COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Maryland student athletes from the men's basketball, football and wrestling programs presented their findings on an augmented reality and student athletes' movements research project to the university's athletic council on Wednesday afternoon.
The student-athletes used motion capture to obtain feedback in movements that are highly symbolic or pivotal to their performances and researched the strategic, personal and historic context of the movements. This project was done in regards to their American Studies course, led by Dr. Sheri Parks.
“Our findings provided an increased self-awareness on our movements while playing our sports,” said Alexander. “Through this project, our group got to know each other and gained a respect for each other's sports in learning about the movements that we tested.”
Saine shared that through their results, the vest that was used to track movements could be utilized in everyday life.
“This could help any individual,” said Saine. “It could make life improvements, simply like helping someone improve their posture. We take for granted our presentation when we walk in a room but having good posture is something that makes an immediate impression on others.”
Dr. Sheri Parks encouraged her students to take a scenario in which they were all part of a game day experience either on or off the court. Parks recommended that the group share their experiences from one mutual moment in a big event. The event that was used, the men's basketball team's home 68-63 win over Wisconsin back in February, was broken down to what everyone in the group was simultaneously experiencing during that game. From being on the court to being in the stands, each group member shared their behavioral experience.
Cowan Jr. who had 23 points in the game, shared how he handled the intense pressure of being in the game by looking up to four rows behind the home bench and seeing his parents, Anthony Cowan Sr. and Traci Cowan.
Alexander, who was in the training room at the Xfinity Center during the game, shared his experience of taking in the ebbs and flows from just hearing the crowd noise.
Prince's perspective, was as a fan in the stands, while Cekovsky shared how he experienced the game by listening and learning from head coach Mark Turgeon implore instruction to his team.
In addition, Parks went on to share that each student uses an “unconscious connection” when in competition and that they can utilize a home crowd in different ways to their advantage.
Each student-athlete shared their experience of their individual competition. Prince noted that he is aware of the crowd and utilizes their energy, while Cekovsky shared that he blocks out the noise and any distraction. Ugalde said that when facing an opponent on the wrestling mat, he focuses on their breathing, while Alexander locks in on his opponent's eyes to see how they can best manipulate their opponent's behavior for success.
Executive Athletic Director Damon Evans came away very impressed with the presentation, saying that the research and presentation was a beneficial experience for the group.
“I've found that anytime you can collaborate in a group and utilize ideas that are important to you, it can go a long way in creating a tremendous learning experience,” said Evans. “I applaud Dr. Parks and our six student-athletes for the research and presentation they shared with us today.”