The influence of tech and the internet when it comes to sports has been a game-changer. Once it was the television that had the most influence, with its post-game reports and discussions, but the internet allows debate from everyone, at any time. Advances in tech have affected the training of professional sports players who are now using virtual reality, strobe lights, and various pieces of kit that measure the minutiae of a player’s physical fitness. Here we look at some of these in detail, particularly as they relate to American football, basketball, and baseball to track players, record statistics, and improve team strategies.
The internet has provided a forum for all sports professionals, teams and their fans a forum on which they can play, debate and discuss the game with others within the team and in the wider community. Professional teams each have their own website for the latest news, announcements, transactions and an online store for the purchase of the latest gear, sports equipment, and signed memorabilia, creating an additional income stream for the club as well as a marketing tool with players modelling the apparel to influence sales.
With a multitude of social networking sites, sports teams and individual players can raise their profile by regularly posting interesting content that their fans want to see. Fans feeling connected to the team and individual players are likely to be loyal, buying season tickets, merchandise and supporting the team more widely.
Online betting is growing significantly for those who want to add an extra level of excitement to a game, not just with predicting match results, but also the name of the first scorer, or the time of the first points won. Crypto gambling is also available at sites including BTC casino, with sites offering games like blackjack, dice, slots and roulette. Wagering has become a significant and growing income stream for sports as more people sign up and are then redirected to the real thing.
The implementation of technology has enhanced the experience of spectators, expanded game analysis by not only fans, but coaches, players, and the media, but also provided live refereeing. Tech can detect injuries and improve health recoveries, making the game better for both players and fans.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality sports simulators are used in all professional sports, enabling a single athlete to train in a way that is not possible in reality. For example, in American football, quarterback training requires the involvement of the whole team, yet with VR training simulation a quarterback can master various techniques within a controlled environment and improve their playing ability without the risk of injury.
Many VR simulators use a full-body 3D scan for very detailed and hyper-realistic character models based on real NFL, NBA or MLB players. Here the ball’s trajectory can be re-created accurately, full team strategy can be included in play and sessions can be set for repeated use. Some VR simulators come with complementary apps that allow routes and positions of players to be set before the VR training session.
In some of the basketball VR experiences, you can even hear the ball moving through the air even though the person wearing the VR is not hitting anything. In baseball, VR centres mostly on hitting the ball as hard and as far as possible. For those who play for fun, there are VR games which can be experienced as a couple for fun. For fans who have ever thought they could do better when they have seen a wide throw or poor timing, this is a chance to make it happen, and perhaps renew respect for the skills of professional players.
We have all seen professional athletes connected to a bulky, high-tech breathing apparatus running on a treadmill to measure fitness, movement and more. These testing labs include sports physiotherapists, certified biomechanics specialists as well as athletic trainers with experience of professional sports teams.
Using a multitude of tech sensors to measure movement, heart rate, breathing and more, the athlete can complete a task from which data is later analysed. Tech can also test individual muscle strength, balance, reaction times and hand-eye coordination. Goggles can track where eyes are focused, and the Y-Balance test can see most people fall. Professional athletes make the most of these tests to reach specific goals to improve their play.
Perhaps the most significant improvement in measuring performance is using the tech to find imbalances, such as whether a left bicep is stronger than the right or if the athlete lands heavier on the left or right side when running. These are often tied to former injuries and can help athletes work to avoid future injury through a tailored training programme to help even things out.
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