Every day at BridgeAthletic headquarters, we hear tales from coaches and athletes across sports of how the Bridge platform has helped them - by making the coaches more efficient, the department more connected, or the athletes' development more accessible than ever. These are stories of championships, obstacles overcome, and goals achieved. It’s what keeps us doing what we do every day, striving to build better athletes across sports and around the world. Featured here in our #BridgeBuilt Series is the University of Arizona's James Krumpos - Assistant Athletic Director for Performance Enhancement - and how his team of performance coaches are using the BridgeAthletic platform to better manage their athletes' training so they get more time in the weightroom, clear insights and analysis of athletic development across their department, and a recruiting boost, all with one tool.
University of Arizona
Coach James Krumpos
At the University of Arizona, the strength & conditioning staff aren’t just building stronger players, they’re building better performing athletes. Long gone are the days of the simple “Lift more, get stronger” approach to training. Instead, the Wildcat performance coaches have adopted a movement-based approach to strength training, focusing on sport-specific movements to keep athletes healthy and flexible while building strength and improving their performance on the field, court, pool, track, and diamond. With this forward-thinking approach to training, the performance coaches, led by Jim Krumpos, have implemented the BridgeAthletic platform for nearly every team at the school, increasing the efficiency of the performance staff and giving them clear visualization of each athlete’s development as well as enhanced remote training capabilities and a leg up in recruiting top talent.
“Nothing has been as helpful in organizing and saving time in our daily lives as Bridge!”
Building Better Performing Athletes
“I don’t want to be a strength coach. I want to be a performance enhancing coach.”
Throughout his tenure at the University of Arizona, Coach Krumpos has been steadily transitioning his staff from strength coaches to performance coaches. His stated goal is simple. “I don’t want to be a strength coach. I want to be a performance enhancing coach.” This holistic approach toward building better performing athletes is always evolving as each of the coaches continues to bring new knowledge to the team. With the adoption of movement-based strength training, the focus has been on improving athletic mobility and power leading to better on-field performance. The results have spoken for themselves, with Arizona teams seeing success across sports, highlighted by the baseball team playing in the 2016 College Baseball World Series Finals. To know what techniques were working and which weren’t, Krumpos and his team turned to technology to measure and track progress. Starting with GPS and heartrate monitoring, the implementation of technology quickly became a fundamental part of the athletic development programs at Arizona. With so much data coming in, the staff needed to become more efficient in their program building and analysis.
Efficiency Gains For The Performance Staff
“When I saw how easy it was to program, I immediately knew how useful Bridge could be.”
When BridgeAthletic was first introduced to Coach Krumpos, he was skeptical, as with all new technology put in front of him. However, with summer training coming up, he saw the benefit that Bridge could bring through its remote training capabilities. By delivering summer training to their athletes through the app, the performance staff not only could know that the athletes were getting the workouts with videos and parameters attached to each exercise, but could also track each athlete’s progress through the summer program. Additionally, the use of the Bridge platform eliminated the need for the coaches and interns to put together summer manuals, saving weeks of time formatting, printing, binding, and shipping. Instead, the coaches were able to spend more time with the athletes in the weight room.
After that first summer roll out with a couple teams, the staff noticed other time-savings through the Bridge platform. Instead of spending hours formatting workout cards, they built their workouts using the web platform, eliminating the individual cutting and pasting for 60 athletes on each team that was the norm while working in spreadsheets. The building and delivery of a whole team’s workout programs shortened immensely. According to Krumpos, “when I saw how easy it was to program, I immediately knew how useful Bridge could be.”
Able to spend more time working with the athletes, the performance coaches developed a better training experience as well. By displaying the athletes’ exercises on monitors in the weight room, paper sheets were no longer needed. Instead, the coach could carry a tablet around the weight room, spending more time teaching and less time explaining exercises and writing results. By inputting exercise results into the tablet with a quick tap, coaches saved hours after each workout by eliminating the manual upload of results. When it came to test week, these gains became even more apparent.
“Before Bridge, we were testing some exercises on individual sheets and some on team sheets. I’d have to have 8 pieces of paper on my desk as I uploaded each athlete’s results manually into their spreadsheet. This was both mind-numbing and time-consuming. We’d have an Excel profile sheet for all the athletes and have to make a new one each test week. Then, when I wanted to visualize the results, it still didn’t give a lot of graphs. It was a nightmare on Excel – you really had to be an Excel specialist in addition to a strength coach. Now with Bridge, the beautiful thing about spring is that during test week I just bring my iPad out and put the info in during the tests in real time and get the charts as soon as I get back to my office. That was huge for us.”
A Recruiting Tool
“One of the best parts of Bridge that we hadn’t counted on when we adopted it is that it’s a great recruiting tool!”
When a recruit is on campus, it’s everybody’s job to convince that student-athlete that the University of Arizona is the best place for her or him. When it comes to the Wildcat weight room, recruits might as well be walking into a technology center. All the gadgets and trackers are shown off in the office and conference room. To highlight just how advanced the performance training is, Coach Krumpos grabs a tablet from one of the coaches on the floor and walks the recruit through the digital workout, showing off the intuitive training platform as well as the ability to track progress.
“Once the recruit signs, we send them a personalized Bridge program so we can start tracking their progress until they get to campus and we can work with them in person. We used to send them PDFs of exercises and programs, but we never could know if they were actually following the program until they showed up.”
Whether it’s convincing top talent to attend the school or getting to spend more time on the floor building better athletes, Coach Krumpos and his staff of performance enhancing coaches are at the cutting edge of athlete development. With tracked results year-round, Wildcat athletes are getting smarter training and better results come game time.