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Alabama Football uses Apple watches to aid home workouts

April 6, 2020 / Football
The newest members of the University of Alabama football staff has made a lasting first impression to head coach Nick Saban by incorporating modern technology with some old-school training techniques.

According to a story in The Times Daily, newly hired strength and conditioning coaches David Ballou and Dr. Matt Rhea have issued Apple watches to every student-athlete in the program so that players can self-monitor their own vitals while training from home.

alabama football
Photo: David Smith / Creative Commons

Hired just 10 days before the university shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, Ballou and Dr. Rhea were forced to pivot to a more hands-off approach during a time they would typically be at the midpoint of the Crimson Tide’s spring practice.

And their quick thinking drew the praise of the usually tight-lipped Saban.

“They were very instrumental with setting up this whole program of what we’re doing for the players in terms of (having) Apple watches for their workouts, apps on their phones (with) weight-training programs,” Saban said to the Times Daily.

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Players can monitor their own daily progress and vitals with the Apple watches. The move was cleared by officials from the Southeastern Conference (SEC) but has drawn the attention of college coaches around the country. The NCAA recently released a Division 1 COVID-19 Q&A guide, outlining that coaches and other staffers “may not supervise or conduct such workouts” and that players “may not report voluntary athletically related activities to institutional coaches or staff members,” according to an ESPN story.

Training packets have also been sent out to members of Alabama’s 2020 incoming class in the form of digital workout apps as well as a detailed email that centered around stretching, flexibility and total body strength.

To find out more about how Alabama is continuing to stay ahead of its competition even in the middle of a pandemic, read the full Times Daily story here.