Technology has been making great strides in recent years, especially in the sporting world. Indeed, the global sports technology market will be worth $41.9 billion by 2026 with a year-over-year growth of 21.4%. There are several technologies that are contributing to this rise — from wearables to smart sports equipment. But what most of them have in common is how they help athletes improve their performance.
To this end, here are some of them:
Data is the heart and soul of athletic training — it lets coaches know what points athletes need to improve on as well as their limitations. Wearables can help track this data, from the body’s heart rate to the distance athletes cover while running. Fitness trackers are the most common form of sports wearables.
However, this is not the only use for the technology. For instance, clothing retailers are finding ways to incorporate technology into fabrics, granting garments “smart” functions that can help with athletic performance. For example, Under Armour has a wearable jacket line that absorbs body heat and reflects it as infrared light (IR). If you weren’t aware, IR encourages muscle relaxation, which helps with recovery.
Clothes aren’t the only things that can be called “smart.” Manufacturers are now tapping into artificial intelligence (AI) technology to make their clothing lines and products more effective for athletes when they train.
For instance, Wilson recently created a smart basketball embedded with AI-powered sensors to track how well players shoot. Similarly, French tennis company Babolat produced a racket that can read the player’s serve speed and the number of shots they make. Zepp Labs’ baseball bat, PING’s golf club, and Micoach’s soccer ball are also great examples of this technology at work.
Virtual reality (VR) technology isn’t just used for entertainment purposes, but for training as well. In fact, the NFL uses a lot of VR simulations to train its athletes. NFL coach Ted Sundquist explains how the technology could help NFL athletes “anticipate” certain moves, improving their reaction time.
And with how advanced VR headsets are today, how could they not? These accessories are created with net ties to meet PCB requirements, granting the technology enough battery to run 3D simulations despite its small size. The nets also make it possible to connect several powerful components to the main board. Because of this, VR headsets can be equipped with a lot of complex hardware like 6DOF tracking cameras. This makes simulations incredibly realistic; all Sundquist had to do was add a real ball into the program, and his training saw positive results.
Cryotherapy, or sometimes referred to as “cold therapy,” is a procedure where the body is placed in a machine and exposed to extremely cold temperatures for a few minutes. It has a ton of benefits for athletes, like the ability to reduce inflammation and improve performance. The latter is only achieved when cryotherapy is paired with moderate-intensity training, as the procedure allows muscles to recover faster. LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Usain Bolt are some of the world’s top-performing athletes that have incorporated cryotherapy into their training regimen.
From recovery to training, the right technology can help athletes improve performance in many ways. A lot of these technologies are still in their development stage, of course, but this just means that there’s plenty of room for them to grow. Eventually, they’ll be able to deliver even more accurate and effective results.