Big Data to improve sports performance

Big Data can greatly improve sports performance. An innovative and fascinating approach, able to merge technology, qualitative analysis and entertainment, with the aim of enriching the sports experience. This is the application of Big Data in professional sport, a new frontier and form of relationship through the implementation of a specific model: and it’s data-driven. In detail, this is the setting of a strategy starting from the statistical analysis of data from various sources, allowing both planning and monitoring of the objectives, providing the professional athlete the opportunity to live experiences as exclusive as they are immersive.

A complete process, managed in a unitary and highly integrated way. Synthesizing: technology and digital innovation at the service of sport 4.0, through use which is increasingly frequent - of Big Data in athletic performance. Training is hyper-customised according to the physiological structure of the athlete and the possibilities of results linked to different strategies are studied. With what result? The analysis and processing of the amount of data represents an advantage not only in terms of performance, but above all in terms of competitiveness.

Big data and sport, a winning combination

Passes completed, bounces conquered, yards raced, touch downs won. It’s about splitting every single action of every single sport to transform it into numbers and statistics to be analysed. Big data analytics, or the process of collecting and analysing large amounts of data to extract information. And it is thanks to the use of innovative tools made available by technology that clubs and coaches are able to examine the results of their athletes and opponents (studying any counter moves to be applied), improving the planning of already specific training.
The opportunity to opt not so much for the best athlete as for the right athlete, therefore, the professional who needs to be deployed in a given context and time, can prove to be a decisive aspect. Furthermore, channelling data and analyses on the performance of athletes makes it possible to have detailed arguments at the bargaining stage for the purchase or transfer of professionals. At the same time, thanks to the application of Big Data in sports performance, the athlete can understand which are the characteristics that must be improved to complete.

Big data and IoT at the service of sport

Artificial intelligence and machine learning (a data analysis method capable of automating the construction of analytical models) allows professional athletes and technical staff to go beyond the "simple" description of performance in the field, thanks to predictive analysis and detailed suggestions that allow the optimisation of a strategy or a technical gesture. Is Big Data and sport a new combination? Not really. Rather, it has acquired particular appeal after the success of the film Moneyball (2011) starring Brad Pitt. The film is based on Michael Lewis' book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game (2003), in which the author tells the real story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team and its general manager Billy Beane. In order to deal with budget problems, he found the opportunity - through algorithms based on statistical procedures - to hire players that were useful to the cause of the club, taking the team to the top of the play-offs.
It goes without saying that more and more professional sports clubs are studying numbers, real-time action, game details, strengths and weaknesses of opponents. Not only Big Data in athletic performance, the IoT also opens up interesting scenarios. Wearable and Internet of Things: sport becomes hi-tech and wearables for sport become a valid support to monitor the health of the athlete, as well as their physical condition during performance or their state of hydration or fatigue. Each action can correspond to the detection of useful data.

Sport analytics, the science of data

Professional clubs, prestigious tournaments and an increasing number of sports leagues are using Big Data, using information, collected through ICT giants, as a useful tool to study and improve performance. Thanks to new technologies, the British rugby team Leicester Tigers, founded in 1880, uses an innovative system that can manage data regarding the athletic progress of players, research and development aptitude, performance evaluation, prevention of unknowns and optimisation of tactics to be applied.

Big Data in tennis: the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments, the Australian Open was one of the forerunners, ranging from the installation of multimedia kiosks, touch screens and interactive totems to the application of social listening and sentiment analysis, to "study" the emotions and reactions aroused by the players with respect to fans and professionals.

From Europe to the United States, where the National Football League focuses on the machine learning model: through the use of electronic labels for radio frequency identification - applied to the shoulders of athletes, but not only this - you can measure speed, distance travelled, acceleration and deceleration of each player. In baseball, on the other hand, the f/x pitch system is already widely used, which tracks and records, with extreme precision, a series of data (such as the trajectory and speed of the balls thrown). So what does the future look like? A virtual coach that is less attentive to what happens on the field - and certainly not inclined to manage the emotional pressure of a game - and much more focused on data and numbers, providing basic strategic guidance to analysts who are able to "read" what happens on the field.

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