Why this athletic performance coordinator and sports scientist uses the Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet

The athletic performance coordinator at Indiana Football carefully tracks 93 guys on the 2019 roster from the screen of his Mesa 2 Rugged Tablet.

They range in weight from 166 to 360 pounds. From 5 feet 8 inches to 6 feet 8 inches. Those are the easy numbers to follow. In the world of sports science, data and numbers are king – and Matt Rhea’s kingdom now more than ever is connected and data rich. A camera system in the weight room tracks movement, like speed and repetitions, for squats and power cleans. The data zips to the cloud in real-time. GPS sensors attached to players during sprints gather more data – speed and acceleration – and in an instant, the information makes its way to Rhea.

Rhea, who holds a doctorate in exercise science and works as the performance coordinator for Indiana football, tracks athlete performance and crunches the numbers. Rhea’s job is to coordinate individual player needs with the tools and resources that will help them perform in practice and then on the field.

To help assign personalized services – like unique nutrition advice and strength and conditioning focus areas, Rhea utilizes the Mesa 2.

“Athlete development is very hands-on,” Rhea said. “You can’t sit at a desk or behind a computer screen. You have to be out and about and working with all the athletes. So I use the Mesa 2.”

“I really like it,” he added.

Rhea said the Mesa 2 has changed the way he works. Rhea ditched his desktop computer because the Mesa 2 runs full Windows 10. He keeps all the data in his hands on the Mesa 2 and brings it to meetings where he can pass it along and back up his recommendations with numbers that sprawl across Excel workbooks. The extended Bluetooth lets him control performance-tracking systems from hundreds of yards away. He will type notes from the sidelines.

It is a lot of faith to put in a single device, Rhea admits, but the Mesa 2 is incredibly rugged. Juniper Systems built and designed the Mesa 2 to meet or exceed military equipment standards – and it is shockproof, waterproof, and dustproof.

“I dropped it 30 minutes after I got it,” he said. “It gives me a lot of peace of mind as clumsy as I am and much banging around as the job entails. It’s nice, portable, and rugged.”

Rhea said he has more time to focus on decision-making and data crunching because of how the Mesa 2 simplified his old workflow.

“No more writing it on a clipboard and spending twice as much time on the computer,” Rhea said. “Now it’s seamless. I’m a sports scientist and it’s nice to be freed up to evaluate more data instead of spending hours just gathering and transferring the data because of limitations from technology.”

The immediacy and accessibility of the data motivate his athletes, too. “They’re quite competitive and you can’t hide from data,” he said.

Rhea won’t let them.


For more information about the Mesa 2 Rugged tablet or other rugged handhelds, tablets, and GPS receivers from Juniper Systems, contact us here. Visit Juniper Systems online.

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