There’s scarcely a facet of life that hasn’t been impacted in some way by computers, and sports are no different. Virtually every aspect of sports – from how they’re played to how they’re measured, to how they’re viewed – has been forever altered by the computer age. In this article, we’ll look at 10 ways in which computers are being used in sports.
- Statistics – Sports fans love statistics. They are the common thread binding past and present together; the gauge by which we measure modern-day athletes to their forerunners. Computers give us the ability to compile vast databases of statistical information in real time, thus facilitating:
- Scouting – Today’s managers and scouts have virtually unlimited data at their fingertips with which to assess athletes. Everything from how effective a pitcher is on 3-days’ rest to the average number of fastballs he throws on a 3-2 count, can be summoned at a mouse-click.
- Equipment Design – CAD, or computer-assisted design, has led to incredible innovations in sports equipment. Helmets have become more effective in providing player protection; padding is more form-fitting and allows for greater range of motion. Club design has enhanced golfers’ performance.
- Bio-mechanics – By studying the movements of athletes via computerized simulators, manufacturers have been able to develop better training equipment; trainers are able to customize workout regimens for individual athletes, and sports medicine is more capable of assessing, and preventing, sports-related injuries.
- Performance Analysis – Another benefit of bio-mechanical studies, in that it allows players and coaches to break down the motions of an athlete – scrutinize golf swings or batting stances, for instance, in order to maximize the player’s performance.
- Simulated Games – Team and individual players stats can be used to determine probabilities in actual game situations by inputting the data into a simulator, which of course leads us to:
- Video Games – Fans of the game can manage simulated games and make managerial decisions with the same info available to the actual coaching staff. Realistic graphics and body movements are common in modern-day video games, thanks again to bio-mechanical research of the pro athletes themselves.
- Controlling Scoreboards – The pro sports venues of today are managed by a large array of computers which will update player stats, out-of-town scores, graphic displays, even weather forecasts in real time.
- Official Websites – All of your favorite teams are just a click away. You can look up stats, schedules, the latest team news, buy tickets and merchandise, all at your fingertips. Historical archives, streaming video, interviews and scheduled events are also online.
- Fantasy Leagues – Online fantasy leagues are available for fans who want to really take control of a big-league franchise, from the draft to the playoffs. With scouting reports from the pros, you can put together your own squad from the ground up and go head-to-head with fans from all over the world.
It’s hard to believe we ever managed without computers in the sports world, hen you consider that nowadays we scrutinize every nuance of an athlete’s performance, and keep stats on practically everything. For the improvements they’ve made possible in players’ performance, training; equipment, and sports medicine, computers are indeed invaluable to sports.