We all have those friends that are obsessed with sports. Heck, we might even be that friend. This person is always checking the game, looking up the latest draft picks, and listing off stats about their favorite players like they are old friends.
One thing they might not be talking about is how much technology is impacting the game.
But perhaps they should be, because sports technology is completely changing the way sports are played. From the way players interact with coaches to how fans are tuning into their favorite club team news, tech has transformed sports into something bigger, and more connected than ever before.
Arguably the most important technologies that are changing the way sports are played are those designed to limit player injury. Probably the most well-known of these advances is football helmets with impact sensory software built in. The sensors monitor the amount of force that the helmet takes and, if a certain threshold is reached, will send an alert to a wireless device on the sidelines. This alert can give coaches far more accurate assessments whether or not a player has a concussion and needs to leave the field before further game play.
Beyond concussion sensory software, other wearable technologies are protecting players from a multitude of other health issues that can arise on the field. The majority of these technologies are small sensors and/or GPS units that are either built in or attached to players clothing. They can track things such as distance traveled, heart rate, acceleration, speed, breathing rate, and core temperature. All of this information is wirelessly transferred to coaches’ smart devices on the sidelines in real time which can help them to make better decisions about player health.
Improved technology can also make major differences from a team management perspective. Not only can those wearable devices help coaches decide when a player needs to come off the field for health reasons, but it can also help them decide when is the best time to make key substitutions that can change the flow of the game. For instance, coaches can actually track when their players are consistently moving at a slower rate, or not accelerating with the same kick that a player with fresh legs might. Changes such as these can help optimize team substitutions.
Outside of professional sports, numerous phone applications have cropped up to help coaches and parents organize children’s leagues, club sports, and recreational ball. Many of these apps help to communicate schedules, practices, and other events, such as team uniform orders, more efficiently. Often times, even league managers are using the applications to complement in person registration, scheduling officials, and reserving fields.
Sports fans all over the world have benefitted from advancements in technology that have allowed them to keep up on the scores of all of the games in one place. Now, rather than watching TV and flipping back and forth through channels to catch snippets of each game, fans can download highlights, check scores, and plan their fantasy rosters all on their cell phones. For many members of a younger generation this may seem commonplace, but this is a truly revolutionary (and recent) development.
Many stadiums are even upgrading in order to meet the technological demands of their fans. Most stadiums are being retrofitted to offer high speed wifi access to customers, which keeps younger fans in the stadiums during halftime when otherwise many of them leave to connect to the Internet. The wifi also allows fans to connect to most stadium concessions through a phone app. It is now completely possible to order a full meal and have it delivered right to your seat without flagging anyone down, waiting in line, or bringing along any cash (assuming a credit card is connected to the app).
Typically when we think of sports, we do not think of the growing presence of technology alongside it. However, technological advancements have made a significant impact upon the world of sports from working towards injury prevention, to improving team management, to altering the way fans experience sports.
Can you think of other ways tech has changed your favorite game?