Sport and technology are inextricably linked and perhaps that statement couldn’t be truer than it was in 2020.
The role that technology plays in all sports disciplines is now more obvious than ever. Think back to when the lockdown began in mid-March when the Run 5k phenomenon hit – the fuel behind it was technological advancement. To be able to track your runs and share them with your social media companions.
But does the top-level technology fuel successful development in sport or does it simply destroy all forms of competition? In this article, take a look at Charles Tyrwhitt.
On 12NS In October 2019, Eliud Kipchoge took part in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge – an attempt to break the marathon limit of under two hours. On that cold, foggy morning in Vienna, Kipchoge not only successfully mastered the challenge, but made it 20 seconds behind and added another incredible achievement to his already impressive list.
Although he overshadowed his personal best and world record by almost two minutes, the time of 1:59:40 was not considered an official world record due to the conditions in which it took place. It was not a race by definition or in the words of running commentator Toni Reaves “a second chance marketing fair for a plastics manufacturer and springy shoes”.
A laser-like system projected from a car driving in front of Eliud indicated the runner’s required pace to beat the time, road markings on the track suggested the fastest possible route, and aerodynamics specialists had a seven-person wind protection system as the best possible Way to counteract the resistance.
The most controversial aspect of the feat, however, revolved around the athletes’ shoes – the Nike Vaporfly sparked a dispute between the manufacturer and World Athletics, with critics suggesting they should be banned because they are practically “technological doping.” The shoe, which combines a rubber called Pebax with carbon fiber plates in the sole, provides a percentage of the energy that the runner covers.
Although the shoes have not been banned by the governing body, it has been claimed that the benefit they offer users cannot be compared to alternatives. If you can afford the crème de la crème of Nike running shoes, you will come a long way in your quest for fame.
While innovative technologies are often victims of abuse, they have fitness and injury prevention implications that cannot be discredited. However, even the most anti-tech fans couldn’t argue that it stifles competition.
In rugby, for example, we’ve seen a range of new pieces of equipment introduced that reduce the risk players are exposed to. GPS trackers sewn into the back of the shirts provide data that enable trainers to see when the body is under heavy strain, for example in a crowd or in contact phases. These different data points enable decisions about training, substitutions, and even additional training.
Concussions are a major problem in rugby as players who have suffered head injuries in sports develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy. Since doctors on the sidelines sometimes rely on the honesty of the players when assessing head injuries, an OPRO + development is truly revolutionary.
The company has started implementing impact sensors in its mouthguards that will relay information related to the collision and allow a more accurate assessment of the injury. Linear accelerometers built into the shield measure the impact of a specific force in a specific direction, be it forward, backward, up or down.
Whether it’s a high school hockey coach sitting down with his players before a final to discuss the opponent’s penalty shootout trends, or Brad Pitt sharing information about a generator in Money ball In order to find the exact players who would enable him to win, data analysis has always played a big role in sports.
What we are now seeing more clearly, however, is the implementation of an evidence-based approach. Video analysis enables coaches to sit down with the players and precisely describe every aspect of their game.
The German Football Association, the German Football Association, compares goals in games over the entire season and was able to determine in detail that repetitive sprints were the most important factor in creating lucrative scoring opportunities – it encouraged investments in players who were not just fast, but were able to build up this rapid pace in a very short time.
Data analysis of performance has now encouraged the adoption of improved training techniques across all disciplines. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) has been introduced into a number of sports because it enables athletes to use explosive power.
When it comes to introducing improved analytical technologies into sport, there is little you can suggest to limit competition.
A Ted Talk discussing whether people are getting faster and stronger draws a comparison between Jesse Owens’ 100 meters world record from 1936 and Usain Bolts from the 2013 World Championships.
The announcer notes that Owens would have four meters to go when Bolt was done. But here’s the thing – Bolt ran on an immaculately designed running track designed to be the fastest possible ride. Owens against it? He ran on the ashes of burned wood, which didn’t give him the same buoyancy, and alternatively tore energy from his crotch.
Compare the footballers of yesteryear with the footballers of today. Take Premier League legends like Alan Shearer and Wayne Rooney, for example. They were strong, muscular characters who huddled on the ball and used their strength to push opposing players out of the way.
It’s a rarity these days to see strikers of similar stature. Instead, players become lighter, taller, and ultimately faster, using pace rather than force to score goals.
But why is that so? Professor Alan Nevill of the University of Wolverhampton places great emphasis on game surface development. Nevill notes, “Modern pitches are immaculate and well maintained, rather than the mud baths they used to be. The playing fields used to be very heavy and muddy, especially in the middle of winter, which meant that the players were bulkier and more muscular. “
You’d have to think about how the stars of yore fare in today’s league or vice versa. Would people like George Best, portrayed as one of the most talented of all time, still shine on such a fast-flowing surface and would Raheem Sterling be able to dominate and dazzle on a constantly water-saturated playing field? Whichever way you look at it, technology is here to stay. In certain circumstances, it is easy to see why it has been criticized, especially when it fails us. However, it would not be fair to suggest that this has been an obstacle in actively making the sport safer and improving the overall performance of athletes.