ROBINSON, Texas — The Robinson High School athletic department is undergoing a revolution in weight training after installing new technology this spring.
Head Football Coach Robert Rubel said he talked with coaches at the University of Alabama about how they train their student-athletes. During that conversation, he learned more about Velocity-Based Training (VBT).
VBT focuses on the speed at which athletes lift during traditional weight training exercises, rather than focusing on ensuring they use the maximum weight.
"It's a mindset change," Robinson Junior Trey Stout said. "All of this is more about how fast you can get the weight up and how attentive you are to the little details, whereas previous years was how much weight you can get up."
Coaches say they hope the change will lead to more explosiveness on the field this fall.
"We're not trying to make body builders," Rubel said. "We're trying to make athletes across our entire athletic program, and I think we're going to see some results here in the near future."
The system works by wirelessly linking a sensor on a bar to a display monitor. The sensor measures the velocity of the bar's upward movement and tracks its direction. The data is then displayed on the monitor nearby.
"It makes me push harder, because before that you think you're going fast, but if you were to put that on there, [you would see] we weren't going fast," Robinson Junior Daniel Walker said.
This season, coaches at Robinson have set a velocity goal of 0.5 meters per second for each rep.
"The competition factor is huge because they know they're trying to hit that number," Rubel said. "It's not someone saying 'I think that was was good, it tells you exactly what it was."
The display monitors are placed within eye shot of the lifters.
"Technology doesn't lie. It gives you the real numbers," Stout said.
When they first introduced the technology to the athletes at Robinson, it was met with mixed reactions. Some were excited by the news. Others were not sure how to even use it.
"I was a bit iffy about it," Robinson Junior Charlie Vorderkunz said. "I thought they were just feeding us some stuff to make us work harder. I wasn't too sure about it. I thought it was just another piece of equipment."
Vorderkunz says he is already seeing the results.
"I definitely feel quicker than I was two-to-three months ago," he said.
Beyond the competitive advantage, the new technology also traces technique. Coaches hope it will reduce the risk of injury.
"You can tell if you have a good squat or a good bench, if the bar is moving in the right direction," Rubel said.
Rubel told 25 Sports he plans to apply for additional funding for more equipment. He also plans to make it an educational experience.
"We're gonna let our physics class dive in and go, 'This is how you can improve this number. This is what this kid is doing. And this is how you can make this better," he said.