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Catapult Technology: How CSU football is trying to gain an edge this season

Justin Michael Avatar
April 3, 2016


The Colorado State football program is doing everything in their power to gain an edge this offseason. Just like in our everyday lives, technology has evolved in the sports world in recent years. Coaches use tablets on the sideline, and radio communication has been a part of the game for years. Now, the Rams are using Catapult technology to monitor the athlete’s progression, and quantify their movements in practice.

According to Catapult representative Boden Westover, Capapult is a device that the players wear on the back of their compression shirts, and the system measures everything related to movement.  The device monitors the athlete’s distance, speed, accelerations, decelerations, jumps, changes of direction, etc, and then relays the information to a laptop on the sideline, where the athletes’ data can be tracked.

The purpose of Catapult is mitigate the risk of injury, by being able know exactly how hard to push the athletes in progress. “Think of it like what Google Analytics does for a website, or what radar technology goes for an air traffic controller,” Westover said.

By being able to see exactly how hard the athletes can go, the coaches are able to determine when they need to back off and when they need to push the athletes harder. The hope is that the players will be more “game ready,” feeling fresh when Saturday comes around.  

The concept for Catapult began when the Australian government hoped to improve their athletes’ performance in the Olympics. In 1981, the Australian Institute of Sports (AIS), was formed as a training institute for young athletes on scholarships.

In 1990, the Cooperative Research Centres (CRC), was formed to enhance Australia’s industrial, commercial and economic growth. According to the official website Catapult.com, the founders of Catapult, Shaun Holthouse and Igor van de Griendt “led a team of CRC researchers deploying emerging micro-technology in unprecedented ways.”

Working together, AIS and CRC saw their vision start to come to life. “Monitoring elite athletes was predominantly laboratory-based, however, relying on participants using gym equipment – which provided great insight into elite sport demands, but because the athlete wasn’t in their natural environment, they weren’t physically exerting themselves in the same way they would during competition.”

Wanting more accurate data, the CRC developed wearable sensors for 2004 Athens games. Two years later, Catapult came to life in late 2006, and has since become the global leader in athlete analytics. Along with CSU, the Denver Broncos, among many other universities and professional franchises also use Catapult in their training process.

With Colorado State looking to emphasize physicality and competition this spring, Catapult technology could be the difference that keeps the players healthy and on the field. Ram fans should be pleased to know CSU is going the extra mile this offseason, and they have the data to prove it.


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