Associate Director of Sports Performance, Matt Murray, is responsible for the development of each student athlete at the University of Maine and designs and implements the year-round programs for Men’s and Women’s Hockey, Swimming & Diving, and Field Hockey.
In his efforts to support team coaches and improve athletic performance across the Maine Black Bears Division 1 Men’s and Women’s hockey teams, Murray invested in Catapult wearable solutions to handle his coaches’ data collection, analysis, and strength and conditioning practices as well as improving athlete engagement during training.
Adoption of Catapult’s solutions
Murray first heard about Catapult at a hockey-specific event in 2018 and, following this introduction, he understood that Catapult wearable solutions are designed specifically with hockey performance in mind.
The Associate Director of Sports Performance was quick to start using the solution to build a more holistic view of optimized performance.
“We decided to implement Catapult for monitoring external load metrics. We had a clear understanding of the internal load metrics by referring to heart rate data but we felt we didn’t have a clear picture as to what our athletes were physically doing in games and practices.
“Catapult helps us quantify the physical work we are doing with confidence. We primarily focus on workload, internal load, high intensity work duration, and explosive efforts.”
The Benefits of Using Hockey-specific Solutions
According to Murray, using Catapult at the University of Maine brings about a number of key performance benefits.
1. Athlete buy-in: Engagement and position-specific differences
“Nearly every athlete using Catapult this year has asked to see their performance data and how it relates to their perception of how they felt on the ice during a game or practice.
“The athletes enjoy seeing the workload distribution and how certain drills elicit a higher intensity for specific positions.”
2. Quantifying performance to individualise strength & conditioning practices
“Catapult has helped me quantify the physical work our athletes are doing on the ice”, explains Murray. “I use this data to develop a physiological profile for each athlete to use in their physical development.”
3. Off-the-ice training planning insights and live performance monitoring
“Using Catapult has helped me educate our coaching staff on volume and intensity and how that relates to specific drills we select and how to plan a week to ensure we are at our physical best on game days.”
These insights coupled with Catapult’s ability to monitor athletes live provide Murray and other Maine Black Bears coaches with the ability to adjust training sessions and practices.
“Catapult allows us to monitor performance live. We use this data to make any necessary adjustments during a live session.”
By using the Catapult data in this manner, Murray is able to ensure his coaches are getting the most out of their athletes, reduce the chances of overworking, and injury risk.
4. Coach buy-in: Developing a strategic performance vision
The Maine Black Bears coaches have been able to shift their perspective on what they value most as they look to continue to improve performance and drive towards winning another National Championship.
“Catapult has helped our coaches shape their vision away from time-on-ice as a metric of intensity and looking at specifically what they’re doing during their time-on-ice.”
Recommendations for other Hockey Programs
Murray lists a number of suggestions for teams looking to adopt technology within their ice hockey program:
Ask questions before and after adoption.
“With any new technology purchase, there are some growing pains. Ask questions because Catapult took their time and truly made sure we understood how to get the most out of each aspect of the solution.
“Within a short period of time, I felt very comfortable with the process of collecting and analyzing data.”
Ensure you have the capability to collect and analyse the data regularly.
“Make sure that your coaching staff understands the metrics and what they mean.
“The simplicity of Catapult’s cloud-based service makes it very easy for every member of staff (sport coaches, athletic trainers, physical therapists etc) to digest large amounts of data.”
Trust and try Catapult
“I can’t recommend Catapult enough. Their customer success team has gone above and beyond to assist me with our coaching staff in understanding the data we’re collecting and the solutions we’re using.”
To learn more about Catapult’s hockey specific solutions, click here.
Image credit: @MaineIceHockey