Catapult enhancing Malkia Strikers training


Catapult enhancing Malkia Strikers training
Malkia Strikers during a session at their training camp in Kurume City. (PHOTO/Courtesy)

In Summary

  • The equipment was introduced at the beginning of training in Nairobi about three months ago. Opice says it has helped the coaches prepare better for each training session and also avoid injuries
  • Now the coaches are working on shaping their mindset from excitement of being in Japan to focussing on the task ahead
@MikeOkinyi in Tokyo, Japan

The use of technology in sports is the new norm in enhancing player performance in all competitions. for the first time, Kenya’s Malkia strikers are using the catapult GPS system to monitor their performance in training.

“Technology now comes to help sports, even in volleyball it’s not gonna be different, so we are using for the first time in the volleyball world an equipment called the catapult that is used by football teams in Europe for example,” said team manager Roberto Opice Neto.

So what is the catapult device and how does it work?

“The catapult is a GPS device where each player is wearing a specific sports bra and you attach on the back . We measure performance during training with this device. So we can evaluate with the strength and conditioning coach and also the other coaches . we assist them with that data to prepare the training sessions and also how to avoid injuries, explained Neto.”

The equipment was introduced at the beginning of training in Nairobi about three months ago. Opice says it has helped the coaches prepare better for each training session and also avoid injuries.

“Catapult has helped us a lot because some of us just train and go home without analysing the performance in training to know strengths and weaknesses. With the technology everyone is given what to work on from the analysis. It has really helped us, says team libero Agripina Kundu.”

“One of the things it has helped us in is in strength and conditioning in the gym to gain the much-needed power so that when we strike, the opponent feels the power of Ugali,” she added.

Mixed Emotions

Neto added that, “volleyball is a collective sport, it is a group sport, but you cannot treat the libero the same way as a setter for example. Each individual player for each individual position needs a specific type of training and also a specific type of exercises to avoid injuries. Those measurements (in the catapult) will be helping us to measure from the heartbeat to their jumps-how many jumps they do during a session and how high they can jump. We retain this data which is real-time and send to the strength and conditioning coach who analyses it real time and knows how to push each player in that training session.”

Since landing in Japan, Opice says the players have been very excited as this is the first time they are out of the country since they started training. Now the coaches are working on shaping their mindset from excitement of being in Japan to focussing on the task ahead.

“Now the preparation is focussed on the tactical system and also what we will be facing from our opponents. We are playing Japan in our first match, and now coaches Luis Omar and Paul Bitok are setting specific types of strategies to face japan then south Korea,” he explained.

Kenya will also play Brazil in Tokyo. The technical bench, save for coach Paul Bitok, are Brazilian. It is a bag of mixed emotions for them.

“Playing Brazil will be really really strange for us because the Brazilian coaches (in the Kenya team) know each of the players (in the Brazil team) very well. Four of Them played for (coach) Luizomar’s club in Brazil and getting to meet them will be interesting to see how we will share our knowledge and expertise on how Brazil play with the Kenyan players,” Narrated Opice.

“We do think Kenya will be doing well but we really want them to enjoy playing Brazil. Brazil now is in a different level where we want to be with the Kenya team in the future,” he concluded.

The Brazilian coaches were seconded to Kenya by the International Volleyball Federation (IVF). They are part of the volleyball empowerment project, which aims at improving nations with potential like Kenya to break the ceiling in the Olympics and beyond. The coaches say that for sure in the future, Kenya will be one of the top volleyball nations in the world.

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