Men’s basketball team can monitor how much heart it has

By Austin Miller

An SIU coach is finding what it means to give 100 percent.

The men’s basketball team has been wearing heart rate monitors during practice and conditioning to gauge players’ performances.

Entering his third season as head coach, Barry Hinson said he had the idea to use heart monitors for a couple years, but didn’t have the money to purchase them. After several fundraisers, he bought monitors for all 14 players, which all together cost around $25,000.

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Hinson, known for wearing his heart on his sleeve, is trying to examine the hearts of his players. He said the monitors give him more information than just the confirmation of a player’s work ethic.

“To me, it’s almost like having a human fuel tank,” Hinson said. “You can know exactly how much more you can push them and what they can do. It’s fun to watch those guys during practice. They’ll run over there and check and say, ‘Hey, what’s my heart rate?’ They know when they’re going hard and when they’re not.”

Matt Bertsch, graduate assistant strength and conditioning coach, receives the data on his computer as he sits courtside. The working heart rates of each player appear instantly.

He said the data is a good measure for the workouts and prescribed practice regimens.

“I hope it reveals that what we do works,” Bertsch said. “Once we have collected enough information, we can build on what we already do.”

Bertsch said the data will be important when the Salukis face the demands of conference play, which begins Dec. 31 against Missouri State.

Freshman guard Chaz Glotta said the monitors irritated him at first, but he has since embraced the device because of its benefits.

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“Say we’re in a tournament and we have three games back-to-back-to-back. It will help the preservation of our team,” Glotta said. “It will help us perform to the best of our abilities and not drain our guys and make them go past what they can accomplish.”

Glotta said the monitors help keep him motivated during practice.

“It keeps it [in] the back of your mind that you can’t slack off,” he said. “It’s a tool that really puts an emphasis on yourself. You can’t take a play off because the coaches will know.”

Hinson said the monitors have been a success so far, and he’s glad the athletes have supported his idea.

“The kids have a saying: ‘The ball don’t lie,’” Hinson said. “I have a new saying: The heart rate monitor don’t lie.”

For Hinson, this method is another way for him to continue to evolve as a coach and think outside of the box.

“I know people say I’m old-school and I don’t have a problem with that,” he said. “But I don’t want to be old-school when it comes to basketball. I want to try new things.”

Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @AMiller_DE.

 

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