The use of analytics in product development is well established, it has allowed for many important innovations from automotive safety through to the best way to hold a games consoler controller.
But I wanted to look at how analytics are developing the ways that sports technology is being developed.
One of the best developed in this space is the use of data in footwear. It has allowed for running trainers to be developed that provide the right amount of cushioning and soccer cleats (boots) to be created to increase the chances of hitting the ball in the ‘sweet spot’.
The new ball being used in both the English Premier League is the Nike Ordem, a ball that has been developed with Nike’s radar technology. Data gathered showed that having a colour scheme of white with black and blue areas helped players to pick the ball out from the bright lights, meaning better reaction times.
Even down to the kits that athletes wear, there is a use of data and technology. The shirts being worn at the world cup drew comments due to how tight they were. It was not an aesthetic choice though, this was because it allowed players to increase circulation and data showed that this not only helped with recovery times, but also with things like balance and stamina on the pitch.
The more we look at almost any sports product today, the more we see that data has been used to improve it in some way. It may not have been done through a lab, it could be down the ball being thrown around by kids in a park, the reason the ball is that shape is down to the data collected on it.