Date of this Version
Many key factors – including but not limited to – sleep, nutrition, travel, stress, and practice influence the optimization of athletic performance. Although previous studies have investigated the use of wearable technology in sport to track several such factors, peer-reviewed research specific to WHOOP technology is limited at best. The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of WHOOP technology on sleep, recovery, and batting performance in healthy NAIA baseball players. Data was collected over the course of 4 weeks of in-season play on 10 varsity NAIA baseball players (20.40 ± 0.97 years). All games – 18 total – were played in the afternoon or evening, with 8 occurrences of a doubleheader and 2 occurrences of single games. Internal load parameters (sleep and recovery) were assessed in the experimental group only (5 players) which wore the WHOOP technology. The control group (5 players) did not wear the WHOOP technology. External load parameters (batting performance statistics of OPS and wOBA) were assessed in all 10 players. Individual game day values of time in bed and recovery (both recorded upon waking up), and OPS (recorded at the end of each game day) were examined in the experimental group via Spearman’s correlation coefficient. In order to examine control and experimental group differences and changes over time in batting performance, four one-week averages of OPS and wOBA were analyzed via Mann-Whitney U and Friedman’s ANOVA tests, respectively. Further, at the conclusion of the study, the experimental group completed an 8-question survey offering insight into lessons learned from learning to use WHOOP technology. No significant results were reported following data analysis. All participants reported trust in the technology and found it to be of benefit in learning about sleep and recovery, and the possible effects of each on batting performance. Continued research on wearable technology and the impact on optimization of athletic performance is warranted at the NAIA level of collegiate athletics.
Advisor: Allen Steckelberg