Many of the most popular sports today have been around in some form or another for hundreds of years.
Soccer, as we know it today, originates from England in the mid-1800s. Tennis is even older, with the basic rules and practices of today’s game dating back to around the mid-15th century. Cricket is another game from around that era, where it was played by schoolboys circa 1550. American football evolved from both rugby and soccer, with the first true game played in 1869, between Rutgers and Princeton.
The point we’re illustrating here is that all these sports pre-date any kind of technology that could have assisted the game progress, or its officials run the game more efficiently. In sport, sometimes there is resistance to new technologies being brought in because it supposedly ruins the original integrity of the game.
We’ve seen it frequently in the world of soccer; in the 2010 World Cup, Frank Lampard had a goal incorrectly ruled out against Germany, despite it clearly crossing the line. However, because the referee missed it, and there were no video replays for him or the other officials to review, the goal wasn’t given.
Thankfully, most sports have now accepted that technology actually does a lot more good than harm and that efforts to help improve the game run smoother and more accurately should be commended, not feared or ignored. Most fans tend to agree- when they are searching through sportsbooks to find the latest odds on their sports betting apps, they want the games or matches they place bets on to be officiated fairly, and welcome the use of technology to ensure a fairer outcome.
It’s not just in officiating that technology has helped sport, it has also helped to oversee an improvement of training methods for all athletes as well. Let’s focus in on some of these key areas, to assess just how big an impact technology has had in the world of sport in the last 15-20 years.
Track and analyze performances
Back in the 1980s and beyond, coaches would have to rely on their instinct and the opinion of their fellow coaches to assess which players were working hard in training, and thus deserved to be starting in the upcoming fixtures. Certain players knew that they didn’t always have to put in 110% effort, so would never really try too hard.
Nowadays, in most sports players will be fitted with some sort of tracking device, that generates a set of data that can be analyzed at the end of training sessions.
Clubs and teams will employ specialist analysts to go through the statistics, and relay the information on to their coaches. It helps show clearly how far a player is pushing themselves in training, and thus who deserves to be starting the next game.
Not only that but these monitoring devices can also be used to assess a player’s physical condition, to see if they are likely to injure themselves. Given how many more games the average player plays now compared to thirty years ago, they are much more likely to pick up an injury.
Therefore, knowing when a player is entering the ‘red zone’ and is close to an injury, coaches can decide to run a lighter training session, to avoid pushing their team too hard.
Managers and coaches are always on the lookout for information on their opponents, to find weaknesses and ways to beat them.
Technology helps out here, as now previous games can be watched back and analysed in fine detail. This is especially helpful if sides face off against teams from other countries, as in the past very little would be known about foreign opposition, so managers never knew what to expect.
Now, they can have a thorough set of information on their opponents, so they can work out the best way to set up their team, to gain a victory.
Improvement of equipment
Technology has had a huge impact on the upgrading and development of the equipment used in pretty much every single sport. The running shoes that top athletes use now have been designed to be as aerodynamically perfect as possible so that they can run much faster than ever before.
In the world of cycling, the bikes used in the Tour de France are now much lighter, as there have been technological advances and improved understandings of what materials can be used for the frame and wheels of these bikes.
In tennis, the racquets that were used as recently as the 1970s were made of wood, an incredibly heavy material. Now, thanks to technological advances, they are usually made of graphite, a much lighter yet more durable material.
So, it is clear the impact technology has had on the world of sport and sports training in the last few years. We imagine that in another ten or so years, things will have moved on even further. We can’t wait to see what comes next.