March 6th, 2023
What is Sports Technology
What is sports technology? By definition, sporting technologies are man-made methods developed to reach human interests or goals relating to a particular sport.
Technology in sports is a technical means by which athletes attempt to improve their training and competitive surroundings to enhance their overall athletic performance (IGI Global). Technology plays a pivotal role in athletics today.
Sports Technology is All Around Us
Technology in sports is an ever-growing, ever-changing concept. To be completely honest, there are hundreds of directions in which your brain can go when you think about what sports technology is.
Is it the instant replay system you see while watching a basketball game? The challenge system that occurs during football games? The radios and headsets that racecar drivers use to communicate with their pit crew?
The answer is yes. Sports technology is all around us- so let’s take a deep dive into some significant ways it has impacted athletics today.
Sports Technology is Routine
Some technology for athletics is very routine- I think about how I incorporate this as a coach. Every day, my assistant sets up a Hudl camera (video technology service) behind the court, presses the record button on the iPad, and we don’t think about it again until he ends the recording.
For game days, the video is sent to Hudl post-game, broken down, and returned to me within 24 hours. As soon as I click open Hudl, I can see that all of my athletes are “tagged.” I can see how many kills my team had, blocks, errors, aces, etc.
All of this at the tip of my fingers, without even thinking twice about the seamless technology I am lucky enough to have. Seeing coaches- at any level and sport- toting around a camera to record their team has become so second nature and normalized. We are fortunate to be able to use this technology to enhance our programs.
Sport Technology is Using Replay Systems
As we know, video goes into a much more profound and extensive scale. Professional sports would not operate the same without using video, VAR, replay systems, etc.
Think back to the most recent World Cup. Throughout 64 games in the 2022 World Cup, the VAR protocol has been used 27 times. Let’s break this down:
25 were overturned
2 were rejected overturns
6 led to goals
10 penalty kicks were awarded
8 were ruled out for offside
Why is this important? This truly changed and affected the scope of many of the games at the 2022 World Cup. Without VAR, many of these matches would have looked very different, and there may have even been another champion.
Sports Technology is Video, Stats, and Communication
Aside from the video challenge piece of professional sports, we need not forget that even video, stats, and coaching communication is a vast tool for professional athletes.
Think about how multiple offensive coordinators in the NFL sit in a high-up booth in the stadium. They can communicate down onto the field/ the sideline through technology. Many head coaches prefer their offensive coordinator to be in a booth rather than down on the field. This is because, being high up, you can see everything. Additionally, it may be a calmer space for offensive coordinators to make adjustments and changes. Without the use of technology, this would not be remotely possible.
Sports Technology is Used for Injury Prevention
A few years ago, one of my volleyball teams took advantage of a new piece of technology in the industry: Vert. This device monitors jump performance, landing impact, total workload, and more. The device connects to an app that shows all the athletes currently using the device and shows each of their optimal training zones.
This is a way for coaches to monitor athletes coming back from injury closely, ensuring athletes are in their correct training zone and assuring that athletes are not “overdoing” it. This is a great device that capitalizes on injury prevention and getting the most out of your athletes. Each sport certainly has multiple technological devices and concepts that pertain to them.
Without sports technology, it would be pretty challenging for us to run athletic departments efficiently, enjoy athletic events the same way, or make careers out of athletics. The type of work that has been done every single year to enhance technology is simply remarkable.