Arms in Motion

March 9, 2018

Pitchers will be able to have a trick up their sleeves with a new wearable from Motus Global. The sleeve provides biomechanics data that allows personalized athlete training.

An article from SportTechie explains that Motus has two initiatives underway for the spring. One features enhanced machine learning in an app to give a pitcher’s readiness score.

This score is derived from changing workload averages. In other words, increases in the acute-to-chronic workload ratio (ACWR) have shown an increased likelihood of being injured. Similarly, decreased mobility as the season progresses is hypothesized to contribute to injury risk. This information is driving the readiness score generated by the app.

“We find that a lot of people don’t have good control over [preseason training] if they can’t see it,” Ben Hansen, Motus Chief Technology Officer, said. “It’s just phenomenal how, unwittingly, so many pitchers are putting themselves in fatigue scenarios when they could be using this feedback to dial it down or progress in a more informed way.”

The other initiative that is underway is the motusCOMBINE, which boasts an array of sport-specific physical tests to gauge athletes’ mechanics, speed, agility, and mobility. This brings in knowledge from the biomechanics lab as well as the wearable tech.

Although this sounds like it’s made for the pros, the first athletes to test out the combine assessments were Little League players. The 12 Little Leaguers will be on the field with up to three travel teams over the summer.

Along with going through the combine recently, the youth athletes will wear the motusTHROW at all times as part of a three-year longitudinal study on arm health. They will also have motusONE screens on their shoulder, trunk, and hip mobility each week.

“We’re going to understand that workload perspective for kids who are on multiple teams, which we know is a major risk factor for overuse and injuries and at the youth level,” Hansen said.

The Little Leaguers aren’t the only ones testing the newest offerings. Matt Soren, a former minor league pitcher, has been in the biomechanics lab for a standard mobility assessment as well as a comprehensive evaluation.

As part of the testing, his movement was tracked with 16 Raptor-E cameras, six Motus sensors, and 54 motion-capture markers. In the testing, he also had the Motus sleeve wearable. The results are shown with a stick-figure skeleton, with the collected data being sent to a cloud for asymmetries to be identified.

“Any way I can get more consistency in my release point, in my swing back or whatever they see, I’m ready to change up because this is the last effort,” Soren said. “I can’t figure it out just by throwing a million bullpens. I mean, you can do it, but when you have actual science behind it, it’s facts, not just my opinion on what I think I can do to get better.”

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