Measuring Movement in the Moments that Matter: A Volleyball Case Study

Do you know how you move when you are in the heat of the moment?

That's a tough question to answer without objective measurement tools, but it's a very important one, as it can have implications on both health and performance.

Below is a small section of data from an athlete who wore Plantiga insoles for an entire volleyball game, and the insights that were driven by this data were literally game changing. Three of those insights are presented below:

  1. Jump Height: This is a key performance metric in volleyball. If you ask anyone who plays a competitive sport, they will tell you that they jump higher in a game than during standard jump testing procedures, so collecting this data in situ allows for more accurate performance measures. The height for this particular jump can be seen on the right hand side of the screenshot - 58.61 cm.
  2. Pre-Jump Patterns: By looking at the movement patterns before the jump itself, we can see how the athlete achieved a certain jump height in terms of the type of approach, timing, and accelerations at takeoff and landing. In this case, the athlete used a 4 step approach, starting with a right foot step. This is indicated by the grey bars overlaid on the graph in the "Approach" box. As a training tool, this could be used to help make decisions on approach styles and optimization.
  3. Landing Patterns: How an athlete comes down after a jump is critical for ensuring safe play. This athlete has a habit of landing on their left side first, which has contributed to overuse injuries farther up the kinetic chain over time. This athlete has Achilles tendinopathy, shin splints, patellofemoral pain syndrome, and a compressed SI joint on the left side, so by monitoring movement patterns in the moments that matter, coaches and trainers have begun to adjust training plans and focus more on landing technique to help this athlete overcome her injuries.