Sport Analytics Students on Ground Floor of Wide-Ranging Research Partnership Between Falk College and Kitman Labs

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Motion Analysis student working for Kitman Labs

From left, Caden Lippie, Zachary Palfey and Jonah Soos are three of six motion analytics students from Syracuse University who will work for performance intelligence firm Kitman Labs during the Spring 2023 semester.

due to cooperation between Falk Institute of Physical Education and Human Kinetics and Kitman Labs, Syracuse University’s six motion analysis students experienced real-world opportunities last spring.

Kitman Lab is the world’s leading sports science and performance analytics company. 6 motion analysis Falk’s specialty Department of Sports Management—Robert “RJ” Frahm, Benjamin Jennings, Caden Lippi, Garrett Naylor, Zachary Palfi and Jonassus are tasked each week with questions about how the NBA schedule affects player injuries problem of impact.

“The best way to learn the analytical skills we will need in our future careers is to work directly with real-world data,” said Palfey, who graduated in May and is currently working as a digital analytics assistant for the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers. “Kittman provided us with injury data, and we were tasked with collecting NBA schedule data. It was a great experience matching the two data sets and analyzing different trends over time.”

Kitman Labs has a long history of working with top teams and athletes across a variety of sports. The company’s technology is used by teams in many of the world’s most elite sports leagues, including the NCAA, Premier League (soccer) and NFL.

“It’s hard to stress the value of this experience; it takes everything we do in the classroom and applies it to the real world and the sports industry,” said Soos, a second-year 3+1 program majoring in physical education Analytics, with a minor in Sport Management and Economics. “This was an opportunity to learn and do what I love, and our results matter and make a difference. It was the defining experience of my freshman year and a partnership I hope to continue working on in the future.”

Opportunities to collaborate with Kitman will continue to be available to Soos and other motion analysis students, as Kitman and Falk recently announced a research partnership that will result in detailed analysis and investigation of a broad range of topics on a quarterly basis beginning this fall. Topics to be investigated in time for the study will include the impact of load management and back-to-back games on the health and performance of NBA players, women’s sports, and other areas of performance.

“My freshman year consisted mostly of general classes, so it was great to have the opportunity to work on an analytics project,” said Lippie, a sophomore who is about to be a sophomore. “I also found the support of the other students I worked with to be invaluable. Coming into this project with little experience, I didn’t expect to contribute much, however, with the support of the team and Kitman, I was able to Contributed and learned a lot along the way.”

Rodney Paulsports analytics program director and sports management professor, has been looking for potential business partners, and he worked with adjunct professor and sports analytics alumnus Nick Riccardi to develop the partnership with Kitman.

“Kitman Labs is doing important, innovative, and informative work in sports, and it’s an honor for our students to be working on projects with them,” Paul said. “From day one, they have shown a genuine interest in helping our students advance to the next level and prepare them for work in the industry. We couldn’t be happier with the collaboration between Kitman’s talented professionals and our students excited.”

Soos, who worked with Paul on an independent research project on MLB referees in the fall of 2022, said he jumped at the opportunity to work with Kitman because “they’re an exciting company doing exciting things. For this project, Soos created a “star player” variable to measure each NBA team’s top player and used that variable to evaluate injuries, team success, and how and when stars were injured or rested.

“There are very few opportunities for college students, let alone younger students, to use real data while drawing real conclusions and discoveries,” Soos said. “At the same time, [Kitman’s team] Take the time each week to meet with us, get to know us and answer our questions and concerns promptly.

“They never made us feel like college students working for them and more like respected colleagues,” Soos said. “It has been a privilege to work with them and I hope to do so in the future.”

Kitman Labs CEO Stephen Smith

“Having a collaborative research partner at Syracuse University will be invaluable in making this important research even more relevant, timely and actionable,” said Smith, CEO and founder of Kitman Labs.

Soos, Palfey and Lippie all said they would like to thank Professors Kitman, Paul and Riccardi, as well as their sports analysis colleagues, for their cooperation and support last spring. For Keetman, the feeling is mutual.

“We are proud to be collaborating with Professor Paul and Falk students on a range of key research topics that will help to better understand and expand what we do in the field with numerous teams, leagues and sports work,” said Stephen Smith, CEO and founder of Kitman Labs. “Our goal is to continue to dig deeper into the how and why of data and performance success, and having a collaborative research partner at Syracuse University will be invaluable in making these important studies even more relevant, timely and actionable.”

The results of the NBA-related case study are currently being analyzed and preliminary results will be published shortly. More research is coming this fall, and sports analytics majors are expected to play a major role in it.

“Being able to study while working on a project is more helpful than the typical lecture format that is common in most courses,” Lippie said. “Being able to learn something and then immediately apply it to a real-world task gives me more confidence in what I’ve learned.”

About Kitman Laboratories

Kitman Labs is a performance intelligence company setting new industry standards for how elite sports organizations use data. Its proprietary advanced operating system – iP: Intelligence Platform – is used by top teams and organizations across a variety of sports to optimize athlete performance, reduce injury risk and improve overall health, fitness and longevity. Kitman Labs is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Dublin and Manchester.

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