497-222: The Science of Volleyball: Applying Multiple Disciplines to Enhance the Understanding, Training and Competitive Nature of the Sport

Meeting Days/Time
Wednesdays but time may be either 10:00 am to 12:40 pm or from 6:25 to 9:05 pm
Steve Hammond (ID) (stevehammond1@mac.com)
Appropriate Disciplines
Technical Innovation

Enabling athletes to perform at a high level has often been considered an art, with coaching based on the experience of the coach that varies among coaches. Techniques are developed and passed throughout the coaching community with varying degrees of testing for validity. Increasingly though, analytical methods are being applied to sports. Moneyball analytics in baseball, extensive testing of football athletes and other metrics are used to attempt to improve team performance.

Volleyball is a rapidly growing sport with one of the largest athlete populations among female athletes and a growing presence in male athletics. Illinois Tech has recently added men’s volleyball to its NCAA Division Illinois Tech women’s program. Given the analytical skills of Illinois Tech students, sports science is an ideal space for applying a wide variety of analytical and social skills. By working with the Athletic Department, volleyball athletes and Chicago area club coaches, this IPRO project will explore a number of aspects of volleyball technique, training and execution. Students who join the fall 2016 IPRO 222 team have the option to develop new project directions or advance the work of the spring 2016 team, including:

  1. Use of the Microsoft Kinect II platform to provide live feedback to athletes in the training environment;
  2. Use of sensors to measure joint movement and force with the aim of understanding and preventing injury; and
  3. Developing web/mobile-based self-education tools for players to learn strategy, tactics, skills and drills.

The aim of this IPRO project is to apply multiple disciplines to understand how to enhance volleyball team performance. Depending on the skills and interests of the team members, this could involve measurement, statistical analysis, social and psychological understanding of athletes, nutrition and other potentially helpful topics to explore. The goal is to enhance understanding of how to play, train and compete in the sport.

The specific areas to be studied will be guided by input from students, athletes (both IIT and external to IIT), IIT coaches, locally-based USA Volleyball coaches and interested department staff. Mike Hulett of Adversity Volleyball club will provide guidance and input on the topics and methods to be studied. Mike has the distinction of holding USA Volleyballs highest accreditation, CAP V and holds the 2012 Harold T. Friermood Award, USA Volleyballs highest honor. He coached the USA Mens Paralympic team in the Atlanta and Sydney Games and began the Womens Paralympic program, winning Bronze in Athens and Silver in Beijing.

This IPRO team will also work with the Mens Volleyball team and others during the semester. This may involve observation, development of measurement techniques and other methods. The exact program will be tailored to the needs of athletes, coaches and the participating students.

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