What is the next big thing in sports technology?

First published on the Sports Performance & Tech magazine.

In November we spoke to 8 of the top minds in sport at the Sports Performance & Tech summit. During our interviews we asked each what they believed to be the future of sports technology. In the following pages, we will show you their answers.

Blake Wooster, Co-Founder, The 21st Club:

‘Wearable technology is a big focus. Lots of brands including Google with the Glass, Adidas, Nike and Underarmor have tried to embed either chips or devices within clothing or within the equipment associated with the sport. There is even technology that an athlete can wear in their ears. Clearly there is a huge onus on that and I’m not sure if it’s a fad or a trend, it is yet to be seen. There is a huge opportunity there to understand the athlete more within the live environment to really understand the various performance measurements. I think that could be a huge opportunity if we get the technology right.'

Stafford Murray, Head of Performance Analysis, English Institute of Sport:

‘We are getting more and more data, we’re getting it quicker and we are getting it in lumps and lumps of information. The next thing for us, is how do we analyze that correctly? How do we visualize that so it makes a difference to our athletes? Having reams and reams of information doesn’t really mean anything unless it’s edible for the athlete and coach to use to change the way they perform. So regarding the future, exactly what the technology is, I don’t know, but the issue for us is how do we use that technology appropriately.

Chris White, Performance Analyst, Team Sky:

‘I don’t know if it’s the next big thing, but I think the whole notion of wearable technology and how big companies seem to be getting on board with that. With the likes of Nike and Adidas, with the amount of headspace and R&D they have will help accelerate and improve the output of them, so that is an area where technology will keep on advancing. How we use it to improve performance will be the perennial question that keeps being asked as time goes on. The best teams will use it to the best of their ability and understand how they are going to use it rather than just using technology for the sake of using it. They will have that question of how they are going to use it and what its going to give them.’

Tom Taylor, First Team Sports Scientist, West Ham United FC:

‘For me, one of the issues is how much players travel, whether that be in cars, planes, coaches, and how we can minimize the effects that travel can have. Jet lag, changes in nutrition etc, if we are able to make more use of that time then I think that’s definitely something that will transfer over to the pitch’

Graeme Stewart, Triathlon Scotland Coach of the year 2014:

‘I think we will see a more individualized approach to training and nutrition, where we can start to look at individuals and ask ‘what’s their requirement?’. We will be able to deliver precise training and the precise nutrition that’s needed by that individual.’

Neil Black, Performance Director, British Athletics:

‘I come from the world of track and field and we’re very simple in track and field. We are just exploring data in terms of its potential. So I can’t give you one thing in terms of technology, but what I can say is that the effective use of technologies in combination, relative to that individual, that event, that sport, used in a way that is clearly linked with the critical determinants, will undoubtedly be the next big thing in sport.’

Wayne Diesel, Head Of Medical, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club:

‘I think we are in it with analytics. I’ve always said that I think if you go in to the majority of sports clubs or the things where they have multi-disciplinaries working, you will find that the medics have their own database, with their set of injuries and records, on one filing system and one database. Then the sports scientists will have their own set of databases, spreadsheets and everything else. Therefore, you have all this data, but there are so many different areas that aren’t talking to each other. It is that linked thinking, the joining up of all of these things.’

Chris Furber, National Performance Director, British Swimming:

‘The ability to amalgamate information from different platforms is vital. To have a dashboard where you are able to pull in your GPS data, heart rate data, power and being able to combine that all in one space is amazing. I wonder whether ultimately we’ll be working to the point where we’re almost injecting a chip into our athletes which would record all of their biometrics and feeds it back so there is nothing that they’re wearing that’s giving us that information.’


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