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How technology can track progress in sports…

January 6th 2019

The tracker. The GPS tracker. It has become the base of modern tracking technology. It starts the intricate process of monitoring and measuring human body and athlete performance. It gives you crucial information about two main metrics: distance and time.

Time is the basis of everything. It might be as simple as this: if your time is faster, your fitness has improved, your actual performance is better. Every coach knows that time is crucial and it is building your training strategy around it is a very effective tool. It’s simple and effective but unfortunately, it has limits.

Problem with time in professional sports is that you improve it until you hit the wall where your progress is no longer and you can’t do any better. You have to try finding other methods to improve your training and seek progress and not only simply rely on how long but also how. You start changing your practices and you start measuring not only time but also the combination of time and distance between points. In a natural way, you have to start using stats that give you the idea of your progress — speed, distance covered, sprints and a number of accelerations and decelerations to name few.

Then you try extending the core stats and reach for some more. Calculations can be extended with the next set of metrics within distance and time — metabolic metrics. What happens here is the calculation of energy expenditure during moves, drills and running. We can monitor power, metabolic load or energy stats to check how intensive training or game was and how training recovery will progress.

All of this comes from one device — which can be placed in the shoe, in the vest at the back or put into the football sock — the tracker (or pod).

Our options increase when we add more devices. Imagine you have a wristwatch that can monitor your pulse. That opens another array of possibilities monitoring heartbeats per minute, athletic zones, stress load and many others.

Additionally, we can have a set of cameras around the pitch for even more drill down statistics. Imagine, you watch player’s behaviour very closely and map this data to AI component in your software where a machine will learn over time to compare players between each other, point out their weak points and apply solution for further improvement and development. Everything put together will give you complete setup for player monitoring.

Like any stats it would come to nothing without proper analysis and here comes the most powerful person in modern football — sports scientist.

Sports scientists are responsible for 4 main pillars of data analysis and player improvement: wellness, health, workload, performance.

Wellness is responsible for overall readiness. We analyze it to track sleep patterns, stress modes, fatigue and mood during days with and without training. The right analysis can greatly increase chances of injury prevention.

Health can track player injuries and manage all medical data delivered by a physiotherapist. Imagine that it can be stored on the blockchain so its reliability increases.

Workload kicks in when we monitor whether athletes are overtrained or overloaded. All athletes that train intensively balance on the thin line between injury and peak performance. Workload keeps the balance in training and makes sure you don’t train too much for disappointing performance or even injury. There are few metrics that can monitor this and they all base on actual right LOAD of training.

Progress & performance allows, on the other hand, to keep track of your results and compare them in the future. Our AI solution learns from your past performance and how you train now and gives you indication of how to train in order to get future improved results. It helps to plan for future training cycles and motivate athletes to extra hard work.

In general, everything counts towards athlete development. Hardware makes the right measurements but it is data analysis that counts the most. Statistical data and future projections serve the best way for sports scientists to develop the best plans that fit the right sports development.

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