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  • Troy Flanagan

Technology and Impact

Updated: Aug 30, 2021

Looking back in sport science history, there are a number of projects that had a huge impact on performance and changed the trajectory of performance. Here are some examples of impactful work done by the sport science profession:

  • 1920's - Harvard Physiology Lab creates the method for measuring human oxygen consumption and metabolism - improves our understanding and measurement of exercise metabolism and performance

  • 1990's - Heat acclimation and performance research

  • 1990's - Biomechanical analysis (digitized) systems for tracking human motion

  • 1990's - Equipment technology arms race/Sports engineering (e.g., Aerodynamics in cycling)

  • 2000's - Live High-Train Low (altitude) research

  • Game/Match analysis software systems

  • 2010's - Microtechnology and Inertial/GPS tracking systems for tracking athletes

  • 2020's - Data Analytics

  • 2030’s - …what’s next?!

All of these technology and research innovations changed the course of the profession and had a significant impact on the way athletes were prepared and performed. Other work was done, but either didn't have as much impact or it was implemented temporarily. Technology can sometimes have a life cycle for use before everyone moves onto something else. Some scientists choose impactful areas to work on and others don't. If you want impact, you have to look at what the largest barriers are to performance and then use science and technology to solve them.

To come up with an impactful innovation you might ask:

  1. How far behind are your athletes from winning and what are the potential areas that could make up that difference?

  2. What area uses antiquated and cumbersome technology? Or no technology at all? Seems old school?

  3. What hasn’t changed much over the years?

  4. Is there a gap?

  5. What's inefficient?

Ultimately your impact comes down to the project you choose. Choose your projects wisely!


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