Engineering system helps to better Texas A&M's athletes

December 12, 2002
| By: Aubrey Bloom

COLLEGE STATION - Texas A&M University javelin thrower Luke Marrs sometimes pictures woolly mammoths before he lets fly. "I'm a big believer in visualization," Marrs said. "I visualize everything. Why I throw, the track surface, guys I'm throwing against, the sky. So, seeing myself throw is a big help." Mental images are key to the complex sport that dates back to the 708 B.C. Olympics. Now, biomechanical expert Jerry Congleton of the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) is using 21st century imaging technology to help athletes like Marrs. Congleton, director of the TEES Ergonomics Center, uses twin digital video cameras, customized software and an onsite high-tech hooded viewing center to capture every nuance of Marr's javelin throws. The V1 Digital Coaching System is an integrated computer and video system originally designed to analyze golf swings, said Congleton, co-director of the TEES Ergonomics Center. "Being able to give them the visual feedback allows the coach and athlete to be on the same page about what to correct," Congleton said. The system has been used for archery, shotput, discus, baseball, soccer and football kickers and punters. Congleton and center personnel are modifying the system for use with other university sports including softball, volleyball and basketball. He is also a part-time coach with the Texas A&M athletics department's strength and conditioning team. "My goal is to eventually use the system in all 17 (university) sports," Congleton said. "The really great thing about the system is the athlete can have a record of when he is doing well and when he isn't, and he can compare the two to see what he is doing differently," Congleton said. Ergonomics Center -- http://ergo-center.tamu.edu

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