Written by Kelly Stincer.
To be successful in any sport requires consistent training and hard work. But as any coach knows, it can be difficult to find the optimal amount of training. Professional coaches use heart rate monitoring systems to ensure that their athletes are not over- or under-training, but these systems have always been too expensive for youth teams to take advantage of. Beyond Pulse in Athens, Ohio, is changing that by bringing professional heart rate monitoring and analysis technology to young athletes at a fraction of the cost.
“Kids who play sports should train much differently than high-performing adult athletes, but parents and coaches often don’t understand what a safe level of training is for children,” said Marc-Andre Maillet, founder and CEO of Beyond Pulse. “Beyond Pulse monitors show if a child athlete can continue to play or if they are being pushed too hard.”
The Beyond Pulse heart rate monitor is fitted to a strap worn around the chest, and accurate heart rate data is accessed through an app on the coach’s smartphone or tablet. The coach can then use the data to develop smarter workout regimens for young athletes. For example, sprints at the end of practice may push players beyond their optimal heart rates. An alternative exercise like a game or drill may be less strenuous on their bodies.
“Coaches are often surprised when they see the actual heart rate information on the app,” said Maillet. “A coach may think a player isn’t working hard enough when in reality that child’s heart rate is too high. We’re trying to increase awareness and give coaches real information so kids can be trained safely.”
Maillet first learned how useful heart rate monitors could be for training while he was a graduate student at Ohio University. He was studying coaching education, and reached out to the school for help developing a more affordable monitoring platform for youth sports with the same cutting-edge technology used by professional athletes.
Ohio University referred Maillet to the school’s Innovation Center, a southeast regional partner of Ohio Third Frontier, which began holding weekly meetings with Maillet to guide the development of the platform and help establish the business. The Innovation Center also connected Beyond Pulse with the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, which worked with the company on a marketing and social media plan.
Beyond Pulse plans to release its product in August 2016, and recently held a weekend workshop at Ohio University where sports and tech professionals from around the world came to test the product and learn how it works.
Maillet says southeast Ohio is full of people who want to help startups like Beyond Pulse, and community members are committed to giving their time and knowledge to help new businesses have a bright future in the region.
“We didn’t have the capital to hire advisors every time we needed help, so the resources in southeast Ohio have been crucial for Beyond Pulse,” said Maillet. “We’re proud to call Athens our home, and we are excited to grow here and contribute to the local economy.”