Scientists help Sanford stand out at Final Four convention

Munce, Dorman of Sanford Sports Science Institute show technology to coaches

By: Paul Heinert .

Sanford Health, Sanford Pentagon, Sanford Sports Science Institute
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MINNEAPOLIS — There are dozens of booths at the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Convention at the Final Four in Minneapolis, all hoping to catch the attention of the hundreds of coaches and administrators browsing the aisles to see the latest basketball technology and equipment.

A few pause to watch a demonstration of what looks like Dance Dance Revolution for dribbling a basketball. Be careful. Too many wrong moves and you’ll get booed off the court.

Other exhibits show off tools that promise to help with load training, analytics and all-around skill improvement.

“Dr. Dish” promotes a more consistent shot.

Sanford Health didn’t bring any surgeons to the convention, but two of its scientists have made the trip.

Thayne Munce, Ph.D., and Jason Dorman with the Sanford Sports Science Institute (SSSI) have joined the Sanford Pentagon team this week to engage with coaches interested in learning how science applies to the court.

“Technology in sports used to be reserved for the professional level,” Munce said. “Now it’s in college and even some high schools. The players today learn differently — they’re already so used to receiving information electronically.”

‘Everyone wants that edge’

Thursday night, Minneapolis North coaches Larry McKenzie and Trent Witz donned 3D glasses to test out the SSSI’s portable version of Neurotracker — a cognitive training program designed to improve mental performance.

McKenzie’s boys teams have played at the Sanford Pentagon before, including this past January. They’re a perennial contender in Minnesota.

“He understood the value of the technology as soon as he experienced it, and making that connection is important,” Munce said. “Everyone wants that edge.”

Munce and Dorman are used to attending sports medicine conferences across the country. This is a different clientele. But that is turning out to be a good thing.

“The technology is different that what you’d see at a sports medicine conference,” Munce said. “It’s important that we speak the same language with coaches and players when it comes to the technology they’re familiar with.”

Combining the Sanford Pentagon staff with the SSSI this week is a prime example of how Sanford integrates performance and play with science.

“It gives this crowd and these attendees a big-picture view of what Sanford Health is,” Munce said. “It helps to tie us (SSSI) in with the Sports Complex programs and facilities instead of a standalone research group and entity.”

And with every exhibitor looking to get noticed, it’s Sanford’s uniqueness that stands out.

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