Written by Daniel Funston • Published 18th August 2020 • 3 minute read
From the ‘Fosbury Flop’ to the Cristiano Ronaldo ‘Knuckleball’ free kick, groundbreaking techniques have wowed fans and television audiences throughout the ages. But innovation off the pitch arguably plays an even more important role in the progression of athlete performance, with the development of state-of-the-art sports tech fundamental to this. In fact, in these uncertain times the application of creative, technological solutions is more important than ever in allowing sports organizations, clubs and individual athletes to navigate the challenges presented by Covid-19 and helping them to continue breaking boundaries, advancing new techniques and enhancing performance. Here, we take a look at five sports tech brands doing just that.
Catapult Sports specializes in sports tech solutions which allow coaches and sports scientists to analyze training and match performance, scout potential recruits and opponents and to manage athlete training and workload. Formed in Melbourne in 2006, this sports tech brand boasts almost 3,000 clients, including 150 sports federations, in more than 40 professional sports. Its signature product, the Vector, fits seamlessly into a sports jersey and provides real-time tracking and sport specific insights, whilst Catapult also provides a full suite of solutions which includes video analysis and athlete management platforms. They’ve even created a solution specifically for these current pandemic-disrupted times, “The Proximity Report”, which allows teams – such as Newcastle United, reports Forbes – to monitor how long players are spending in close contact with each other during training, to reduce the risk of transmission.
Zone7 is an AI-driven, injury prevention platform which connects to game day, training, medical and performance assessment data and then highlights patterns within that data which suggest risk of injury. The product essentially works as an early warning system to allow elite coaches to manage the training loads of their athletes, preventing injury and enhancing output. Backed by former Barcelona, Manchester United and Netherlands international footballer Jordi Cruyff – son of the legendary Johan – the platform has recently attracted attention in the likes of the Daily Telegraph and BBC Sport for its work with the Premier League in establishing the increased risk of injury during ‘Project Restart’.
Veo provides both professional and grassroots sports teams with the technology to record and analyze a game without the need for a camera operator. The camera, which syncs to your smartphone, records 180° and uses AI technology to create a fully watchable video upload which follows the action on the pitch. Using its platform, coaches, parents and individual athletes can cut their own video analysis and match highlights to assess and improve performance. With a move into live-streaming an option, according to a recent feature in Forbes, Veo’s priority for now is to bring its affordable technology to as many grassroots clubs and players as it can.
StatsBomb are leaders in the world of football data collection and analytics, working with professional football leagues across the globe, including the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga and the Bundesliga. They provide their partners with scouting reports on coveted players, analysis on set piece plays and assessments on the performance of current players. They also provide visual insights for media and fan engagement platforms, as well as predictive modelling for the gambling industry. With restrictions still currently in place on the number of people allowed in stadiums, as well as international travel, StatsBomb has been able to market itself as the perfect solution for club scouts and player recruiters, as reported by The Times last month.
Galway-based Orreco is a bio-analytics provider combining sport science and AI technology to allow athletes and clubs to make data-based decisions to reduce the risk of injury and illness, accelerate recovery and optimize performance. Its most recent development is its @thlete app, a smartphone tool which enables athletes to sync their performance data, playing schedule, travel plans and sleep data before producing actionable insights in areas such as nutrition and recovery. Orreco have also launched a Covid-19 symptom tracker, which allows performance staff to track the health of athletes.
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