LSU and some MIT grads think data (might) win championships

LSU’s football team, which ended the regular season ranked No. 1, uses new “smart weight room” technology developed by MIT grads.


December 9, 2019

The Louisiana State Tigers football program makes a strong case for the old “best offense is a good defense” adage. 

But LSU, which finished the regular season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press Top 25, also seems to have proved that data plays a role as well. 

Geaux nerds

Last January, a startup called Perch — founded by 3 MIT jocks-cum-entrepreneurs — started sending unsolicited emails to a number of athletics programs asking them to pilot a device created to collect data through velocity-based training. LSU was the first to say “Heeeeey.”

Velocity-based training is a technique that measures bar speed with respect to total weight and reps. This regimen improves power and explosiveness, which is vital to taking down linemen and breaking tackles.

Perch’s device works by aiming a camera — similar to an Xbox Kinect — on top of a weight rack and tracking a player’s movements. Data uploaded to the cloud gives coaches and trainers — and players, who love to one-up one another — real-time feedback on performance. 

Also… go team

Three weeks after Perch installed units at LSU’s indoor football facility, Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron said he noticed differences. 

“I think our guys are stronger and quicker and faster,” he told the WSJ. He also noted fewer injuries compared with prior years. 

Since the LSU pilot, Perch has installed units at Duke University and will do so for NFL, NHL, and MLS teams as well as additional college football programs next year.

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