Sports Technology: Learning a Game of Continuous Innovation

The debate about the effects of technological advancement has been ongoing since its conception. In the digital age, it is almost impossible to live without the convenience of the inventions around us. Everyone is affected for better or worse. In the sports industry, it’s mostly for the better. Here are some ways technological advancement improved the sports industry.

Training and Performance Tracking

Wearable technology was first introduced to the world by the European Soccer Club in 2009. Coaches first used it to monitor players’ exhaustion levels and injury probabilities in real-time through attachable biometric devices.

Fast forward 12 years, and wearable technology had evolved. It is now being used to monitor athletes’ biochemical data. This includes athletes’ heart rate, blood oxygen levels, muscle usage, temperature, and sleep deprivation. The data gathered in real-time is sent to laptops or even mobile devices, making it more accessible.

Some sports teams even embed RFID tags on uniforms for immediate alert whenever players are at the brink of an injury due to fatigue. Recent designs were also focused on comfort, making it as small and unnoticeable as possible. To top it off, wearable technology is not exclusive for athletes since most people use affordable smartwatches that can do the same thing whenever they’re exercising.

Virtual reality is another invention that proved its relevance this decade. With the help of an immersive virtual experience, athletes get to enhance their cognitive abilities. Traditional coaches still opt to use video footage to prepare and study for matches, but the others who have tried virtual reality training have seen what it can offer.

By undergoing 3D simulations and virtually playing their matches before their actual games, athletes, coaches, and training staff can develop tactics to defeat the opposing teams. It differs from traditional planning methods such as shadowboxing since VR gives athletes realistic visual and auditory stimuli to increase their reaction time and decision-making skills.

Although a bit more mundane than the first two, the emergence of Instant Replay Reviews also improves the quality of matches. By having a faster and more accurate means of double-checking the calls made, the credibility of the game increases. Sports league incorporates this by giving coaches chances to challenge the calls made by the referees a specific number of times. In some cases, being given a chance to double-check a small detail might be the difference between winning and losing.

Safety and Equipment

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The improvement of athletes’ safety is another milestone reached through technological advances. Various inventions and refinement of traditional equipment have provided a higher performance rate due to lessened stress caused by the fear of getting injured.

Speedo’s low-drag LZR Racer bodysuit was engineered to reduce the friction or drag a swimmer experiences in the water. Nordica’s ski for women such as the Santa Ana was designed to have lighter boards with a narrower platform for more stable yet quick and nimble maneuvering. The S100 Pro Comp Helmet was engineered to protect baseball players’ heads. Its hardened shell protects against balls thrown at a speed of up to 100 miles per hour.

The improvement of injury rehabilitation is also among the top list of technological advancements in the sports industry. Injuries are natural in the world of physical sports. Finding a professional athlete who has never experienced some injury over their career tenure is close to impossible.

But no matter how common they are, injuries today are faster to rehabilitate compared to the last decade. Cryotherapy, where they expose your body to nitrogen vapor, is used to improve blood circulation. That ensures healthy blood cells get a chance to permeate muscles.

Compression therapy is used in mobilizing the lymphatic fluid in the muscle to alleviate muscle pain and speed up recovery. Advanced compression equipment has also been designed in sleeves, jackets, and other tight-cloth compressors to make athletes more convenient and comfortable.

Interaction

Finally, there’s fan engagement. The sports industry and all the athletes would not thrive without fans. The interaction between the athletes and the fans has always been a crucial part of the sports industry. Fan engagement has never been this important. With the pandemic affecting the world, the sports industry needs to rely on fans to keep afloat.

Luckily, the digital world provides an easy way of tuning in without going out. Streaming packages for sports events have been improving over the years. Now, you can watch your games live on your phone on a bus on the way home. With 4k quality of viewing, fans get to enjoy watching matches from a different country.

Another example of the improvement in fan interactions is the NBA All-Star Games. With all the fans worldwide voting for their favorite players to be selected, a certain level of involvement is felt.

With these ideas in mind, technology will keep on changing things, including in the sports industry. The sector can continue to thrive, whatever situation it faces.

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