Integration of technology in sports has changed how athletes play and how fans view the events. But the impact of tech in sports has not been limited only to the game and broadcasting.
New innovations, particularly in data processing, sensor and computer technologies, have completely revolutionised everything from athlete training to game strategies. We take a look at some of the notable use of tech in sports and how they have been a game changer.
4 ways tech changed sports experience
Modern sports have been drastically altered by technological advancements, from off-field rules to player heart monitors. Not only has it broadened the audience for professional sports, but it has also boosted competition, strengthened ties between fans, and made the playing field safer for everyone involved.
Here's how technology is changing the world of sports:
Technology's greatest contribution to sports has been enabling athletes to improve using new tools.
In the 1980s, the video camera became increasingly affordable, giving coaches a new tool for documenting and analysing athletic performance. It's hard to overstate the significance of the video camera to modern coaching in sports.
Computer-controlled electronic timing systems are used to keep track of athletes' times in a wide variety of sports, including athletics, cycling, skiing, bobsledding, triathlon, and many more. Electronic timing also measures the athlete's reaction time to the start gun in athletics.
Due to technological advancements, we now have access to vast amounts of information that can help coaches, team management, and fans make better decisions. With analytics data, teams can now make more refined adjustments and coaching staff no longer have to rely on intuition and imprecise data when designing a game plan.
Precise live decisions
Live decision making for any sport is challenging and highly susceptible to human errors. Technological advancements have been making it easier to make the right decisions.
Football leagues have recently adopted the use of technology for reviewing decisions. Video assistant referees (VAR) were first used during the 2017–2018 season. It's now possible for off-field officials to challenge a referee's call thanks to this technology. They have the authority to confirm a goal, decide whether or not a penalty should be given, and determine whether or not a foul warrants a red or yellow card.
Cricket was introduced to 'Hawk-Eye' in 2001 for showing the trajectory of a cricket ball. This has made a huge difference in the outcome of games.
The Hawk-Eye generates a number of statistical analyses, such as ball speed, ball pitch on the wicket, and ball trajectory after the bounce. Currently, the technology is being used to help judge whether a tennis shot is in or out. Moreover, Hawk-Eye's analysis of sporting performance has significantly increased audience comprehension and participation.
In 2014, the Major League Baseball (MLB) increased the number of plays that could be reviewed by off-field technology to 13. This season, umpires were given microphones, giving them the ability to formally announce replays in the same vein as referees in other sports.
Taking live coverage to new heights
With the help of modern technology, sports broadcasts have become more comprehensive than ever before. Watching the game was limited to a select few channels, but now fans have a plethora of options. Additional coverage options include both real-time and on-demand replays.
Media companies covering sporting events can now use technology to transmit data at a rate much faster than in the past.
If you have a smartphone, you can get the latest news and updates as soon as they become available. Even more so, social media is opening up possibilities that were previously unthinkable.
Injury prevention and rehabilitation
Athletes put their body through the grinding of tough training and hard conditioning. Although they have elite fitness, athletes are always at risk of sustaining injuries and even permanent damage to their health.
Technological advancements have made it possible to reduce the risk of injury in sports. For instance, modern prosthetic mouth guards use sensors to evaluate the severity of a blow, allowing for early intervention in the event of a seemingly innocuous but potentially dangerous collision.
In addition, technological advancements have allowed for more effective injury rehabilitation, for instance via the application of digital modelling, which facilitates the localization of injury in extremities like the elbow and arm, allowing for prompt and accurate treatment.