Sports and technology have had an uneasy relationship for many years. Sports were around well before technology, and some people feel that technology isn’t able to compete with a well-trained eye or intuition. While it might be the case in some aspects, it goes without saying that there are other areas where technology is able to fill the gaps. So, what exactly does technology have to offer sports to educate both the players and the coaches?
Statistics have been used for a long time when it comes to analyzing player performance, even transcending the sports world in some cases. Many online bookmakers and newer online casinos use the stats to collate the odds that are offered, and what makes this truly impressive is that sportsbooks are right more often than they are wrong. So, how can it help the players and coaches?
Well, the first aspect is that stats have evolved a lot over the years. It’s no longer just the overall output that is shown. Instead, we can see how far a player has run, how many sprints they made, how often they failed to make a tackle, how many fouls they gave away – the list keeps going on and on.
This means that every aspect of a player’s performance can be analyzed, so if you have a player giving their best numbers ever in an attacking sense, but their poor work rate is impacting the players around them, then this can be noticed. In the past, this may have been overlooked, and a high-performing player who negatively affected the overall team would be able to get away with it. This is something that coaches can spot and then put measures into place to solve this problem.
It means that coaches can use the stats to find their best overall lineup, benefiting the team as a whole. For individual players, statistics can help them to focus on their own game, spotting any potential weaknesses and improving on them.
It also allows them to spot weaknesses that starting players might have. If they can then improve their own game in these areas, it might allow them to take the place of the starting player. It could also mean that another player is doing the same, leading to higher levels of performance across the board.
Technology that has allowed high levels of stats to be collected has given players and coaches more to learn from than ever before. It has also added a new job into the sports world. Because there are a lot of stats to look through, high-level analysts are required to work through the data and attempt to put it together in a helpful way. This level of education means that coaches can get more from their players than ever before.
Technology has also allowed coaches to understand that the equipment they use can positively impact sporting performance. A great example of this is in soccer.
In the past, there was very little equipment used for soccer training – markers to go on the floor and maybe bibs to split up teams. Although this might work at a grassroots level, thankfully this has changed a lot in the modern world. Training doesn’t just focus on the actual soccer aspect of the game anymore, instead focusing on a variety of athletic aspects. Fitness refers to more than whether or not players are able to run for ninety minutes. They now need to be finely-tuned athletes, and this is part of the reason why soccer players are some of the most highly paid athletes in the world.
One example of equipment that has made its way into soccer is the metal frame shaped like three or four players that is used to practice free kicks in training. Before, this would have required actual players, but now the metal frame means that players can spend some time working on their free-kick technique in order to improve. Other aspects such as weighted vests and cryogenic recovery have entered the world of soccer to improve performance.
Of course, soccer isn’t the only sport that has been impacted. Hockey, football, athletics and basketball have all seen this influx of training equipment to improve player performance. It’s why modern players are hitting statistical and physical heights that have never been seen before.
Online learning is aimed more at amateur sports than at the professional level. In the modern world, players can learn tricks, skills and techniques on sites such as YouTube. This means that someone trying to improve their ability can quickly and easily find out how to do things and work on them in their own time.
Of course, it isn’t just players that can take advantage of this; coaches can learn new coaching methods and techniques through similar sites. There are even coaching courses that can be taken online, meaning that amateur coaches can improve their skills, which can then be passed on to the players they are coaching. This increases the standard of amateur sports worldwide and makes sure that for players to move into the professional world, they have to be truly gifted. Online learning portals have made sure that this increase in skills is available to almost all amateur coaches and players. This is something that wouldn’t have been possible 20 years ago and is rapidly helping to level the playing field.