SIMPSON CENTER FOR STUDENT-ATHLETE HIGH PERFORMANCE
Cal's High Performance Initiative
The Simpson Center for Student-Athlete High Performance is a revolutionary student-athlete training, coaching, and applied sports science and sports medicine center. The Simpson Center embodies the High Performance Initiative (HPI), Cal's innovative performance philosophy designed to build competitive advantage, maximize efficiency and enhance the student-athlete experience.
A 142,000 square-foot facility, the Simpson Center is a state-of-the-art complex with year-round access for over 450 student-athletes. The Simpson Center is home to the locker rooms, meeting rooms and offices for Cal football and several Cal Olympic sports. Importantly, the academic center gives student-athletes access to the resources they need -- from computers to tutors -- to meet the high standards that have always been the hallmark of our great university.
The Simpson Center provides:
Performance Training & Assessment
Therapy, Rehabilitation & Reconditioning
Sport Performance Laboratories
Academic Support Services & Study Area
Centralized HP Staff Offices
Dedicated Team Room, Locker Room & Office Space
Nutrition & Food Service
PERFORMANCE TRAINING & ASSESSMENT
SIMPSON CENTER CORE: The Richard N. Goldman High Performance Zone
Richard N. Goldman The High Performance Zone (HP Zone) is a fully integrated training space with world-class strength & conditioning, sports medicine and sports science facilities and services. Developed with flexibility and adaptability in mind, high quality equipment and an open layout provide impressive training options to prepare for the highest levels of competition.
18,700 square feet of space
This multi-purpose space spans two stories and stretches the length of a football field. Designed for 100 student-athletes at a time, the expansive free weight area includes six training areas called 'PODS'. Each POD has four inclusive training stations. Each station is designed to accommodate every aspect of the workout in one location. This allows student-athletes to complete a training session without the need to move or wait for equipment.
Integrated artificial turf
A 15- x 30-yard block of artificial turf provides functional space for a multitude of previously unavailable training. Integrating artificial turf into the space allows athletes to complete training combinations such as weight training with functional sport-specific training. Examples of fieldwork include fitness assessments, warm-ups, medicine ball work, sled pulling, speed-agility-quickness training, sprint mechanics, plyometrics, reconditioning and rehabilitation.
A Full Complement of Equipment
In addition to the free weight stations, the HP Zone includes a series of selectorized exercise machines, a full complement of cardio machines, and rehabilitation spaces with state-of-the-art AlterG treadmills.
Modernized Information Platform
Pillar-mounted, touch-screen monitors provide athletes and staff with access to electronic training journals on demand. Real-time tracking of sets, reps and weight integrate with ongoing assessments and performance plans to individualize training. The HP Zone's design maximizes communication, integration and information, the cornerstones of the High Performance Initiative.
Multi-Purpose Performance Room
The HPI embraces training methods that develop the mind in unison with the body. For this reason, an adjacent 1,400 square-foot multi-purpose performance room houses conditioning and therapy programs such as yoga, Pilates and meditation. Much like the HP Zone, the multi-purpose room's flexibility is key. The space offers teams, coaches and trainers a second major space for activities like warm-up, assessment, rehabilitation and plyometrics.
THERAPY, REHABILITATION AND RECONDITIONING
The Simpson Center takes rehabilitation and recovery to a new level by integrating an efficient workflow with corrective healing practices and advances in technology.
The Simpson Center is home to two strategically positioned therapy rooms that reduce time demands for student-athletes. At each end of the HP Zone, we built a therapy room beside the locker facilities so that our student-athletes can quickly negotiate training, therapy and locker facilities before and after training and competition.
Treatment in these rooms will include preventative care, massage and chiropractic care, examination, and manual and physical therapy. A rehabilitation area outside each room also provides open space for extended movement therapy and reconditioning.
AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills
Lastly, just outside the physical therapy rooms are AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmills for truly advanced rehabilitation capabilities. AlterG Treadmills offer the ideal method for preserving high fitness levels while injured, using Advanced Differential Air Pressure Technology (ADAPT) to generate a powerful lifting force that reduces ground impact. AlterG training promoting the full range of motion while minimizing stress during athletic conditioning.
Built-in pools for aquatics therapy integrate cutting-edge sports medicine, training and rehabilitation. A few notable features include:
Three polar plunges
Full body/extremity dipping aid in muscle recuperation and recovery.
A warm-water, state-of-the-art therapy pool
Includes an underwater treadmill, adjustable floor and underwater video analysis for medical rehabilitation. In tandem with evidence-based research for up-to-date practice, student-athletes and staff use this pool technology to monitor recovery to a degree previously unseen in intercollegiate sport.
SPORT PEFORMANCE LABORATORIES
Three world-class sports science laboratories bring student-athletes and coaches to the leading edge of high performance sport, providing state-of-the-art services in (1) Sports Physiology, (2) Sports Biochemistry and (3) Performance Analysis (biomechanics and notational analysis).
