Minneapolis, Minnesota It was only a matter of time. For decades, the ball machine has been a staple at baseball and tennis practices in both the amateur and professional ranks. Finally, the sport of volleyball is able to boast its own technological marvel, the AirCAT, leaving players and especially coaches asking, "What took so long?"
Airborne Athletics, Inc., a Minnesota-based manufacturer of the AirCAT and other volleyball training equipment, recently announced signing a five-year endorsement and licensing agreement with the USA Volleyball Association (USAV). Under the agreement, the AirCAT, essentially an air-powered pitching machine for volleyball, will be the "official volleyball training machine" of the USAV, the organization responsible for the Olympic volleyball teams.
Kerry Klostermann, Executive Director of USA Volleyball, announced, "The AirCAT equipment will play an important role in the development of new volleyball talent for Olympic competition."
Volleyball icon, Karch Kiraly, a three-time Olympic Gold Medalist and a player twice chosen best in the world, is ecstatic over the new technology, stating, "AirCAT gives the next generation of volleyball players a new opportunity. It’s going to revolutionize volleyball training."
While other volleyball training machines do exist, this latest incarnation, the AirCAT, with it’s patented air powered ball delivery system represents a huge leap forward in a sport ranked only behind soccer in global participation. The machine is a boon for volleyball coaches who traditionally have had to rely on other individuals or their own arms to serve, hit or toss balls during practice.
Doug Campbell, Airborne’s President, said "Our goal when developing the AirCAT was to improve players’ skills faster by allowing the coach the freedom to coach rather than being a ball tosser. With our patented ‘Consistent Air Technology’, the AirCAT will deliver, with consistency, up to 1100 balls per hour automatically for all types of drills." Campbell also noted that the AirCAT’s technology solved the two inherent problems experienced with spinning wheel type pitching machines; lack of consistency and ball wear.
One of the first to see the benefit of automation was Dr. Mike Hebert, head women’s volleyball coach at the University of Minnesota. Hebert, a former NCAA coach of the year and president of the American Coaches Association says, "volleyball coaching is really a matter of mathematics; the more repetitions a player gets in a specific skill, the better they are going to become. Being able to enter the ball with consistency, with the same trajectory, same velocity, same location, repetition after repetition, this is what this machine can do."
The introduction of new training implements such as the AirCAT could be instrumental in the U.S. National Team’s quest to rescale the top ranks of international competition after capturing gold in both the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games.
"Every coach wants to maximize the repetitions his team gets in practice. The AirCAT allows our team to do just that; to train and develop skills in the best possible environment," said Doug Beal, Head Coach of the Men’s USA National Team.
The sport of volleyball celebrated its 105th anniversary in 2000, and was toasted by record Olympic crowds on the beaches of Sydney for the two-person beach volleyball competition which was added to the Games in 1996.
Begun in the U.S., volleyball’s domestic popularity is beginning to echo accolades it has received oversees. Today more than 46 million Americans play volleyball.
For more information on AirCAT, contact Airborne Athletics at 1-888-507-4668 or Visit their Web Site.
Posted on Mon, September 24, 2012