As technology has advanced and developed over the years so has its effect on how athletes train for their chosen sports. Equipment that was once only available to elite sporting organizations can now be worn on the wrist of a morning jogger. Technology has revolutionized the way athletes train and even changed how sports are played.
The most important technological development in recent years is how the performance of athletes is monitored. Every aspect of their fitness regime is imputed into a computer for detailed analysis. Sports scientist Gary McCory speaking on Athletic Business believes that this data tracking is invaluable to athletes, comparing it to driving a Formula One vehicle without a dashboard. He states that technology can now be fitted to the jersey or undergarment of an athlete to receive real time data during training and active competition.
Soccer is one of the sports that has seen great developments in technologies aiding player performances. Soccer news website Betfair published an article by Stephen Tudor focusing on maintaining peak fitness in football, which stated that players are now fitted with GPS devices during their pre season. Managers can now know whether a player is at his or her peak of fitness and where more work needs to be done.
Another aspect that has changed the sport is the relationship between sport scientists and players who now have a much closer connection. Betfair reports that at some clubs players tell their sports scientists how they feel every morning immediately after they get up. The earlier comparison to a Formula One car can be applied here as athletes can now be fine-tuned to perfection.
The equipment athletes use has also developed vastly in recent years. Live Strong reports that “every piece of equipment for every sport has undergone technological advancements.” The site writes that this applies to everything from baseball bats to protective equipment. For athletes the development of shoe technology has been one of the greatest leaps forward. Each sport has a specific shoe with its own requirements such as running shoes that can change depending on whether you are a sprinter or a long distance marathon runner.
Technology is also becoming more prevalent in the refereeing of sports, taking away much of the human error aspect. Business advice site Leoisaac states that computer programs such as Hawkeye, which is used in tennis and cricket, have both increased the accuracy of refereeing decisions and improved spectators’ knowledge and involvement.
There is a debate that too much technology in sport is also destroying the ethos of competition. Sport Industry Group suggest that the advancements in technology have created a level of unfairness with athletes who have access to the latest developments having an advantage. They suggest that sporting bodies such as those in cycling are trying to find loopholes that will give their athletes an edge over the other competitors. This can put less of an emphasis on achieving physical fitness and more on the amount of money that is willing to be invested.
Sport will always continue to develop new technologies and progress to enhance an athlete’s training. Every year a new development is discovered and applied. How athletes train has changed forever and some argue that it is becoming less about the person and more about the machine.