load, controlling risk, and comparing week-by-week. We are now able to see how we are in terms of availability and competition per player and as a team.”
For Básquet Girona, one of the major benefits of using Catapult is the ability to monitor athlete loading across training and games. By establishing the physical demands of games, the staff can ensure that practice is optimally preparing the athletes for competition.
“The benefits of using Catapult are huge,” Sacot explains. “For example, with the total PlayerLoad we can talk with the coaches and know the amount of load we want to get from every practice. From there we can measure how the practice was and can compare practice weeks and games with each other.”
As Básquet Girona continues to develop its performance operations and improve on the court, technologies like ClearSky are becoming increasingly important for the analysis and management of its athletes.
Improving communication and accountability
When it comes to performance technologies, the data received by clubs is only as powerful as the way it is communicated. Without presenting insights in the most appropriate and relevant ways, key information can be misinterpreted or lost in a sea of data.
For athletes to be receptive to data-driven feedback, they first need to be convinced of the benefit to their game. Básquet Girona has made a concerted effort to communicate the information from the technology in a way that the players are comfortable with. Once they are fully engaged with the information, data can be used to start important conversations about performance between staff and players.
“We talk to the team analysts and see what we’ve been doing daily,” says Antonio Hester, a Miami-born forward who signed from Starwings Basel in the summer of 2019. “We are able to see where we are currently, keeping ourselves accountable in terms of what we do, what we put in our bodies, and how we get rest.”
For many of Básquet Girona’s players, including Dutch centre Menno Dijkstra, using athlete monitoring technology is a new experience. “I have never used Catapult before, it’s a brand new system for me to use,” Dijkstra explains. “It is interesting to see how it can help you as an athlete. You can compare how you perform to how you feel physically. So far I really like it.”
For Dijkstra, the technology is important for validating performance improvement and backing up his own intuition about the way he’s playing on the court. “Catapult adds science to our practices,” he explains. “It provides stats based upon how much energy you put in, how much distance you have run, and how high you have jumped.
“You are able to know if you are getting any faster, or if you are accelerating quicker. It’s nice that the stats back up your performance, especially when you feel fast and are jumping high.”
As Básquet Girona continues to develop both on and off the court, the club looks set to make a major impact both in basketball and its community over the coming years. Combining performance excellence with an altruistic ethos, the sky’s the limit.