How Technology in Sports Is Changing the Game for Fitness
Technology is making a big difference everywhere, and sports isn't excluded. Keep reading to learn how technology in sports is changing the game for fitness.
When we talk about sports, it's often in a way that denotes their historical significance. Americans consider baseball their greatest pastime and speak reverently about the legends that have shaped baseball's storied past.
It sounds like sports have always stayed the same when in reality, they're rapidly changing. Technology in sports is shaking up the way athletes do everything from training to the big game or match.
Read on to learn more about how technology is changing the game in sports!
Fitness Tech for Everyone
Over 71 million smartwatches and 40 million fitness trackers were sold throughout the world in 2017. It seems like everyone has some kind of fitness tracker these days.
What started as a worldwide push to track the number of steps people take in a day has become much more advanced. Many fitness trackers now have GPS, monitor your heart rate, and can control the music on your phone.
Fitness trackers like Fitbit peaked in sales in 2016, but are now being outsold by smartwatches like the Apple Watch. Apple Watch does everything a fitness tracker does, and it soon will be able to help warn you if it thinks you may be having a heart attack.
But what does this do for athletes? Well, they can track their workouts, and with the heart rate monitor know that they are reaching the right intensity. It can also help athletes optimize their nutrition by tracking how many calories they burn during their workouts.
Track On-Field Performance with Wearable Tech
Coaches are getting a leg up on the competition through apps like FieldWiz and PlayerTek. But how does this wearable tech differ from your standard fitness tracker?
Pretend you're a football coach. This type of wearable tech consists of a small GPS-enabled device you slip into your clothing and it tracks the distance each player runs in a single match.
It also tracks the number of sprints and their running speed. In addition to that, it tracks where each player is on the field in relation to their teammates.
The devices transmit data the coach can use to create new strategies for on-field and on-court play.
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Smart helmets were created in response to growing concerns about player concussions in sports like American football and hockey. Standard helmets were created to absorb impact, but not in any particular way, and to prevent direct hits to the head. Unfortunately, these helmets don't do nearly enough to protect players from head injuries.
Smart helmets use sensors and magnets to reduce injury when a player is hit in the head. The sensors detect an impact, and the magnets work to properly disperse the force of the impact around the helmet and absorb the force. Instead of one spot getting all the damage, it is reduced through dispersing the force.
These helmets also wirelessly transmit data about the collision to coaches and sideline medical staff. This allows them to determine whether the player needs to be pulled from the game.
These helmets are currently only being developed for use in professional American football, but success there is likely to lead to the helmets being used in other sports like hockey, rugby, and lacrosse.
There's a reason why the number one chant for the referees in hockey is "ref, you suck." There's not a game that goes by where the team or the fans feel like the referee is making a bad call. Thankfully (for the refs), new technology is changing the way refs make calls.
This tech includes virtual reality and 360-degree cameras that keep an eye on the action. It also includes things like goal-line technology that alerts refs when a goal has or has not been scored in a match.
Look, it's difficult to keep an eye on multiple players at all times--even when there are multiple refs out there. These cameras can see everywhere, all the time, and help refs make the right call...even if it might disappoint a few thousand fans.
Get the On-Field Experience with Go Pro
Have you ever wished you were a star tennis player? Or Sachin Tendulkar? Or maybe even Boom Boom Afridi?
That dream can become a reality simply by strapping a camera to a player. Go Pros give fans a point of view perspective of everything from tennis to snowboarding to gymnastics.
With cameras like the Go Pro, you never have to wonder what it's like to be an athlete.
Go to a Game...Virtually
Whether it's Wimbledon or the Olympics, everyone wants a ticket to the big game. Unfortunately, this isn't a possibility for many people around the world. Virtual reality technology is changing that.
Virtual reality lets fans get the best seat in the house, maybe even on the field or court. Ticket prices are only going to continue to soar, so virtual reality is the best way to minimize individual costs without sacrificing life experiences.
Virtual technology is also being used to help the players perfect their game. Players wear the VR gear and then practice key elements of their play.
Coaches then receive stats about how they're playing. It's also a safer way for many players to train because they don't have to worry about getting injured by their teammates in practice.
With Technology in Sports, Nothing Will Stay the Same
The game might have the same name, but it's the not the same as it was 50 or even 10 years ago. Technology in sports is literally changing the game. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Technology is making the game more accessible to fans with virtual tickets and Go Pro footage. It's giving athletes more playing years with fitness tracking devices and high tech protective gear. And it's leaving little room for human error with digital referee tools.
With technology in sports, the game isn't the same...it's better.
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