The Sports Physiology Laboratory
Sports physiologists measure and monitor the biological adaptations student-athletes make to their training programs. The physiologist is interested in how effectively and efficiently athletes utilize energy in order to meet the demands imposed by their sport. A physiology laboratory provides state-of-the-art research primarily for body composition, performance capacity, and strength, power and explosiveness capacity.
Body composition monitoring
Analyzes how the body changes over time due to the training environment, and includes lean tissue, muscle size, bone, blood volume, fat mass and cardiac size.
Heart rate, oxygen consumption and leg power provide useful feedback on strengths and weaknesses, while regular monitoring allows for objective evaluation of the training program. Fitness parameters incorporate endurance, speed, power, agility, flexibility, body composition and the ability to adapt to the environment.
The physiology lab uses this information to individualize performance. Tests and measurements effectively monitor the health, wellness and performance of student-athletes through both training and competition. Depending upon the physiological requirements of the sport, monitoring cardiovascular, strength, power and flexibility levels occurs daily, weekly and monthly. With these objective measurements, targets for future tests can be set for each student-athlete.
The Simpson Center Biochemistry Laboratory
A biochemical approach is key to understanding the fundamentals of performance in exercise. To this end, the Simpson Center Biochemistry Laboratory measures and monitors processes and adaptations that are crucial to performance by using samples from three different mediums (blood, saliva and urine). Our analysis benefits student-athletes' health, well-being and competitive performance. Given the intense time demands between sport and school, this is especially important for Division I student-athletes.
Blood analysis during exercise helps predict the best mix of training loads to prevent overload.
Resting blood analysis
Measures the health of red blood cells (essential for oxygen transport in aerobic sport), detect muscle cell damage (often caused by intense training), or help strategize nutrition intervention for performance and recovery.
Measures hormone and antibody levels, aiding our efforts to track the immune status and wellness of our student athletes. Saliva analysis also helps individualize training loads, limit over-training and assess the impact of other challenges that come with student lifestyles.
The Simpson Center Performance Analysis Laboratory
Sport biomechanics encompasses the area of science concerned with the analysis of mechanics of human movement, how and why the human body moves in the way that it does. In sport, biomechanics extends to the interaction between the performer, his or her equipment and the environment. Traditionally, Biomechanics splits into two sub-fields: (1) Kinetics (forces acting on the body) and (2) Kinematics (movements of the body)
The Sports Biomechanics Laboratory can support performers in solving performance issues with the following services:
Identifying the optimal technique for enhancing sports performance
Analyzing body loading to determine the safest method for performing a particular sport or exercise task
Assessing muscular recruitment and loading
Analyzing sport and exercise equipment (e.g., shoes, surfaces and racquets)
Notational analysis studies gross movements or movement patterns in team sports. It is the science of analyzing the strategy and tactics of sports teams (e.g. the X's and O's). Notational analysis objectively records performance so that critical events can be consistently and reliably quantified. The notational analyst will assist team sports (e.g. football, basketball, soccer and water polo) in the following areas:
Analysis of Movement
Coach and Player Education
The mind is vitally important in achieving high performance. Most coaches and student-athletes would agree that up to 90% of great performance is mental. For this reason, performance psychology plays a fundamental role in improving our understanding of the mental barriers that our student-athletes face.
Through mental skills training, we can better assist them in overcoming the pressure and stress related to competition and the demands of being an elite student-athlete. Mental skills techniques include goal setting, motivation, imagery, relaxation, self-talk, confidence and concentration. Some team-centered strategies include accountability, cohesion and communication.
Performance psychology helps individuals and teams achieve consistent peak performance by:
Developing performance evaluation tools and targeting areas for improvement
Matching student-athlete needs to techniques for mental preparation
Creating educational programs
Developing best practice guidelines for mental skills training
Provide team-building and leadership activities
ACADEMIC SUPPORT SERVICES & STUDY AREA
The challenge confronting many Cal student-athletes is how to integrate their sport and academics with the rest of their lives. To this end, the Travers Academic Resource Center has the capacity to house academic support as needed. As a satellite to the Athletic Study Center (ASC), this center provides student space for group/quiet study, tutorial services and a computer lab with 25-30 workstations.
Performance Lifestyle Program
Supports student-athletes in achieving this balance. Focused on self-regulation and self-management skills, we provide support for:
Budgeting and finance
Dealing with the media
Life after sport
Three rooms distributed throughout the Simpson Center - the Cronk Meeting Room, the Friedenbach Meeting Room and the Tahir Family Theater - offer space for classes or meetings, conditioning and therapy (yoga, meditation, stretching), study groups and video analysis. These rooms also host workshops, guest speakers and team functions.
