2018-05-16 16:00:00 CEST

A Hi-Tech Beach

Beach volleyball players make use of technology to have their bodies in the best form to compete around the world

USA's Kelly Claes uses a device to keep track of several body rates before, during and after physical activities (Photocredit: Kelly Claes)USA's Kelly Claes uses a device to keep track of several body rates before, during and after physical activities (Photocredit: Kelly Claes)

In a competitive environment as the Beach Volleyball Major Series, every detail makes a difference, and athletes know they need to be on top of their games to thrive week after week.

Getting the most of their bodies and taking good care of them, which are ultimately their working tools, is a need for every player and recently they’ve been able to count on some help for both tasks.

As technology evolves quickly around the globe, innovative devices are created with a handful of different functions, such as performance improving, injury prevention and recovery optimization, and beach volleyball players have been using several of them as tools to help them to be on their best shapes.

Part of the process of being in good form is constantly monitoring your physical conditions and identifying areas for improvement. For that, some players use some sofisticated fingertip pulse oximeter devices.

By placing the devices on their fingers before, during and after physical activities, they have access to a handful of useful information, such as the oxygen saturation, pulse rate, perfusion index, respiration rate and pleth variability index.

American blocker Kelly Claes is one of the users of the MightySat device. She had heart surgery seven years ago as part of the treatment for ventricular tachycardia, a conditon that made her rate accelerate suddenly, and now she keeps track of everything surrounding her health.

The American, however, uses all the data provided by the system to understand her body in a very detailed way.

"I use the MightySat before and after each workout to see the correlations between certain workouts and how my body is responding to each work load", she told us. "It keeps me on my toes seeing the statistical analysis of how my body differs between workouts and playing tournaments."

"It allows me to understand how my body functions in a way unlike anyone has ever been able to show me. I’ve noticed so much that I never knew were key vitals in my body. I never started looking into way to control my breathing for pre-workouts, during workouts, and post-workouts."

Other athletes, however, look for devices that can provide them some level of performance improvement, even if the slightest of them, which could be exactly what they need to hit the ball a little bit stronger or have the extra energy to reach the ball in the final point of a match.

That’s the case with Brazilians Agatha Bednarczuk and Duda Lisboa, who have been training, working out and playing with a kind of mouth guard similar to the ones fighters and some basketball players traditionally use.

@santoslisboaduda fechada com a dioSport 👍✌️

21 Likes, 1 Comments - dioSport (@diosport_brasil) on Instagram: "@santoslisboaduda fechada com a dioSport 👍✌️"

The equipment is customized for each user and it works by repositioning the muscles of the jaw area. With that, the players have a more stable positioning for their heads, shoulders and backs, besides of an improved breathing capacity.

“We only started using it in the last few weeks, but I can already notice some improvement in my overall body posture,” Duda commented. “I think that the more we use it, the more we will be able to feel better with it and anything that helps is very welcome.”

Other area where technology has become a big ally of beach volleyball players is on recovering their muscles. Typically, athletes can play up to three matches every day during tournament, most of the time under high temperatures, generating a big wearing of their muscles.

#tbt to yesterday 🤷🏼‍♂️. Had a double day of training with @staffordslick. 5 total hours in the sand. 2.5 hours in I had to bust out my @ntrecovery for a quick muscle flush session before our USA National team practice started. It was a life saver. If any of you have not used one of these you need to try it. Short and simple they (reduce muscle soreness and increase circulation.) #beachvolleyball #normatec #ownthebeach #revovery #earntheday

1,234 Likes, 11 Comments - Casey Patterson (@caseypatt) on Instagram: "#tbt to yesterday 🤷🏼‍♂️. Had a double day of training with @staffordslick. 5 total hours in the..."

Recovery pants are among the most popular devices used to optimize the regeneration of athletes’ legs. The equipment uses air to massage the limbs and mobilize fluid through dynamic compression with a typical session taking from 20 to 30 minutes.

“I’ve been using it for the last three years and I can’t see myself without it now,” Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Barbara Seixas stated. “It makes a huge difference on how quickly we recover our muscles after training sessions and matches and it’s great that it’s portable, so we can take it to every tournament we go.”

Her partner, Fernanda Berti, had another use for the device, as it helped her to deal with the consequences of a shoulder surgery she had in 2016. The duo is on strong form in 2018, having won both the 2018 Fort Lauderdale Major and the four-star tournament in Huntington Beach.

“It was very helpful to speed my recovery and to help me with the pain I had when I resumed training and playing,” she added. “It is one of our best friends when we’re tired. Sometimes we feel our legs burning of exhaustion and it’s a huge relief when we use it.”

The kit can be folded into a suitcase, making it convenient for trips (Photocredit: Barbara Seixas)The kit can be folded into a suitcase, making it convenient for trips (Photocredit: Barbara Seixas)

Competing against the best week after week, most of the times under extenuating conditions is not easy, so every help is welcome!

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