(Newswire.net — February 24, 2016) — Sports and technology have always been curiously intertwined. In fact, it’s fairly difficult to separate the two. However, over the past decade, we’ve seen this relationship become even closer – both on an amateur and professional level. And when you look towards the future, it’s clear that we’ve only just begun to tap into the potential of various technologies.
The Evolving Role of Technology in Sports
While some are just now realizing it, the sports we know and love have been changing over the past few years. This is particularly true when you look at professional leagues like the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Premier League. But are these changes good or bad for the sport? That’s a question we’ll likely debate for decades to come.
Nonetheless, it’s important to take a look at what’s happening and what changes are being produced in order to gain a better understanding of where we are and where we’re headed. Here are a few technological developments to keep an eye on:
1. Receiver Gloves
Have you seen some of the ridiculous catches football players are making on the college and professional levels? While you may want to believe athletic abilities are improving, the reality is that today’s athletes have access to better technology. In particular, new gloves have made catching the ball easier than ever.
These gloves feature materials that make it easy to grip and grab balls without dropping them. They make it so easy, in fact, that the NFL may have to reconsider which gloves are allowed.
“I think it’s time to go back and look at the gloves and see if, with what’s going on here with sports science in the past 10 years, if there isn’t too much of an advantage being gained,” says Rich McKay, Competition Committee chairman.
2. Specialized Footwear
It’s not just gloves that are changing, though. In soccer, specialized cleats and shoes are also gaining popularity. For example, there are now cleats designed for soft ground, artificial grass, indoor turf, and everything in between. Each type has slight nuances and variances that make them ideal for different conditions. As a result, injury rates are diminishing and the game is becoming safer for players and their ankles.
3. Instant Replay Systems
If there’s one technology that’s drastically improved American professional and collegiate sports for the better, it’s instant replay. Whereas games were once decided on split-second judgment calls by referees and umpires, most leagues now have an instant replay system that allows calls to be challenged and reviewed via video technology. While instant replay systems do extend the length of play, coaches, players, fans, and referees unanimously approve the technology.
Sensory technology is leveraged across many different industries, including in professional sports. Many technology companies are investing in sensor technology that can be incorporated into sports equipment such as football helmets, baseball bats, and compression shorts to produce better insights into what’s happening during the competition.
These results can then by synced to mobile apps and devices for real time insights into what’s happening. But it’s not just professionals using these technologies. It’s not uncommon to see amateurs and kids leverage sensor technology these days. Will this suck the fun out of playing sports? That remains to be seen.
The Future of Sports
It’s difficult to know exactly where various sports are headed in the future, but it’s clear that technology will play an important role moving forward. From different cleats and gloves to mobile apps and sensors, technology and athletic competition will forever share an inseparable connection. The only question is whether this connection will be a positive or negative one. In most cases, it appears to be a strong and healthy bond.