As almost any professional athlete will tell you, it’s much easier to begin a new fitness routine or adopt a new workout technique. The difficult part, however, is actually reaching the goals set and taking your performance to the next level. Sports training is a physically and mentally demanding project that’s filled with countless pitfalls and lots of frustrations. But what if new technology could make the effort easier for athletes? The key might be to make sports training smarter – technologically smarter, that is. Using technology to grade and perfect an athlete’s performance is certainly nothing new, but smart technology has improved to the point where measuring an individual’s performance has become much more accurate, precise, and workable.
Important technology trends are now taking the sports industry by storm, and it’s showing no signs of letting up. From helping millions of people improve their fitness efforts to transforming professional programs into powerhouses, technology is here to stay. As athletes like, Richard Sherman gear up for the upcoming season and dust the cobwebs off their wooden lockers, here are some trends we should expect to see make the largest impact in the sports industry.
Injury Prevention Technology
As salaries and contracts continue to rise across the board in professional sports, team administrators like Paul Allen (chairman for the Seattle Seahawks), are working eagerly to keep their athletes healthy and in the best shape. In football, for example, helmet companies like Riddell created a computer chip called an “Impact Response System.” This system was designed to detect how many times a player’s head felt an impact throughout the course of a game. The technology then analyzed the impact to determine if it may have been hard enough to warrant concern. If needed, an alert was sent to the sideline staff with information about the impact, allowing for faster response time, and treatment.
The physical, emotional and cognitive damages done to the brain from a traumatic injury can be devastating. However, with the proper technological equipment, sports teams everywhere can help reduce the number of head trauma injuries athletes are exposed to. This is why injury prevention technology becoming standard issue for professional and college sports teams.
Wearable tech has become one of the biggest trends in sports tech these days, and nothing seems to be changing. For today’s athletes, who could end up running countless hours and pushing their bodies to their breaking point, wearable technology is no longer a high-tech novelty; it’s an essential training tool. That’s why as of 2015, the hottest new tech devices weren’t being stored in our purses or pockets, they were worn on our wrists, plugged into our ears and in some cases, embedded in our clothes and shoes. Innovations like this one are the reasons why companies like Intel are starting to view wearable technology as the new frontier of computing.
The level of intimacy of wearable technology opens up a world of transformative experiences that are different from a smartphone. That’s because there are plenty of devices and options that are available to suit any health enthusiast’s needs – from watches that assist in long-distance running to simple wearable wristbands that allow people to track the number of steps they’ve taken throughout the course of a day.
These are the same devices that have enriched the entire athletic experience, providing data that can increase motivation, enhance training and ultimately improve someone’s overall performance.
As technology and sports continue to develop, advances could lead to dramatically improved performances not only in elite athletes, but in any fitness enthusiast who’s willing to explore the endless possibilities. Technology is here to stay and 2017 will likely see an overnight growth in its applications and usage within the sport and fitness industry.
Virtual Reality Technology
VR’s ability to capture the first-person point of view has valuable assets that traditional television and videos lack: Athletes, for instance, get valuable repetition from a first-person perspective in an immersive, 360 degree environment, while sports fans get authentic experiences that immerse them in the major-league action. Stanford-affiliated STRIVR, for example, filmed more than 15,000 football plays in the last two years who were watched and observed by college and professional players 50,000 times for practice purposes. In 2015, three of the five highest-rated quarterbacks used STRIVR on a weekly basis to train.
As virtual reality continues to gain interest and exposure in other areas including entertainment and education, the sports world will prove to be no exception as it eagerly seeks new methods of athlete improvement. By using virtual reality as a training tool, athletes can train mentally while avoiding prolonged physical activity, which decreases the risk of injury. This provides a win-win opportunity for coaches, like Seattle’s Pete Carroll, and other athletes alike.