CENTRALIZED HP STAFF OFFICES
A growth mindset values multiple forms of learning and improvement, as well as an appreciation for the little things that can make a big impact. In this spirit, the Simpson Center design has carefully crafted an office cluster arrangement that revolutionizes how we deliver core services to coaches and student-athletes.
The Staff Operations Centeris a cluster of offices for department leaders in the areas of athletic training, physical therapy, strength & conditioning, performance psychology, physician care, sports physiology and biochemistry, and high performance. These offices open directly to the HP Zone's training floor and offer immediate access to ongoing training, assessment and rehabilitation. Bringing our core leadership together reinforces an open, collaborative environment. As coaches, student-athletes and support staff train, the HP Zone becomes an open forum for learning, observation and integration across disciplines.
DEDICATED TEAM, LOCKER ROOM & OFFICE SPACE
WALTER HAAS JR. FOOTBALL WING - Football Student-Athlete Support
Football operations occupy two levels of the Simpson Center Walter Haas Jr. Football Wing. Accessible from the main entrance, the football office suite houses the Stuart M. Gordon Football Head Coach's Office and assistant coach offices, staff conference rooms (including the Ausfahl Family Staff Meeting Room), and individual position meeting rooms with theater-style seating. The Tahir Family Theater accommodates large group meetings. A level below, the football locker room includes individual locker space, shower and toilet facilities, a team lounge and the Paul White Study Area.
SOUTH WING - Olympic Student-Athlete Support
At the Simpson Center south wing, each of the Olympic teams has its own private team room with individual wood lockers. Separated by gender, two locker room levels each house common shower and toilet facilities. In line with the HPI vision, pairs of teams occupy shared office clusters for cross-disciplinary interaction. Teams will include:
NUTRITION & FOOD SERVICE
A major element of the Simpson Center design is proper fueling with nutrition. High performance requires effective nutritional strategies that emphasize hydration and appropriate energy, carbohydrate, protein, fat, vitamin and mineral consumption.
Individualized Meal Plans
Full-time sports dietitian
Meets with athletes to determine the best individualized Nutrition Game Plan that will maximize performance and health. Specifically, athletes learn how to choose the right foods and fluids for their sport that will enhance stamina, strength, recovery, and minimize injury and illness. We believe that with the right nutrition game plan, a good athlete can become a great athlete!
The Fueling Zone
Nutrition Game Plan
The sports dietitian prescribes fueling strategies for each athlete for before, during and after workouts that utilize the products offered in the Fueling Zone. In this centralized area, we provide a variety of nutrition shakes, energy bars, fruits, and trail mix to help student athletes meet their high energy, nutrient, and fluids demands.
High Performance Training Table
Restaurant-quality food service and dining area
Includes a full-service kitchen and 3,000 square foot eating area, offers space to relax, fuel up, and re-charge. A unique nutrition monitoring system generates data to help prepare food, individualize training and ensure recovery. This includes a check out system that automatically calculates and transmits nutrients from food choices into an electronic training journal. Additionally, we source only high quality fresh foods that are wholesome, and when possible, organic, local and fair trade. Together, the sports dietitian and executive chef collaborate to create menus and select high quality, performance based foods and fluids for the student athletes.
Specialized educational tools
Athletes receive assistance when implementing proper fueling into their routine. Cooking classes and grocery store tours help in knowing what foods to buy and how to prepare them. Sport-specific handouts as well as team talks and workshops with the sports dietitian also support nutrition education.
Body Composition Evaluation
Results from body composition testing are combined with individualized meal plans help student athletes achieve their physical and training goals. Cal is one of the few collegiate sports nutrition programs that utilize BOD POD technology or body composition assessment and monitoring.
The Simpson Center brings services directly to the student-athlete with a built-in physician clinic that provides on-site outpatient care. As a fundamental piece of the high performance model, the physician will have immediate access to student-athletes on a continual basis. The clinic includes:
Three exam rooms
Procedural room with space for observation and minor procedures.
Digital x-ray imaging systems are superior to standard x-ray films in several ways. First and foremost, images can instantly and securely be viewed electronically by Cal Sports Medicine providers and specialists regardless of their location. This allows for faster results and decision-making, which may shorten the time between injury and appropriate follow up medical care. Also, digital images, by aid of computers, can be formatted to provide views and information that standard x-ray films are unable to provide allowing for more comprehensive evaluation and accurate diagnoses.
The University of California is one of the first athletic departments in the country to make diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound available to student-athletes in the training quarters, clinics, and even on the sidelines. Musculoskeletal ultrasound makes use of sound waves to image muscles, tendons, and ligaments without radiation and with greater resolution than MRI. In addition to accurate and immediate diagnoses, ultrasound also allows Cal Sports Medicine providers and specialists to make safer return to play decisions and offer cutting edge treatment options to aid in recovery. This technology has revolutionized the practice of sports medicine, and Cal remains committed to maintaining leadership in this field.