The technologies that are disrupting sports training

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Fitness & Sport Management Blog

The COVID 19 pandemic has made the need for technology across all aspects of life patently evident: from online education software to AI tools to sports training at home. Under social distancing measures, sports training facilities – such as gyms, sports fields and training centres – are not operating as usual.

As a result, professional athletes struggle to find facilities to train with the assistance of coaches. Halting all sports training can take its toll on athletes. This will, as a result, impact their performance. In the middle of chaos, disruptive sports technology innovation has come up from all parts of the world.

Disruption to the sports industry

The worldwide sports industry is experiencing more disruption than ever owing to continuing shifts in the consumption of media, the development of new technologies and a quickly evolving sponsorship market.

According to a recently published report, which is based on an online review of 189 sports industry stakeholders, the industry’s growth rate will slow down by in excess of 32% in the coming three to five years. This is even though it is expected that the industry will grow by an average of 6.4% over exactly the same period.

This trend possibly reflects the continuing rise of over-the-top (OTT) streaming solutions over a number of private platforms, in particular social media. These patterns also possibly reflect media consumption trending towards mobile, bite-sized and on-demand content.

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Sport, exercise and technology

Sports training and exercise science, as with most areas of life, have been affected significantly by technological advancements. It is difficult to imagine modern sports, as well as the different sub-disciplines of exercise science, minus technologies.

The utilisation of technologies is, with no exceptions, stained with frustration as well as ambivalence. Ironically, it is the pervasiveness of technology which has contributed most to people’s inability to fully grasp the scope, in addition to the depth, of its influence and also doubt as to what role various technological advancements have to play in sports. Indeed, the flood of sport technologies has profoundly changed the landscape of sports training and exercise science.

The leaps in tech have had a profound effect on sports training, including:

  • Evaluation of sports performance and enabling coaches to greatly improve the quality of feedback to players/athletes
  • Increasing accuracy in time measurements regarding sport performance
  • Enabling referees, umpires as well as sports officials to make better decisions regarding rule infringements
  • Improvements in the design of sports equipment in addition to apparel
  • Offering spectators a better viewing of sport performance

Technology is a constantly evolving process and we’re still decades away from achieving singularity, which is defined as machine superintelligence passing human intelligence. Up to 2018, technology has been mostly a one-dimensional in nature. As the next step, artificial intelligence and smart analytics will be needed for seamlessly integrating technology with sports training to guide the next stage of evolution and to ensure higher relevance to human society.

Over the last 20-odd years or so, the application of science had led to a swift development of sports equipment, footwear, clothing in addition to accessories. Nevertheless, the rate of technology evolution in sports training has been slow-paced. In a number of ways, humans have wavered and resisted adopting technology in competitive sports. Their primary argument states that the sports’ overreliance on technology will inhibit natural competition and reduce the thrill of competition.

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