Apr 4, 2017Sign of the Times
The San Francisco Giants are tapping into sports science. The three-year-old effort looks at the players’ performance and fatigue through the lens of physiological biomarkers.
“Players are looking for every legal advantage, every edge,” Geoff Head, MS, CSCS, RSCC, CES, PES, the Giants’ Sports Science Specialist, told The Mercury News. “That’s why the game has started to evolve. You can’t take steroids. They test ALL the time — I feel like that there are testers here every day. And that’s a good thing. You want the sport to be clean. But now the question is, ‘OK, how do I adjust and still play 162 games without getting hurt?'”
Recently, the team has looked to answer that question, in part, by focusing on hydration.
“One of the ways we check players’ hydration daily is through what’s called USG — a urine specific gravity machine,” said Head.
The sports science staff then uses the results of the USG to fuel a Hydration Domination contest. If players are participating in the voluntary competition, they need to post their scores before batting practice. The individual scores are kept private, but the player with the best hydration levels at the end of each series wins an award that looks like a golden urinal.
Along with the Hydration Domination contest, Head implemented a Daily Wellness Questionnaire that is available on iPads for each player. This provides insight on recovery.
“So if a player has had a hamstring injury in the past, the player might touch his hamstring [on an avatar] and say, ‘It’s like a 3,'” Head said. “That area will light up and basically remind me that, ‘Hey, this player had an injury in that area in the past.’
Like the USG tests