Based in Virginia, Liberty University is one of the largest private non-profit universities in the US, and competes in Division 1’s Atlantic Sun Conference.
Behind Director of Performance Analysis, AJ Madero, the Liberty Flames use Catapult’s PlayerTek wearable technology to better understand load management in order to keep their student-athletes injury-free.
Understanding load management
“Our Catapult data allows us to customize our individual plans to successfully peak heading into the match,” AJ said. “We have built up a database to determine positional loads and individual loads.
“This database allows for increased awareness of the demands necessary to compete at our level. We use this information in the off season to prepare our players for the in-season demands. This allows us to know our athletes are ready for the competition because they have been exposed to the volume and intensity.
“In our time using Catapult, we have used sprint distance and distance/min as valuable tools to prepare our players for the volume and intensity which we need out of each individual. As we plan the week, we discuss various drills both on the field and in the gym that will help address various parts of the body. We combine this information with our individual reports to confirm the weekly load and successfully build up for the match.
“Our players come back stronger as a result of the proper load prescription. We have historical data which allows us to determine if a player is reaching these pre-injury numbers before being released into competition. The live data allows for us to make quicker decisions and know exactly when a player has achieved a goal for the session.”
Celebrating injury-free athletes
“In collaboration with Solomon Tat [Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach] and Dan Preusser [Senior Associate Athletic Trainer], Catapult gives us a unique advantage when discussing the total loads which an athlete will experience during the upcoming week. We discuss any current injuries and what is the timeline till the match. We look at individual solutions to prepare each player with a plan to execute for the week. Catapult allowed us to dig into a safe approach to push our players to hit max speed.
“Catapult’s technology allows me to make daily evaluations and decisions which impact the results on the weekend.
“As a former student-athlete, I want our athletes to have a first-class experience by being prepared for the upcoming challenges. The athlete is the performer and everything we do leading up to the match has the ability to prepare him for one additional run that he didn’t know was possible.
“As a support staff member, I want to celebrate the success of the student athlete achieving his goals injury free.”
After being exposed to Catapult, AJ said “this experience provided me with an understanding of how to manage and evaluate weekly loads using external data. I was immediately hooked on how players could be pushed safely above their limits and providing us immediate feedback to alter our training sessions.
“After evaluating multiple GPS solutions, Catapult finished as the clear front runner due to the customer support and continued investment in education for their clients. Since 2016 we have had a successful relationship and our units have given us zero issues since the original date of purchase. The units are tough as nails and we couldn’t be happier.”