Will “Smart Sports” gear ruin the game?

In any sport, there is always room for improvement. Because we all want to be better, we go looking for the magic cure for our hook, slice, gutter, foul or lag. Books and seminars and videos and gadgets have been always been available, so it was inevitable that the remedy would eventually come from the digital world. Well, we are there with ‘Smart’ Sports Gear.

Smart football

This gear claims it can provide technical feedback for specific problems. This goes beyond tracking basic metrics, like calories burned or steps taken. These devices claim to give you more detailed insights about your form and performance by utilizing imbedded or clip-on sensor that work with a smartphone. The app tracks your progress and reports how well you’re improving.

High tech sports gear across the field.

This is available for every sport. There are devices to track your golf swing, running efficiency, tennis form, basketball action – down to the number fo dribbles, action and points scored. Where this is all well and good for the average enthusiast, what does this potentially mean for the professional arena?

Over the holiday season, the “big games” are playing out on the screen for us to enjoy. We all have our favorites and we take great pride in our dedication to supporting “our team.” With the advent of high tech monitoring and performance evaluations, are we taking the intuitive talent out of the sport?

In the halls of the professional football practice facilities, players can be seen carrying tablets as part of their weekly football practice instead of the standard playbook. But it’s more than that. With the use of ball tracking chips, smart shoes to track and evaluate running performance, digital evaluation of body movement and enhanced uniform design and helmet integration, it seems like we are taking the instinct out of the game and putting in the hands of the computers.

And they have. One team programmed a computer to track football passing plays, learn from them, and create new ones. And it isn’t just the players. Stadiums themselves have evolved to a hyper evaluating level. The new Chargers stadium in Los Angeles will be the highest tech arena in the world. The cost of the stadium project was originally estimated to be approximately $2.66 billion upon the commencement of construction is now almost $5 billion! Making it one of the most expensive, and high tech, sports venues ever built.

So, where does that lead? Will “smart” gear eventually culminate in “smart” players, more machine and technology than talent and strength? Only the future will tell. In he meantime, mom can buy her kids smart shoes, bats, balls, watches, trainers and equipment of all kinds to perfect their game to fit into whatever that future may be.

Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the game. It may be a very different experience in seasons to come!

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