In pro sports, #wearabletech is already mainstream
In professional sports, wearable tech has definitely arrived. As they step on to the soccer field, the 2012 Olympic Gold winning US Women’s National Soccer team are bristling with technology – tracking heart-rate and even their position on the field thanks to GPS.
Speaking at the FAST conference in Los Angeles, US Soccer Federation and Women’s National Soccer Team Fitness Coach Dawn Scott – aka a Sports Scientist – explained how she is monitoring more than 20 different variables of player health and fitness during training camps ahead of international matches – from the minute they are awake.
“I get an email immediately if they’re dehydrated following their morning ‘pee’ test,” explained Scott. She also tracks player performance on and off the pitch, with players even monitored at home. “The players are open and receptive to the technology helping them to improve their performance,” she added.
The players crave access to personalized stats such as the total distance they can in a season, or an 11-game average of high-intensity running above 18km/h, as they strive to improve their performance.
According to Scott, this is not technology for the sake of it. “The key considerations of what I’m looking for from tech are the key indicators of performance, what can we affect,” she said. “What can we measure – the cost and ease of transportation for equipment is important, as is the reliability of the system – how accurate is the GPS, is it measuring what it says it is measuring.”
So just how do the soccer players respond to the technology? “The athletes also need something that is non-invasive. The want to train but not be invaded all the time, so it’s important to use non-invasive technology,” explained Scott. While the coach herself needs: “Something that is accurate and can do fast analysis.”
As for the future without WT? According to Scott: “If you don’t use tech then you will get left behind.”