In all sports, training is key. This involves eating well, getting adequate sleep, attending practices and growing as an individual and as a team. The men’s and women’s soccer teams at John Brown University are taking their training to the next level.
Head women’s coach Kathleen Paulsen became familiar with the Polar Heart Rate system during her time with the University of Arkansas soccer program, as well as in her studies while obtaining her master’s degree in exercise science.
“We used the Polar Heart Rate system to give the coaching staff feedback and information regarding practices and players,” Paulsen said. “It’s hard data and it’s a great resource for feedback about what I am doing as a coach and what my players are doing out on the field.”
According to the company’s website, their heart rate monitors measure the electrical frequency of your heart, which determines the number of beats per minute at which your heart is operating. The monitor then provides hard data that is as accurate as an electrocardiogram, more commonly known as an ECG.
Paulsen is able to see the data from all of the players’ monitors and see what needs to be fixed.
“We use the monitors to figure out how to plan practices,” Paulsen said. “We can decide whether practice needs to be hard or easy and decide what activities will accomplish that goal.”
The Polar Heart Rate Company has been making headway in technological innovations and heart rate monitors since 1977. They provide different types of monitors and services to all types of athletes to help performance, as well as allowing people to live a healthier lifestyle.
Athletic Director Robyn Daugherty acknowledged that JBU is incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to use the system.
“Not many schools our size have a system like that,” Daugherty said. “Usually only professional teams use them, so it’s a matter of time to see what we can do with it.”
Junior Casey O’Brien has found the system to be beneficial for her as a player.
“I didn’t really pay attention to my heart rate before, I just thought that since I was an athlete I was perfectly healthy,” O’Brien said. “After using the monitor, I found out that I had places where I needed to improve, and I wouldn’t have been able to understand that without seeing the data.”
While coaching at the University of Arkansas, Paulsen found that using the system prevented injuries and allowed the players to perform at their highest potential.
“We hope to accomplish those same results at JBU,” Paulsen said.
Daugherty sees the system moving into John Brown’s academic spectrum as well.
“I can only see it moving forward and maybe helping kinesiology majors, potentially pre-med majors,” Daugherty said. “I’m hoping we expand it to academics and use it to help with teaching and learning.”