Lolo Jones's secret training program provides an unprecedented boost heading into the track star's crucial season.
Far from the eyes of the worldwide media and legions of fans that have been putting increasing focus on USA Track & Field star Lolo Jones this year, a different kind of lens has been setting its sights on her form. Using 3D motion capture technology, Red Bull Project X centered on a secret high performance training program over four months to help pinpoint and perfect Lolo’s training in a manner never done before for track and field.
Alongside the motion capture technology more often known for major Hollywood movies and high-tech video games, additional technologies were used including an Optojump, an optical LED based system set on the ground to capture contact times and a Phantom camera, which captured imagery at up to 1,250 frames per second and provided visual interpretation to minuscule detail.
While athletes have used motion capture in the past, it was never tested over the length of a track run, nor has it ever been used on a hurdler outdoors. Lolo’s longtime coach Dennis Shaver explains how the project has added depth to his coaching tactics, “Previously you were going on coach’s intuition, fairly inaccurate video analysis. Red Bull Project X has allowed us to eliminate all guess work and get right down to the finite, exact thousandth of a second of what all is going on and try to make changes that will benefit her.”
In a sport where the difference between first and fifth can be mere hundredths of a second, each minor improvement can have a hefty impact. As Coach Shaver elaborates, “Ultimately the whole project is about, and what an elite athlete is trying to do, is shave milliseconds off ground contact times, milliseconds off each one of those hurdle clearances. If you can do that you are probably going to be on the podium at the end of the day. “
For Lolo, the training regimen has helped give her a boost of confidence that is crucial leading into major races, “You have just 12 seconds to do all of this. Having this technology and just making sure every little thing is clear and precise and we can find the mistakes before we go to a big competition, it’s vital. It’s not something that Coach Shaver or I could have done on our own. It takes a team,” said Jones.
After countless hours on the track and in the gym, preparing herself for one of the biggest meets of her life, she will be ready thanks to hard work and the tools that have pushed the boundaries of track analysis. “Having the data – and using the data to improve. Knowing that I can fix my errors and practice and get smarter and better and faster in the practices, that’s what’s going to help me in the races. I feel like Red Bull Project X is my edge. And sometimes that’s all you need.”
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- Watch the 3D Motion Capture video here