You are currently viewing The evolution and impact of technology in sports (Part 1)

Technology has improved the accuracy, enjoyment and experiences of both athletes and spectators at sporting events.

Rapid technological progress and digitalization have considerably changed the role of technology in sports in the past two decades. Technology are impacting all three user groups in sports: athletes, consumers, and managers.

Historical examples of technology integration in sports

1- In 1881 photo finish was the first technology used in sports. The first photo finish was used for horse racing.

2- Electrical scoring was first used in 1936.

3- In 1939 baseball was on television for the first time ever.

4- Instant replay was first used in the sport hockey to review if it was a goal in 1955.

5- In 1964, Japanese watchmaker Seiko launches its new electronic automated timing system with a photo-finish mechanism, improving accuracy to 1/100th of a second and in 2008 when this photo finish equipment captures 3,000 photos per second to track winners in races.

6- In 2012 FIFA approves goal line technology and amends the “laws of the game. FIFA take the decision to apply video assistant referee known as VAR in the 2018 world cup.

7- Bradford Bulls become the first team in 2010 to use GPS tracking to collect data stats on player performances in rugby.

8- In 2001 an electronic computer system is developed that tracks the trajectory of the tennis ball and displays its path as a moving 3D image. And in 2006 Haw-Eye is used in competitions and tennis players are allowed to challenge a number of decisions per set.

9- The 21st century saw the rise of wearable technology, with devices like the Fitbit and Garmin watches. These gadgets track various physical activities and vital statistics, helping athletes to monitor their performance and health.

If tech were there: How the history of the Football World Cup could have changed?

Technology are revolutionizing sports: many of wrong decisions made by referees, could have been change the history of sports like:

–  The infamous “hand of god” of Maradona in the quarter final of the world cup of 1986 against England that qualify Argentina to the semi-final and win that cup later,

– The 2009, FIFA World Cup qualifying playoff game between Ireland and France, Thierry Henry handled the ball, before setting up William Gallas, who scored to make it 2-1 (on aggregate) to France. This result meant that Ireland were knocked out, and France earned themselves a spot at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

– Frank Lampard infamous ghost goal that crossed the line against Germany in the world cup of 2010. These last two big mistakes by officials was the catalyst for change by the FIFA to adopt the goal line technology.

The main positive impacts of technology in sports.

Certainly, the integration of technology has brought about numerous positive impacts. We will specifically focus on its primary effects within the sports industry, particularly on athletes and consumers or spectators.

a- Correct decisions made by referees.

Technology significantly aids referees in making accurate decisions. In football, technological advancements have made referee rulings during matches more precise and reliable. For instance, tools like the Snickometer, which we will discuss in our next article, are now in use to help referees detect incidents that they might otherwise miss.

b- Improve the performance of players: Technology plays a crucial role by augmenting their capabilities. This is achieved through the use of high-quality equipment such as advanced footwear, superior quality balls, lightweight jerseys, and artificial turf. All these innovations contribute to improving individual player performance and fostering better teamwork.

c- Higher quality training: To optimize an athlete’s performance, the best training programs must offer high-quality facilities and conditions. Training should be specifically tailored to the individual needs of each athlete, as every athlete is unique with distinct requirements. Today, this personalization is essential. Athletes can now utilize connected devices equipped with sensors that monitor and record data on heart rate, body temperature, hydration levels, and even brain activity. This data is then analyzed by specialists to enhance and refine their training programs.

The future of technology in sports:

The evolution of sports technology is rapid and promising across various domains:

Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI will play a major role in data analysis, helping players and teams make real-time decisions and create personalized training programs.

Virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR): VR and AR will enhance training methods and boost fan engagement by bringing them closer to the game.

– Genetic testing: Athletes can benefit from genetic testing to improve their performance and personalize their training and nutrition plans.

– Smart fabrics: Scientists are developing new kinds of fabrics with sensors that can monitor key health indicators like heart rate, body temperature, and muscle activity. These smart fabrics provide real-time feedback on an athlete’s performance, helping them avoid injuries and improve training.

– Sustainability: Sports technology will focus on sustainability, prioritizing eco-friendly equipment and green, sustainable venues.

 

In most professional sports, it is widely believed that any substantial gains in the future will, to some degree, rely on technology.

 

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