Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.
-William Arthur Ward
Records crumble every day, arguably most often in the sports world. Artificial intelligence is paving way for us to catch up to those sports records faster than human intelligence is. Remember Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill) in Moneyball? If you thought he was a genius, imagine the power of a superintelligent layer that can show all possible permutations and combinations to make a team win.
But a sport is not just a numbers game; it is also an emotional one — and a lot of hard work. And technology adds a layer on top of that, assisting teams and players to become truly exceptional.
Data and Analytics: The sports industry is sitting on a lot of raw data — including video footage. Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI) allows teams to strategize better with that data. This includes data of teams they are playing against, field conditions, weather predictions and individual player performance. A team combination success rate can also be analyzed and processed at a faster rate within the sample data to strategize better for each situation. Rules and formulas can be set to fetch data for any instance which helps teams plan better.
Real-time data analysis can also be used to re-strategize on the fly. Most sports already do real-time data analysis and coaches often make changes between each quarter/break of the game. You can see sports like football, basketball, baseball, rugby, and cricket doing this already. Data analysis helps players improve their own knowledge of the game as well. It gives them numbers to work with on areas for improvement and helps them train better.
Training: Aside from sleeping, players and teams spend most of their days on the field and in the gym for training. Training includes both mental and physical strengthening. Physical training is usually aimed at improving weak areas and enhancing strong ones. Mental training will strengthen psychological stability. Players who have psychological disadvantages against certain players, teams, and fields can work on those disadvantages with training to overcome those hurdles.
Artificial intelligence can even help simulate training sessions. This includes simulated events to understand how teams and players strategize according to each condition and situation. Coaches and their crew can figure out each player’s operational capacity and bring different perspectives into account. This training method will improve each player’s performance and optimize the outcome.
Wearables: Wearables and tracking systems contribute to the data being collected during matches and training sessions. They provide further data to help the players and more data for ANI to leverage. Wearables also give more objective analyses including the athletic performance, like angle off of a bat swing. And wearables don’t stop at the Apple Watch and Fitbit: read more on the impact of wearable tech & VR in the sports industry.
Fan engagement: Sports fans are truly fanatic when it comes to their teams. They travel across oceans to support them. However, many do become choosy when it comes to picking specific players and creating team combinations. This data can be used by teams to strategize their marketing campaigns for better fan engagement on the team’s mobile app, website and other channels of engagement. Taking wearables into account, players and teams can also strategize to better engage with their fans.
Artificial intelligence in sports allows players, coaches, and fans to make educated decisions based on multi-level analyses that pulls upon a number of factors. Taking into account the ambiguity of human brains, the future of sports is going to be a spectacular display of athleticism.
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