Technology is changing faster than the average person can keep up with. Let’s be honest, most people may not be aware of the latest technologies they use and enjoy on a daily basis. From Hollywood, to medicine, to sports, technology is changing the things we love and rely on. We take a look at three companies who are changing the way we train and practice from the top of the sports world and all the way to youth sports.
Goal Line Technology
Most of the technologies used in sports benefit the game and the players. One of the best additions in recent years is the implementation of goal line technology in soccer leagues around the globe. Goal line technology instantly helps referees determine if a goal was scored or not by signaling whether or not the ball crossed the goal line. When a goal is scored, information is transmitted to watches worn by match officials – and only match officials – within a matter of seconds.
This year, England’s second league, the EFL, agreed in principle to begin using goal line technology next season, leaving Spain’s La Liga as the only league not to implement the system. But one of the biggest clubs in the world called for the Spanish league to adopt goal line tech. Barcelona was very vocal in favor of the system after they were denied a goal during a match against Real Betis in late January. After the match, Barca boss Luis Enrique said he saw “the photo [of the chance] and I will say what I have always said: that referees need help.”
This isn’t the first or last time we will hear a boss, player or coach address human errors made during games. Which is why instant replay was invented. Unfortunately, instant replay must be limited – we cannot stop the clock every time a play call may be viewed as controversial. If we did, some games would take hours, exhausting the teams and the fans.
As fans, we are well aware of goal line tech and instant replay, they’re used all the time. What we may not be aware of are the advances in technology used behind the scenes. Some of these new startups and technologies are allowing teams to measures athletes’ health and to help prevent injuries.
These technological advances are quite impressive. Australian company Catapult uses analytics to measure an athlete’s physical preparedness and risk of injury. Their technology is used by dozens of teams around the world, including the Golden State Warriors, Denver Broncos, Leicester City and Bayern Munich. Catapult’s wearable technology helps trainers by measuring movements during team practices. It has a GPS, an accelerometer, which measures stops and starts, a magnetometer, measuring directions, and a gyroscope to measure how the body is twisting and bending. All the information is sent to a computer or phone within minutes, and can help assess when a player is fatigued or at risk of injury.
Technology such as Catapult’s is extremely useful in helping keep athletes healthy, but it also spurs an interesting debate. Should technology override how a player is feeling at the moment? Golden State’s Steph Curry has said that the technology helps as long as it doesn’t change his own perception of things. Adding that if use of the technology “rolls over into affecting games and coaches changing rotations, that’s where you might lose some players. You’re playing five or 10 less minutes less than you think you should because the readout says you’re overloaded?”
And Curry may be right. What would happen if coaches and trainers begin listening to technology instead of the player standing in front of them, even when the science isn’t perfect? How will to the technology affect the game? Could we see players benched at critical moments because of the possibility of injury? It is important that coaches and players decide together when they should listen to their bodies and when to listen to the wearable chip.
Youth Development Tech
Professional sports aren’t the only sports we engage in. All athletes start somewhere, right? Most start at a young age, and it’s at this stage in development when Sportlyzer comes in handy. Sportlyzer is a software platform that makes life easier for coaches by helping them manage their teams and in turn improve player development. The software is already used by 21,000 coaches and 230,000 athletes around the world and won the Sports Technology Awards’ 2016 Best Technology for Managers and Coaches prize.
It may not be changing the sports we watch on TV, but Sportlyzer is helping change the next generations of athletes we will some day watch on TV.
Technological advances are greatly enriching the sports we love. Tech is improving the game on the court and field, ensuring athletes stay healthy, helping train the next generation of world renowned athletes and enhancing the viewing experience. And, hey, the best in sports tech may have yet to come.