Dynavision’s D2 product, focused on hand-eye coordination, is making waves in the realm of athletics. It’s application in the sport of auto racing is just getting started. It will, however, make waves in the industry as more and more drivers become aware of the benefits the D2 can provide for their ability to react to the demands presented during a race.
By Jeff Birchfield (Press Sports Writer) firstname.lastname@example.org
NASCAR Sprint Cup driver Kasey Kahne had to see it for himself.
Kahne made the three-hour drive from Charlotte to the Fifth Annual Coaches and Sports Science Clinic hosted by ETSU at the Millennium Centre on Friday to get a sneak peak at the Dynavision D2 visuomotor training device. The machine, which is used in over 600 hospitals and by the military, is now one of the hottest pieces of sports-training equipment. Among its benefits are improving reaction time, peripheral awareness and hand-eye coordination.
The 30-year-old Kahne, who moves to the No. 4 Red Bull Toyota for the 2011 season, sees it being a great supplement to other training for his sport.
“I could have gone on the internet and saw the people using the Dynavision, but you have to do it for yourself,” said Kahne, an 11-time winner in the Cup Series. “I’m pretty slow at it so there are a lot of places where I can improve. It definitely can be good for racing when certain things happen really quick. There is no way having faster reflexes will hurt.”
Joey Saldana, who drives for Kahne on the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, is already using the machine and raved to his boss about its benefits. Another racer who swears by it is NHRA Top Fuel driver Larry Dixon, always looking for an edge in reaction time.
The first version of the machine was developed in the 1980s in Canada and called the “Ice Man.”
Phil Jones, a former Canadian Football League player with the Edmonton Eskimos, liked the machine so much that he ended up working for the company as a spokesperson. Later, he bought the rights to the company and had to endure a few lean years. While he saw it as good for the traditional sports of football, baseball, basketball and hockey, he was often rejected selling the product to professional and college teams.
A new market opened up with hospitals, who found it helpful in treating strokes and brain trauma. The U.S. Army also found it effective in helping soldiers make split-second decisions to carry over to the battlefield. Eventually, the sports teams came around as Jones has found the D2 and the I-Span device, also on display, to be good training equipment for all sports. Jones showed video clips of tennis players, volleyball players and soccer players using the Dynavision equipment.
“Every athlete who uses it, loves to use it,” Jones said. “Everybody who sees it looks at (hockey) goaltenders because they tend to make similar movements. But really, it’s all about visual reaction, how quick you can take in information and turn it around. We promote it for every athlete, even the coaches. The coach during a game has more information to process than anyone.”
Racing applications have gone beyond the driver as the equipment has been adjusted to be more specific to the jobs of different pit crew members. On the driver’s side, Kahne sees it especially helpful when the Sprint Cup Series makes it two visits every year to the Bristol Motor Speedway.
“We all know that things happen at Bristol really fast,” Kahne said. “To me, this would be great in being a little quicker in trying to avoid a wreck. Anytime you can make a quicker adjustment to anything you’re doing, it can help.”
Jones has found that race car drivers stack up well with other athletes when it comes to using the D2.
“Race car drivers at the top level must have great vision,” Jones said. “You can’t be in such a fast-moving sport without being able to process information quickly. They’re definitely going to have higher skills than most. But the challenge for them is like any other athlete, you can always do better and score higher. In any of these sports, gaining one-tenth of a second can mean the difference in earning millions of dollars. It’s worth the training.”
Outside of the new device, Kahne feels ahead of the game with a switch from Richard Petty Motorsports to the Red Bull team before the end of last season. While he is scheduled to move on and take over the No. 5 at Hendrick Motorsports in 2012, Kahne believes his time with Red Bull could produce good results.
“It was good for me. I was happy to work with the Red Bull guys,” Kahne said. “I’m glad to move from where I was. There were too many ups and downs, too much drama over the last 3-4 years. It’s nice to move to a strong company where you don’t have to worry about all the other stuff. I can focus on how we’re going to win races. We have a great team set up and I really feel we can win this year.”
For more strength and conditioning information, visit Strength Performance Network.