Sports science and technology are converging at an all-time pace and eight NBA teams are experimenting with a new device designed to optimize and personalize training regiments thus the ability to maximize performance and reduce injury.

The San Antonio Spurs Dallas Mavericks Houston Rockets and New York Knicks plus four other teams that have chosen to keep their identities secret have invested in these complex GPS tracking devices created by the Australian company Catapult Sports the self-professed leader in “athlete analytics.”

“We just want to be able to get smarter about our players and how to train them and how to put them in a position to succeed” said Mavs owner Mark Cuban. “So that’s just one component of a lot of different things that we’re doing.”

The device called OptimEye is roughly the size of an oldfangled beeper and athletes wear it inside their jerseys on the upper back between the shoulder blades. The device records literally every movement the player makes accurately measuring exertions such as distance velocity changes of direction acceleration deceleration jumps heart rate and more.

These physiological and physical performance parameters are then uploaded to a computer to be analyzed allowing coaches trainers and the players to understand their individual workload levels. These are conclusions that once could only be subjective say by reading a player’s body language to now being totally objective. By wearing the devices during practices teams can monitor their players’ physical output and closely watch their load levels to ensure each player is not being overworked and ensuring ultimate preparedness to play in each game when performance counts.

Worn during workouts the device can provide real-time data alerting coaches and trainers if a player’s exertion rate is too high the moment when a player is most vulnerable to injury allowing coaches and trainers to pull back.

Catapult’s Gary McCoy compares the company’s technology to the intricate and mandatory gauges that measure engine performance and other vital signs of a high-performance race car.

“Imagine NASCAR or even mechanically more precise Formula 1 racing” McCoy said. “Powerful engines. High-performance mechanical needs. Could you imagine driving one of these vehicles without any dashboard whatsoever? What if you cant ‘hear’ the engine? Would you know when you are ‘redlining’ causing untold overload to the system?

“The same happens every day for a high-powered NBA athlete — we drive them without a dashboard we guess. Our eyes give us extremely limited information. We don’t know what is too much what is too little. Catapult data changes all this. Viable objective measurements on movement and then simply what we can measure we can manage.”