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Playing 214 NBA basketball games in two seasons, including two extended playoff runs and the Olympics, would take a toll on anybody—so Harrison Barnes is using every tool at his disposal to train more efficiently.
“Since I’ve been in the NBA, it has become a data-driven sport, and teams are looking to measure and optimize every aspect of the game and technology plays a big role,” Barnes says. “With tools like motion sensors, I’m able to track things like my cardiovascular levels as well and how well I’ve slept. Getting consistent sleep is a big area of focus for me with our busy schedules, and it is vital for me to know how long and how well I’ve slept every night, which has an impact on my training and my performance on the court.”
Even after playing for the Warriors’ record-breaking team, Barnes committed to join Team USA basketball for the Rio Olympics. This kindof rigorous schedule that Barnes has undertaken, including his first taste of free agency, during which he signed a four-year max contract with the Mavericks, requires a dedication to his fitness.
“It’s all about how I prepare my body during the off-season,” Barnes says. “The training I’m doing now is focused on cardio workouts, and I use the heart-rate tracking feature on my Fitbit Blaze during workouts to monitor my heart-rate zone, which I try to keep above 130. I’m also doing a lot more work in the weight room and trying to maintain my cardio fitness because if that decreases, it’s harder to get back.”
These technological advances within basketball have evolved greatly, even since the 2012 London Olympics, when Barnes was a recent NBA draft lottery pick preparing for his rookie season. The league and its teams have been looking for any technological edge that helps players survive the 82-game grind of the regular season.
“I’ve always been interested in technology and there’s a natural connection between technology and basketball,” Barnes says. “Being able to see my fitness data in real time lets me adjust my workouts on the fly and get the most out of every session.”
Throughout his career, Barnes has had the advantage of playing for Golden State, which is near Silicon Valley and owned by technology entrepreneurs Joe Lacob and Peter Guber. Although he will no longer call the Bay Area home, he now plays under another owner with a keen interest in technology and entrepreneurship: Mark Cuban.
“I think one of the advantages of team owners coming from the tech world is attention to detail,” Barnes said. “I think it shows how the intersection of technology and sports and fitness is really coming full circle.”
As Barnes continues with Team USA at the Rio Olympics, his career continues to reach new heights, and he could prove to be a trailblazer for future NBA players getting involved in the technology world early in their careers.