New Equipment & Technology
transform Pitt Athletics training experience
PITTSBURGH - The only thing Brian Templien is certain of is that change is coming. In the ever-evolving world of athletics, there are always new ways to support the needs of teams and departments.
Templien, video director for Pitt Athletics, has transformed the way coaches coach and athletes perform since joining the athletic department in 2013. He is part of an evolving team that impacts Pitt Athletics through technology.
“When I started, we had five teams using video in some capacity,” he said. “It's way, way different now.”
Templien was part of a team that installed a state-of-the-art, multi-camera capture system at the Petersen Sports Complex, Fitzgerald Field House and Trees Complex. He also played a key role in the installation of an artificial intelligent camera system at the Petersen Events Center and Ambrose Urbanic Field.
Once installed, Pitt became the first collegiate basketball and soccer teams in the country to use this camera, which follows athletes without a camera operator while capturing up to 12 angles over the entire field of play.
The system revolutionized the way athletes and coaches could prepare and train for competition.
“All of the coaches I talk to, they say they love it,” Templien said. “It has definitely given everyone information and advantages that they didn't even know existed.”
All practices and games are recorded and instantly uploaded into a cloud storage system. This allows for a quick turnaround when analyzing the performance of a specific athlete or unique play.
Student-Athletes, too, have quick and easy access to the film. As some sports become more technical and reliant on data, advanced technology has been needed. The baseball program, for example, has benefitted from upgraded technology that can track how much a ball spins out of the hand of a pitcher and the velocity of a line drive off the bat.
“In the modern game of baseball and college athletics, technology and advanced analytics have allowed us to prepare, develop and assess our student-athletes in ways that we have never before,” said Mike Bell, head baseball coach at Pitt. “These new areas of technology allow us to continue our growth and quest to compete for championships.”
The softball program is in its first season working in a new indoor practice facility, which like baseball, is full of technology capable of capturing different metrics for pitchers and batters. Camera streams set throughout the facility are streamed directly to televisions hanging on the wall, allowing for players to make quick adjustments. The new indoor space also has batting cages that can be used for drills, a pitching machine and live pitching.
New technology isn't limited to training for competition. Beginning in 2021, all student-athletes were given new iPads to help improve academic performance. Tilly Sheets, now Associate Director, Academic Support for Student Services, oversaw that installation.
“At that time, I regularly worked with students who lacked the basic technology required at the college level for academic success,” she said. “I felt it was more than worth our time, effort and money to provide this for our student-athletes.”
The iPads do more than assist in basic educational needs, like surfing the web. They allow administrators to send important forms and files, compliance information and team itineraries. With hybrid class schedules, the iPads can be used to Zoom into class or important meetings, something that was not previously available for every athlete.
Strength training has benefited from new technology too, specifically with a wearable device called Catapult. Catapult is a tracking device, capable of reporting how much energy an athlete is expanding based on factors like active minutes, average speed and more.
“Any time they have practice, a game, conditioning, they have these on,” said Aaron Duvall, associate head strength and conditioning coach. “It allows for us and the coaches to understand the type of conditioning an athlete needs in a way.”
Catapult is used every day by the men and women basketball programs, football, lacrosse and men and women soccer programs. The volleyball team has a similar device, too.
As technology advances, the need and urgency to provide Pitt coaches, staff and student-athletes with the latest advancements is crucial to help with training and academics. The Student-Athlete Success Fund can make this possible.
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