Big Data And Sports: A Match Made In Heaven

In a way, athletes have been using data to analyse performance for a long time now. Using stopwatches to time themselves is a form of data that can be used to measure results.

These days, things like accelerometers, magnetometers and gyroscopes are used instead. Devices like these can record data such as speed, power, temperature, ground contact, cadence and vertical oscillation. And that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Loads of data can be recorded, but what happens with all of that data?

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Lately, many coaches have been using the principles from Big Data and the Internet of Things to remotely tailor a routine and culture of training.

In this article, we will take a deeper look into how Big Data has transformed how coaches and athletic trainers can get the most out of their athletes with some examples.

Injury and illness prevention

Besides using data to help understand how to maximize an athlete’s performance, it can also be used effectively to prevent injuries and illnesses.

Software companies like Ludum are seeing reductions in injuries from their clients based on the decisions coaches are able to make based on solid data.

This goes far beyond what people usually do to reduce injuries from working out. Training at the right intensity level is something that can only be done when the data bears out the results from different training methods.

Live data from the field

It used to be that all data had to be recorded during workouts or post game with monitors. Then later, the data could be analyzed.

Now it is possible for data to be recorded and analyzed not only immediately, but during the actual game or performance.

RFID tags are attached to equipment, balls and players to send data in real time.

Improved recruitment decisions

Big Data algorithms have a good chance of predicting future success of some athletes. Even athletes that may have serious injuries are being predicted by the use of these algorithms.

Pursuing a player from another professional team, or trying to decide if an amateur will have what it takes to succeed at a high level is much easier to determine when there is the right data to analyse.

Great for fans

When coaches and athletic trainers can maximize performance in their athletes, then that provides a much more enjoyable fan experience. But the fans don’t just win there.

Big data is being used to improve the fan experience in many different ways. From using the Internet of Things to help fans know ahead of time how many parking spots are left in the garage to which seats see the most home runs balls getting caught, fans can plan ahead to get the most out of the money they spend to see a game.

If they are watching from home, then much of the data can be shown in real time. Some examples include how fast a player was running, to how far a ball was kicked can be shown immediately and this keeps the fan’s interest as they watch.


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