As the whole world moves towards the use of advanced technologies, not only in the space or military program, the idea has also spread to sports performance, at different levels.
Going digital is the key word in the future of athlete training and peak performance – the path to turning a dream into reality, like a sci-fi movie. Not only collecting athlete fitness data and workload management, but now the idea is beyond imagination.
For the first time in the world, the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) and its partners have pioneered state-of-the-art software and hardware used to create a new paradigm shift in sports science and performance.
The Digital Athlete concept is to create a foolproof system for peak performance and injury prevention through personalized and specialized fitness training protocols.
This concept is designed by involving highly specialized biomechanists, film animation specialists, exercise physiologists, sports medicine experts and other systems and technical support personnel.
Specialized state-of-the-art film scanning technologies such as MRI, 3D Axis Motion Capture, highly specialized software, etc., are used to reproduce the respective muscles, joints, bones and body contours of the individual. This technology helps understand the stresses and strains of internal tissues and joints on a given condition specific to each sport and skill. An accurate life like pattern is created through various technical inputs.
The idea is like a bio-passport or an individual biometric thumbprint system. Each athlete’s unique biographical impression would be cutting-edge information like none before.
Putting an athlete in a game situation and understanding body mechanics in various patterns and its relationship to stress and strain on muscles and joints can be accurately understood. The inferred data is highly individualistic and moves away from generalized predictions regarding injury performance.
Each athlete reacts differently to the same stimulus and the same response. The new system helps understand the nuances of body dynamics, replicating the game scenario for every athlete.
Real-time data collection is the key to knowing how joints, muscles, and the body work in a competition scenario and deriving specific data for each individual based on their sport and skill set.
For example: when an athlete is accelerating or decelerating or is involved in rotational or lateral movements, the data collected can give near-accurate inference about body position and dynamics with stress and strain at each joint involved.
As the sport evolves and progresses at a breakneck pace, athletes using cutting-edge technology carefully understand what is going on inside their bodies during a game. Each athlete is unique and the athletes compete vigorously, giving themselves the tool to better understand their bodies with real data rather than an opaque system. This specialized concept can be used for all athletes, including para-athletes and even in sports involving animals and machines. The range is huge and using it carefully with the right inference is key to the best performance.
In the future, this specialized tool can be an excellent coaching and analysis tool, precisely improving the performance of the team or an individual athlete. Training the athlete to extreme precision can be achieved through science and technology. Sticking to the basics is one thing, but the basic concept changes every day and for every athlete, depending on their position in the performance pyramid.
In the future, the refinement of technology would create an even more powerful tool for optimal performance and injury prevention.
A specialized field of research can be created to understand the physiology of athletes in motion inside their bodies, which would be a game-changer when it comes to peak performance.
With the new LTAD (long term athlete development) model in place, we in India need to consider embracing technology combined with human intervention to create medal winners in the Olympics and other sports competitions high level. Unless and until we embrace technology and put it to best use, we would wage war with sticks and stones, while others use lasers.