Suns News

Phone App Helps Suns Monitor Fitness

Frye has already seen a benefit of using the app during training camp.
(Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Images)
By Stefan Swiat, Suns.com
Posted: Dec. 15, 2011

With a condensed 66-game season lurking right around the corner, the Suns players don’t have much time to get into basketball shape. In order to make that happen as efficiently as possible, the team has turned to an unlikely ally: a phone app.

Suns strength and conditioning coach Mike Elliot was working with the English men’s national basketball team when he was first introduced to the idea of the players being responsible for their own fitness. The players would answer a questionnaire of how they felt after practice and the training staff would enter that data into a computer program to see how it should continue to work out the players.

Instead of manually entering that data, Elliot discovered the app "Rest Wise" and decided to implement it with the Suns this season. Every Suns player, whether they have an IPhone, Droid or Blackberry have downloaded the app to their phone.

Each Suns player answers approximately 10 questions a day about their health, with all of the responses funneling into a program that is analyzed by the Suns training staff.

“When I was over in England we changed their diets, sleep times, and travel times accordingly, “Elliot said. “And it actually really seemed to work quite a bit.”

The members of the Suns training staff have always remained on the cutting edge when it comes to the treatment of players, so it’s not surprising that they’re employing the use of technology to remain current. The app was already put to use in training camp, with the coaching staff actually determining the amount of conditioning they added into practice based on the data.

The data is compiled from a list of about 10 general questions about their health. Besides their height and weight, they enter info about how many hours they slept, how well they slept, their energy level, mood level, yesterday’s training performance, appetite, any symptoms of illness, soreness, injuries and urine shade.

The app already specifically helped Channing Frye, who wasn’t sleeping particularly well during training camp. After the trainers examined his info, they realized that he was dehydrated.

Once he nipped that issue in the bud, he slept well. And although he’s only used the app for a short time, he’s open-minded to seeing the app’s benefits over the course of the season.

Besides just looking at the players individualy, it’s also being used as a measure of the team as a whole. When the data showed that the players were becoming overworked, the coaches scaled back on the running.

Once the players' info dialed back to normal, the coaching staff ramped up the amount of fitness work.

“It’s been a good help, especially for a coach,” Suns Head Coach Alvin Gentry said. “Because our whole thing is we’re trying to get all this (conditioning) in during a shortened period of time. I think our medical staff has been great in terms of monitoring their conditioning.”

Gentry went on to joke, “As coaches we’re not smart enough to understand all the data, but it really helps.”

Any questions or comments for Stefan Swiat? Click here to send him your comments by e-mail.