The relationship between technology and sport has always been an interesting one, and now, more than ever, technology has the potential to enhance sports performance, create more accurate measurements and data analysis, and even provide better spectator experiences. In turn, sports can drive innovation in technology, spurring the development of new and exciting products. Keep reading as we explore the ways in which technology and sport can be used to each other’s benefit, and how athletes and spectators alike can take advantage.
A spokesperson of GlobMed commented: “Sports and technology can work excellently together; from tracking performance in sport to making sport into more of a leisure activity and in some cases, even detecting health risks to sportspeople before they happen, acting as a really good preventative measure.”
1. Enhancing Sports Performance
Technology can play a critical role in enhancing sports performance: from specialized training equipment to wearable technology, athletes can use technology to measure, analyze, and improve their performance. The emergence of wearable technology such as smartwatches and fitness trackers has allowed athletes to monitor their heart rate, steps taken, calories burnt, and even sleep patterns. This data can then be analyzed to identify areas of improvement, and adjustments to training and nutrition plans can be made accordingly. Not only this, but the development of technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) can simulate real-life game scenarios to provide athletes with a realistic training experience, so even if it’s not possible to train normally due to unforeseen circumstances such as weather or injury, athletes can still visualize and practice the movements of their chosen sport.
2. Improving Accessibility
With the association of technology and sport becoming more commonplace, the sport has become more accessible to the general public. For example, Topgolf and their technology-driven driving ranges allow players to hit microchipped golf balls and score points based on accuracy and distance, eliminating the need for traditional golf courses and equipment, and making the game more approachable for everyone.
3. Improving Accuracy
Technology can also be used to improve the accuracy of measurements and data analysis in sports. You’ve likely heard of Hawk-Eye, a technology used in tennis, cricket, and other sports to track the trajectory of the ball and provide accurate measurements, which in turn has eliminated errors in decision-making and improved the overall quality of the game. Similarly, in football, goal-line technology is used to determine whether the ball has crossed the goal line by using cameras and sensors to provide an accurate decision within seconds, significantly reducing the number of controversial decisions made by referees and leading to a fairer game.
4. Enhancing Spectator Experience
Technology has massively enhanced the spectator experience and made watching sports more immersive and engaging. By using their smartphones, spectators can use augmented reality to access information, statistics, and real-time updates about a sports match. Even cooler than this, the same technology can be used to create virtual seats, allowing fans to experience the same from different angles and perspectives. Similarly, virtual reality can provide fans with a fully immersive experience that makes them feel as though they are part of the game. They can watch the game from the perspective of other players, experience the thrill of a live game, and interact with other fans from their homes!
5. Driving Innovation in Technology
Conversely, sports can also drive innovation in technology, leading to the development of new and exciting products. Even our wardrobes benefit from sports technology, with the development of lightweight, high-performance fabrics for sports has led to the creation of more comfortable and durable clothing for everyday wear. The benefits don’t stop here, as the development of specialized equipment for sports such as golf clubs and tennis rackets has resulted in the creation of more advanced and efficient tools for several other industries. Most notably, the development of lightweight, durable materials for tennis rackets has led to the creation of more advanced surgical tools and prosthetics.