I wish this was the case. There are still enormous gaps in our knowledge when it comes to predicting performance. We are becoming more and more sophisticated in terms of measuring performance and analysing performance through vasts amounts of data but the complexities are overwhelming and we are not close enough to finding all our answers as yet.
Wearables is perhaps one of the hottest topics of conversation in the sports technology space. It is not a new concept by any means, but it is gathering momentum. There is plenty of offer in this space, including fitness bands, wearable GPS devices, heart rate monitors, motion monitors, other biometric monitors, smart watches. When you think about it, it is just an extension of what has become normal practice for us humans, which is integrating a smart device in our day to day routines.
To what end? There is a clear trend showing organisations with elite aspirations and the professional sports organisations committment to this technology to gain a richer view of performance, injury prevention and monitoring, through the analysis of vast amounts of data captured through these devices.
Wearables have a role to play and definitely are providing an accurate representation of athlete performance through the dynamics of training sessions and matches (when the particular sport allows such practice). Another strong segment of the market brings about alternatives to wearables when it comes to gathering this type of data. There are a number of players in the video analysis game that attempt to achieve similar data gathering results. By analysing feeds of footage captured through optical-tracking cameras, it is possible to identify and recognise speficic athlete movements by monitoring the coordinates of athletes and body parts. The raw data collected is then processed and through the relevant software processing power to derive vasts amount of performance data. This set up requires the training session or match to be captured through multiple angles and this has its own implications, but a clear benefit to this approach is the fact that it is not invasive, it doesn't require a piece of hardware connected to the body and it overcomes some of the health and safety implications of using wearables. At the same time it makes it impossible to track heart rates, which is an obvious indicator of performance and load.
Either through the use of wearables of optical-tracking, performance data is readily available. This provides an objective view of what happened and how. There is no argument about the facts. The question is what to do with this information and to a large degree, many sports data analysts are trying on a daily basis to get the answers to this question. There is tremendous insight into performance indicators and for the ones embracing this wave of knowledge and technology, there is a competitive advantage. The picture is not perfect, but the pieces are falling into place.