We test. We don’t guess.
Updated: Sep 23, 2021
When Jamie Heffernan, the owner and operator of JH Sports, introduces athletes to a cutting-edge technology that can enhance performance he gets their full attention. photo: The Daily Gleaner
Cutting-edge technology helps enhance athletes’ performance.
Competitive athletes are constantly looking for the edge that can take their game to the next level so when Jamie Heffernan, the owner and operator of JH Sports, introduces them to a cutting-edge technology that can enhance athletic performance he gets their full attention.
Jamie uses 3D motion capture technology to design exercise regimes that increase things such as skating speed and efficiency. But he can help more than hockey players. His clientele includes golfers, basketball players, runners, Olympic athletes and more.
Jamie does biomechanical testing to find out deficiencies in movement that can lead to poor performance or injury. He uses the ZenoLink 3D motion capture technology system as a tool to analyze and evaluate an athlete the way a doctor might use an X-ray. He then uses the test results to consult with the athlete’s physicians and personal trainers.
One of his high-profile clients is the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning. He’s been working with them for the last couple of years to help improve players’skating and shooting.
My first question for Jamie, knowing he can help an NHL hockey player skate faster and a golfer hit farther, was to tell me about the process to helping athletes perform at a higher level.
A: Everything I do in my company is evidence-based. All the different movement requirements that take place in these sports, we need to be able to measure and quantify them with data. This data lets us know what the best people in the world do as well as what other people struggle to do. Right now we’re the only company that does this in hockey and we’re one of the only ones actually applying this to multiple sports in the entire country.
Q: How does it work?
A: Once we find the evidence and the science behind the inefficiencies or deficiencies of the movement that that athlete goes through, we are able to then prescribe a training program based around that evidence. We determine if they need a physiotherapist, a strength coach or a sports psychologist.
Nothing that we do is cookie cutter. We have a slogan in our company,“We test. We don’t guess.”Once we prescribe one of our programs we collect data, then we retest the athlete afterwards to find out what actually changed, what got better, what created more speed, what, for example, fixed the ability for a client to run marathons without getting injured.
Q: Tell me a little bit about the technology you use to facilitate this.
A: The technology is very similar to how sports video games are made. We’re able to mark the body and, for example, we can pinpoint exactly how much hip flection and extension an athlete goes through, how much their upper body rotates compared to their lower body.
Q: What has the market response been so far?
A: We’ve been doing beta testing for the last five years – to find out how to use this technology and develop our skills. As I approach professional hockey teams and NFL teams, they’re shocked that this technology and service is available – most have never heard of this. Up until recently, this type of technology was only found in a lab. This product we use is now multifaceted. You can use it for absolutely anything. Clients are initially very shocked as well as intrigued.
Q: What’s your prediction for the industry?
A: In two or three years’time, why would you go to some type of athletic coach or physiotherapist if they didn’t have this type of measurement technology? It’s the wave of the future.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you face getting this technology into the hands of people that can really benefit from it and teaching them how to use it?
A: The toughest part is that there is resistance from people who just might not want to know about this because it might go against some of their beliefs.
Q: What do you say to people who are resistant?
A: I say if somebody has a knee injury, for instance, do you know if they’ve torn their ACL or their meniscus? They have a pretty good idea. What’s the protocol in those fields to make sure?“Well, we send them for an MRI.”Our product is like the MRI, but for movement and sport performance.
Q: What is your plan to get your system and the technology into the marketplace?
A: We started with the high end; we’re now in the NHL. Once we have this at the professional level, it’s a lot easier to scale it back to the local level because, from a marketing standpoint, everybody wants to do what the best are already doing.
Q: What will be the lowest hanging fruit?
A: Definitely the quickest market is going to be the physiotherapy industry, because there are so many of them. I believe at some point, if you don’t have this technology, you’re going to be falling behind.
Q: What is the competition and how do you differentiate yourself?
A: I’m sure there will be a lot more people that have the capabilities of developing a similar 3D motion capture product. If the technology boom continues to grow, there are going to be more and more companies that come out with products like the one we use. Luckily for me, I’ve been working with this technology for five years now. It’s really allowed me to become an expert in this market – I’ve been working with this technology in multiple sports. I’ve collected an enormous amount of data on the top hockey and baseball players.
Q: Can you also help the weekend warrior who is playing sports like hockey into his or her fifties and sixties?
A: Absolutely. Once we show them the data on how their pelvis is moving and how that’s going to make it very difficult for them to use their glutes, we can then instantly take them into an exercise and show them the same pattern off the ice. We help correct patterns of movement at any age. From a skating standpoint, the NHL is filled with really, really strong guys who can’t skate very fast. Now that we’re able to train them, it gives them development programs and a chance to really excel.
Q: What about the young aspiring athlete?
A: We can teach 15-year-olds the exact same things we’re teaching an NHL prospect – you can learn these things at any age. The key is to make sure you get athletes off to a good start.
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This article published in the Telegraph-Journal on Saturday, April 23, 2016.