Athletes are a business, and just like any business, performance and competition edge are top priorities for the health of the business. The modern athlete is a carefully crafted machine with the best technology at its disposal to improve the game and to gain a competitive edge over the competition. Training, preparation, health and hydration are all important factors for athlete performance, but technology brings an entirely different approach to the table.
Computer-aided software is used to design sports equipment. The software system uses data and virtual environment simulation to design equipment that is lighter but more efficient and faster.
Science and engineering is used to create the ideal sports equipment design. Based on the data collection and performance expectations, a prototype is created. Prototypes are armed with technology that permits engineers and scientists to observe and evaluate the overall performance and efficiency of the prototype. Software permits designers to make small changes to improve the function and performance of the specific prototype. Once the prototype is perfected, it is produced and put into the hands of athletes.
Technology has improved the very fields on which competitions are held. DOW Chemical Company created a specialized polyethylene resin acritical turf for field hockey. The turf is designed to minimize athlete injuries, improve speed on the field, maximize better ball control, and to provide stronger grip for athletes’ shoes. The goal of the turf is to improve the performance on the field and the overall experience for athletes and viewers.
Some fighters are equipped with sensors on their bodies. The sensors collect data about kick execution, punch accuracy, and the impact of a move against a component. The sensors assist with training and judging competitions, as accuracy are important for scoring and injury prevention.
Bio-analytics uses microchips to monitor an athlete’s overall health during a game. A small device is worn by athletes and it tracks all movements. The small device delivers an abundance of information. The real-time data observes accelerations and decelerations, directions, movements and frequency of actions. The data permits teams to develop workout and training strategies based on the data collected. As a result, the athlete’s training targets the most affected areas during a competition. Doing so improves targeted training and performance, and it reduces injuries by accommodating training specifics around the athlete’s individual need.
Smart suits are different for each sport. Engineers have transformed track suits and swimsuits to make them more aerodynamic. Gymnasts use special suits to monitor alignment and movements. Mimi Cesar, for example, uses a vibrating suit that uses real-time data to monitor her floor routine. The sensors in the suit create an awareness of time and space, which helps the British gymnast determine where her body is and what she needs to do to execute the perfect move. The suit vibrates when she is out of alignment and when any part of her body is beyond its desired range of motion.
Men and women have adopted many different forms of technology to improve performance. Technology simplifies training and creates a new awareness of the athlete.