Ariel’s Computers Lead Way for Revolution in Sports

Article. Ariel's Computers Lead Way for Revolution in Sports

Make the judgment with the naked eye. But this is just the beginning for Ariel and his team, who will study almost every Olympic candidate who attends training camps between now and the 1980 Games

Detroit News

Published on Sunday, August 7, 1977 by Unknown

4riel’s Computers Lead Way.!

For Revolution in Sports

Continued from First Sports

high jump record. (“She’s potentially a world record holder,” Ariel told her coach.

� The fact that Nancy Lieberman, who was probably the best player in camp, had to work harder to develop strength In her legs to complement her other highly developed skills.

� The fact that all girls could Improve their free throw shooting, maybe by as much as 10 percent, If they would eliminate all wasted motion between their central nervous system and the actual release. He charted their throws on the computer rather than just make the judgment with the naked eye.

But this is just the beginning for Ariel and his team, who will study almost every Olympic candidate who attends training camps between now and the 1980 Games in Moscow and Lake Placid, N.Y. He also has worked with the U.S. teams in track. swimming, volleyball, field hockey, canoe and kayak, and ice hockey.

LAST WEEK, he’ returned from his base at Amherst, Mass., to Squaw Valley to study cyclists. The program is so sweeping that even the rifle shooters have expressed interest.

For the most part, Ariel doesn’t do the coaching himself, but Instead prepares an analytical report and turns it over to the coach. .

“The U.S. Olympic Committee has realized the potential,” Ariel was telling a small but tantalized audience in Flint. Oh, how they have realized It.

“It’s one of the most revolutionary things ever to hit sports,” said Dunlap.

“The work he has done Is fantastic,” said Dr. Dardik, a Nobel candidate in medicine. “lye will make a revolutionary contribution In the practical application of computerization techniques as it relates to all the Olympic sports. Already he has had dramatic results.”

It was Dr. Dardik who named Ariel “Director of Research for Blomechanics.”

Toomey, the 1968 Olympic champion, quit his job as a coach the day he met Ariel and went to work with him.

But the greatest endorsement Dr. Ariel will receive may be yet to come. U.S. Industries are on the verge of donating as much as $10 million (half of that by one corporation alone) to set up Olympic training centers, which will be able to Implement his theories.

One of the best fund raisers the Olympic Committee ever had has been Ariel himself, who ls~pot shy about going into a meeting with the leaders of say, McDodald’s, and telling them, “Wouldn’t you like to see a gold medal on every kid’s neck as well as a Big Mac In their hands? You’ve taken something from America, you

can give something back.” -.

Ariel, who competed in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics, has

made his own contribution besides his time and brainpower. He said that so far he has spent about $10,000 of his own money, and that his satisfaction will be “to beat the Russians.” .

WHILE BIOMECHANICS as Ariel perceives them Is relatively new, they have already shown some dramatic results.

Ariel is careful not to push his theories, however. He leaves that to the coaches. But Wilkins told Ariel, you’re the boss, give me the Information and I’ll do It. Wilkins got it. In four days, Ariel said, Wilkins upped his best from 216 to a world record 232 feet.

When he studied shot-putter Doug Price, he predicted that athlete’s optimum should be 65 feet, not the 58 he was throwing. Within a short period after taking Ariel’s advice, Price got off a throw of 65-$.

Toomey recalled some of Ariel s other masterstrokes. “He took a 9.7 sprinter at U-Mass and turned him into a 195-foot discus thrower with one year’s training,” Toomey said. “He helped Bill Schmidt Improve 1S feet in the javelin to win a medal at Munich.”

Ariel’s system can be corrective as well as Innovative. When Terry Albritton was in a shot-putting slump, Ariel put him on film, broke down his motions, and found he was using his knee cartilege as a cushion and thus aggravating it.

Ariel’s biomechanics take the guesswork out of coaching. He -combines computer science with exercise science and engineering science. A former coach, he has expertise in all three.

Ariel, a friendly man with a persuasive delivery, does not put down coaches but often refers to their hit and miss methods as “wltchcrafting.” He once referred to them as””Doctors of Volleyball.”

“We are in an era where four coaches are all giving the. athlete what they ‘see,’ he said, explaining that his method is to “quantify human motion,” not just eyeball and make trial-anderror decisions.

HIS METHODS ARE much more analytical. He will take a film of Bob Beamon’s famous long jump at the Mexico City Olympics and chart the joint movements and different accelerations of different parts of the body and conclude that Beamon did more In using his arms to pull his body than any other long jumper. He has compared Jesse Owens with current sprint flash Steve Williams and concluded Owens was just as fast;~vith cinemaphotography Ariel could measure how fast Owens got his legs up-and down regardless of the surface of the track or quality of the opposition.

“What’s so good about blomechanics, you don’t have to put a wire on them,” he said. “You can study them when they aren’t looking.”

(Saturday: Part 11- Applying biomechanics to other


sports and fields.)