The sports industry has been one of the biggest industries to embrace technology and welcome any innovation that can help athletes and sports enthusiasts enhance their training and experience of the sport. Technological innovations are constantly made to help athletes with their training, even in the confines of their own homes. Now that most teams can’t get together in gyms, on the field, or in stadiums just yet, harnessing technology has especially become all the more important.
So here are five technological trends that can become big in the future to help make training more accessible and enhance overall athletic performance and precision.
1. Wearable Trackers
Nowadays, everybody has trackers on their watches and phones that count how many steps they’ve taken in a day, how many miles they’ve walked or run, and how many hours of sleep they get on average. Now, athletes and coaches can use trackers to measure everything from temperature, heart rate, hydration levels, and overall peak performance.
And this isn’t just limited to watches and other strap-on devices either. Now, many more companies are investing in smart clothing. By weaving fine synthetic tracking sensors and fibers into regular activewear, sports analysts can track even the most minuscule changes in an athlete’s level of performance. Being a fast and rapidly expanding market, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many consider it the future of sports analytics technology.
2. Data Gathering and Analyzing Technology
Many data analysts and sports already use video footage of matches and games to analyze their teams’ and an opposing team’s playstyle and strategies. Now, with modern computer vision technology, analysts can identify and track every individual player on a field and their movements and interactions and get quantifiable data on certain plays, strategies and optimal placements, teams, and rotations.
Video footage or video refereeing can also help determine any fouls on the field, zoom in or slow down a video for greater detail, and switch to different angles so you get a complete and unbiased look at an entire playing field. The process of collecting and analyzing data can even be automated using artificial intelligence (AI) and other data processing software, significantly streamlining tasks and analysis.
3. Remote Practicing Methods
While the spread of vaccines has undoubtedly helped minimize the risk of contact sports, it’s still not recommended for many sports teams to practice together in close contact for an extended period. But this hasn’t stopped athletes from keeping up with their training doing what they can at home to simulate the training experience. For some, remote training can be something as simple as getting a speed pitch cage installed in the backyard. On the other hand, some turn to software and virtual coaches to get their fill. In fact, the pandemic has done little to deter athletes from making the most of their own home equipment to get their daily training in.
The need for proper home equipment for each sport, however, is still being called for. With high enough demand and many things changing after the pandemic, it’s not a stretch to assume that new technology to help athletes train more effectively at home is just on the horizon.
4. Virtual Reality
And speaking of home training equipment, virtual reality (VR) has quickly become most athletes’ go-to training equipment. What better way to simulate an actual playing field or court than through virtual reality? Through VR, athletes can practice in the relative safety of their homes. For intensive sports such as discus throwing or javelin throwing, where the use of the standard equipment might hurt someone or the house, VR becomes a necessity for that athlete’s training.
More than just simply presenting a visual simulation, virtual reality combined with smart clothing and trackers allows for better data collection and performance tracking. For an even more enhanced experience, live broadcasts can be accessed through VR as well. There’s really no overstating the brand-new avenues and possibilities that VR opens to everyone.
5. Muscle Recovery Tools
Sports-related injuries can’t often be entirely avoided. Recovery, rehabilitation, and technology all go hand in hand. In fact, it’s often technology that’s at the forefront of sports rehabilitation. Some devices can be worn to accelerate muscle recovery, use electromagnetic fields to repair muscle tissue, and prosthetic for any amputated or injured limbs. This is wearable technology at its full potential — not just as a means to track and record data but also to aid in both injury prevention and injury recovery.
Technology is ever-growing and expanding, and throughout the pandemic, new and better ones have continuously helped us adapt to our ever-changing times. Only time can tell how far this technology will take us and what it can really do.