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Oh Pod! -- UCLA's Mike Linn Uses The Latest Technology to Train Football Team

It may seem like a small thing, but I find this story very encouraging.

According to this ESPN blog, UCLA strength and conditioning coach Mike Linn is utlizing the latest technology in his effort to get the team in better shape and prevent injury. Here are a couple of excerpts from the story:

"It's not just lifting as much weight as we can and running until we puke, though those are certainly parts of training athletes," he said.

That's why he was able to successfully pitch for a $100,000 grant toward restarting UCLA's dormant training table and purchasing two pieces of equipment: a Bod Pod and a metabolic cart.


Well, the Bod Pod is device that accurately measures body composition -- read: lean muscle vs. fat. And the metabolic cart -- think athletes wearing gas-mask looking things while jogging on a treadmill in commercials -- measures an athlete's metabolic rate, both at rest and during exercise.

When Linn knows an athlete's accurate body fat percentage and how many calories he burns at rest and during exercise, he can then create specific training routines for that athlete.

"We needed a way to figure out exactly how many calories our athletes needed and where those calories should be coming from," he said.

Further, a customized menu at the training table is a critical element of that routine. It includes a color-coded card that tells the athlete what to eat and how much. Said Linn, "We really call it the last station of our training -- the performance nutrition station."

While injuries, a UCLA bugaboo for the past few seasons, are often unavoidable, the overwhelming consensus is well-trained, lean athletes are less prone to injuries than those who are not. An athlete who is sucking wind will get sloppy with his technique and that could lead to unfortunate twists, sprains and tears.

You can read the whole story here, but I'd like to make a point i addition to the micro idea that the team is getting in better shape.

On the meta level, it's great to see that the team is using the latest technology, because we always seem to be behind the times when it comes to things like this. We never seem to be on the cutting edge when it came to gear and equipment or even something simple like having the turf as Spaulding ready for practice. If this is a sign of the new times, it portends well for the future.