Tuesday March 17th, 2015

Seeing results can only be accomplished by quantifying your improvement. For the Miami Heat’s James Ennis, using technology to train has helped him hone his efforts and focus on the areas where he wants to see more athletic gain.

Ennis, in his first year with the Heat after playing internationally following a career at Long Beach State, has signed on to rep Blast Basketball, a device that measures basketball-centric metrics, such as acceleration, vertical height, rotation and hang time.

“My basic thing is acceleration in my jump and hang time right now,” Ennis tells SI.com. “When the season is over, I’m using this every day to see my results and see where I’m at and get better.”

Ennis says trying out the new technology about a month ago at the Heat’s practice facility got him excited about the real-time statistics and data, metrics that he can then use to craft exercises for improvement. “You can start with the strength you are looking for,” he says.

[daily_cut]Ennis—with acceleration a key focus—plans to spend time running with weights, pushing weighted sleds and using different tools to improve his acceleration. He’ll then track his progress, and hopeful improvement, on the court with the statistics gained from using the technology.

The small device attaches to a waistband and uses Bluetooth to connect to a smartphone or tablet. With built-in sensors, the device automatically detects movement and captures a player’s motion. Using proprietary algorithms, the sensor tracks specific movements, sending the information to an app for deciphering and display.

To spice up the metrics a little, the app uses Smart Video Capture to overlay video highlights with synchronized metrics in customized data-rich highlights.

Courtesy of Blast Basketball

Tools such as Blast Basketball, Ennis says, have already started changing the way players train, especially the young guys. “I think this is going to be the new way for athletes to be on top of their game. There are a lot of new technologies, but this one is very accurate.”

Ennis hopes that once he gets into the technology more this offseason he’s able to show off the value to his teammates, getting them more interested in the types of tools that offer valuable data—and possibly opening up some friendly competition along the way.

Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and gear for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.

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