Kaitlyn McElroy (front) and Maggie Hogan paddle in a 2012 team trial competition in Oklahoma City. Hogan is training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Kaitlyn McElroy (front) and Maggie Hogan paddle in a 2012 team trial competition in Oklahoma City. Hogan is training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. Kaitlyn McElroy (front) and Maggie Hogan paddle in a 2012 team trial competition in Oklahoma City. Hogan is training for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. (Photo: Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The new technology that's helping Olympic kayakers

Motionize gives real-time feedback to kayakers through a virtual coaching system. Here's how it's helping kayakers train for Rio.

Every time American kayaker Maggie Hogan gears up for a training session ahead of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she brings four things into her kayak with her: a GPS-enabled device, a cadence sensor, a heart rate strap and a Motionize tracking kit.

The latter, she says, has been indispensable. It's "the first tool I’ve used that can help athletes with technique goals in real time, with real data," she explained. And she's hoping it helps her bring home the gold this year.

Motionize, a sports-tracking company based in Israel, has released a kit that's designed to help kayakers optimize their training. It includes a sensor that attaches to a paddle, a waterproof case with a motion sensor for your smartphone and an app that provides real-time feedback. Here's how it works:

In these punishing days leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games, making every training session count is Priority No. 1 for hundreds of athletes with medals on their minds. But for the handful of would-be Olympians training for the top prize in kayaking and canoe events, it's not just about the training – it's about the stroke.

"You have two sensors, one that goes on your boat and one that goes on your paddle, and they feed info to a cell phone that’s in a waterproof pouch that’s on your dashboard in your boat," Hogan, the only American to qualify for the upcoming Olympics in Rio in the Canoe/Kayak Sprint events, told Reuters about Motionize's technology. "It can give you real time information or it can record throughout and give info later. It’s really a powerful device.

"We really utilized this tool to jump forward."

Motionize's toolkit includes a sensor that attaches to a paddle, a waterproof case with a motion sensor for your smartphone and an app that provides real-time feedback.Motionize's toolkit includes a sensor that attaches to a paddle, a waterproof case with a motion sensor for your smartphone and an app that provides real-time feedback. (Photo: Courtesy of Motionize)

Motionize CEO Guy Aharon, a graduate of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel, knows there's lots of technology on the market that tracks athletes' movements and measures their fitness levels and progress. The difference with his Motionize technology, he says, is how it uses all that data for the user's benefit.

"There is no end of products that monitor movement and measure various physical parameters. They provide data about pulse, speed, angles. OK. So what? What can I do with all this information? Is it good? Is it not good? I need to improve but what can I do with all this information?" he said. "We take the information and process it and tell you that if you do things in a certain way it will be better for you."

The Motionize kit is available for purchase on the company website.

Motionize's kit helps kayakers optimize their training.Motionize's kit helps kayakers optimize their training. (Photo: Courtesy of Motionize)

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