• Founded in Ireland in 2012, Kitman boast a range of clients from many fields
  • Starting in rugby, the technology has been adapted to different sports
  • Using multiple sources, Kitman’s technology provides practical information
  • Kitman have Everton and Norwich as clients from the Premier League 

Peter Carline for MailOnline

What do Everton, Norwich, the Ireland rugby team, the Miami Dolphins, the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Dodgers have in common?

All have multi-million pound athletes on the books and the priority is to keep them in the arena of play. 

And that’s where Kitman Labs come in.

First used by Leinster Rugby Club, their technology has been adapted to different sports thanks to their unique and quick approach.

Everton were Kitman's first overseas client as the company branched out from rugby into football

Everton were Kitman’s first overseas client as the company branched out from rugby into football

Norwich, who enjoyed a victory against West Brom at the weekend, are another team on Kitman's books

Norwich, who enjoyed a victory against West Brom at the weekend, are another team on Kitman’s books

Rather than using a single wearable device, the sports technology company gathers data from a variety of sources, using player biomechanics and movement to monitor performance and flag up any potential for future injury.

Kitman’s system features three components: Capture, Athlete and Profiler. For the first, athletes are asked to stand in front of a three-dimensional video screen and movements are tracked without the use of sensors or wearables.

The second stage sees athletes enter feedback into a customisable mobile app about a range of variables. Popular subjects include sleep quality, hydration, diet, mood, stress and perceived muscle soreness.

Information from third-party sources, such as GPS systems or heart-rate monitors can also be fed into Profiler, Kitman’s diagnostics engine, which provides easy-to-grasp information to coaches.

Athletes stand in front of Capture and their movement is tracked without the use of wearable devices or pads

Athletes stand in front of Capture and their movement is tracked without the use of wearable devices or pads

Former Leinster player Kevin McLaughlin joined Kitman last year as vice-president of operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He explains some of the secrets behind the company’s success.

‘One of the things we pride ourselves on is making it far easier to collect and implement the information that the practitioners collect. One of our current clients has told us they now have 30 minutes extra to spend time with their players rather than analysing data.

‘From a players point of view we try to make it as easy as possible. They come in the morning, they stand in front of the screen, press their face on the Avatar on the Microsoft Surface. They stand in front of the Microsoft Connect camera and they take 60 to 90 seconds to perform their biomechanical assessment, depending on how many movements are in there. And that is the full assessment done.

‘In the Irish rugby camp during the Six Nations to get 38 players through the screening process takes us roughly 35 minutes.

‘We really are priding ourselves on fitting within workflows of professional sports teams because athletes can get cranky if you take up too much of their time and we making it easy for coaches to understand the info so they can spend more time with players and less time sitting in front of a computer screen,’ he adds.

The Ireland rugby team are one of Kitman's first clients and stayed largely injury-free during the Six Nations

The Ireland rugby team are one of Kitman’s first clients and stayed largely injury-free during the Six Nations

The Miami Dolphins enjoyed a 75 per cent reduction in injuries for the 2015 NFL season

The Miami Dolphins enjoyed a 75 per cent reduction in injuries for the 2015 NFL season

The NBA's Detroit Pistons are able to tailor analysis to monitor the performance and fitness of athletes

The NBA’s Detroit Pistons are able to tailor analysis to monitor the performance and fitness of athletes

Kitman’s Leinster link continues through CEO Stephen Smith, who co-founded the company in 2012.

A former coach with the Pro12 club, the self-confessed ‘sports science & athletic performance nerd’, saw a great deal of information collected but not collated.  

‘Data is only any use to teams if it helps them to win – otherwise it is pointless. Figuring out how to turn all that data into an insight coaches or trainers can act on is a huge challenge – and that’s where Kitman Labs come in,’ he said.  

While Kitman are secretive about the exact specifics they undertake with each client, it is clear that their methods are having an impact.

With ten players suffering season-ending ACL injuries in the Premier League this season, both Everton and Norwich can point to proud injury records this term.

And with the company in talks to expand to cricket, Kitman’s technology and willingness to adapt will surely see them as part of the sporting sphere for years to come. 

For more information on Kitman Labs go to www.kitmanlabs.com

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