In this digital age, football has started to embrace new trends as it works to remain modern and exciting for fans. But how far has technology actually gone to affect training and preparations for the real games?
A lot of technology has been used by the teams in the Premier League to improve performances and results. Some of the technologies that are proving most effective are discussed below:
Ever wondered what the Black bras are that players wear during certain games? They’re known commonly as GPS Vests, and they are used to track player performances. Theses vests carry a small device that can track attributes like player speed, distance covered, acceleration, heart enhance, risk of injury, and plenty of other data. The data is then analysed to avoid injuries and improve player performances through various physical aspects of the game.
All teams in the Premier League, and a few in the championship, have been using this technology. What unites them, is that they all speak positively of the technology. Even though teams are now permitted to wear the GPS trackers during games, not all teams do on a weekly basis (Swansea City being the only exception). Data collection has helped many teams improve in the way they train, letting teams have optimum performance from players during match days, with lower chances of injury caused by fatigue.
A state of the art technological advancement that has boosted many teams and their performances. Footbonaut is a 4 sided ball feeding machine that helps increase ball control, passing accuracy, and peripheral vision.
The Footbonaut 360s, that was first adopted by Borussia Dortmund and Benfica, now has an increasing popularity among top European clubs. Liverpool are the top users in the Premier League.
A lot of us remember the controversially disallowed goal England ‘scored’ against Germany. It wasn’t just Frank Lampard who was annoyed about the decision, UEFA was too. Even though linesmen are present right next to goals for decision making, it’s a job that isn’t necessarily as easy as it seems. The decisions made are based on what happens in a fraction of a second and can be as close as few millimetres, not to mention the noise and chaos already present in the stadium.
Goal line technology is reliant on Hawk Eye, that has enabled referees to ‘see’ better on whether or not the ball has completely crossed the line. Similarly to technologies used in Tennis and Cricket, Hawk eye is a method of tracking a trajectory, and then visually representing the path of the moving ball. It has helped in a lot of goal line decisions and hopefully will continue to do so in the years to come.
Although controversial, one cannot deny the obvious advantages of Video assistant referees (VARs). Quite a few decisions have been reversed and corrected during the Confederations Cup in Russia, and all rightly so.
VAR tries it’s best to give the right decision by looking through replays of the game at hand, whilst also avoiding much interference in the flow of play. For now, the technology is only used for decisions that relate to validity of goals, thus minimising time wastage and avoiding regular breaks. Slowly but steadily, however, VAR is becoming a bigger part of the game and the decisions that go with it. A stride that may be difficult to adjust to, but one that could be the solution to all controversial goals.
Although not used a lot, drones are said to be used in the premier league. Managers have adopted this new technology in order to get better visuals on player performances. Drones record visuals from aerial positions to help players analyse mistakes in their positioning in formation among other valuable insights.
Research shows that a healthy sleep cycle improves performance and recovery, as well as providing many other benefits for athletes.
Week on week, players are completing a full 90 minutes of football, which requires them to have a healthy sleep cycle. Devices, such as the Fatigue Science Readiband, are tied around player’s wrists to provide accurate sleep detection and fatigue tracking. The band also generates a real-time mental and predictive score that displays data up to 18-hours in advance. These analytics help the coaches understand player fitness levels and what training and/or sleep goals they much achieve.
Additionally a lot of the clubs have installed sleep pods at their training grounds. These are literally just a door and a room with a bed in it. However, these pods help players attain peace and quite, allowing them to take naps before and after training. All these naps benefit the players greatly in fatigue recovery.
Teams are increasingly relying on gaming software, like Football Manager, to track players and their performances for recruitment. The gaming company employs a network of over 1,300 knowledgeable scouts that assess players performances in 51 countries. In order to minimise any sort of error in evaluation, softwares such as Prozone Recruiter are used.
The art of finding talented new players is still very difficult. With the introduction of data scouting and using Football Manager, however, clubs have a database of new and younger players for to recruit, and an analysis source for opponents.
The Game is believed to be so accurate, that clubs rely on the data when looking for new young signings. Clubs that do not use the game data when making new signings have actually been proved to be at a disadvantage!
Numerous top Premier League, Championship, and European teams are currently using Football Manager data to scout young talent. Is this the key secret to building an unstoppable team?
Technological advancements in sport is inevitable, and anyone not using technology seems to be missing out. Clubs, coaches, players, and even fans, are all using technology to get higher accessibility and performances during games. Technology and sport definitely have a future together. It will be interesting to see how newer technologies complement athletes and the sports themselves.