The use of applied technology within the sport (or any sport) has given rise to a novel definition of football. One which is ever so reliant on data to perfect the game rather than bank on the intuition of the athlete – the very factor that made us fall in love with the game – and by us I am referring to those who followed the game prior to all this tech pizazz.
While I am not discounting the powers and the insights that big data could provide to an athlete or a team, I do question the statement – “Knowledge, is power”. Leading to the question what if our desire to make decisions on data will actually hold us back? Will this affect our ability to make a decision on the fly and learn from the mistakes that come there forth? Luckily, as the game is played today, we still see the importance of developed skill, individual talents and decision making over data signifying a specific player prefers his left foot or a team always falls under pressure at the 80th minute.
Which brings me to something that I came across on funding platform – Kickstarter. The The InsideCoach Smart Ball with interactive functions that would help a footballer (believe geared towards children) become better …. footballers. Like any regular ball, it’s nothing apart from the ordinary in terms of how it feels or weighs. The only difference is that it has technology embedded inside the ball that captures data such as the power of your kick, amount of spin, distance, number of passes, touches, etc.
The real-time data is saved and simultaneously uploaded into a cloud with the ability to access the information on a branded mobile app. All this information can be shared socially with friends and families.
The intention of the makers is to help players refine in on and improve their skills with coaching nods and how to videos, based on the data collected while keeping track of the progress.
One could compare this with the Adidas micoach smart ball, launched in 2014, which sort of provides similar data but is limited in its usability. The Adidas micoach ball sells for ~ $200. Whereas the InsideCoach has a usability superior to that of its competition, the ball will retail for $185 once it hits the stores. However, if you were interested in getting your hands on one right now, helping them in their KickStarter campaign will provide get you the ball for $99.00.
Another potential initiative that could shape up the future of the sport with aspirations of reaching great heights. However, in an environment where every click kick brings about the assurance of a new finding, the future of the game could make us all data addicts.
The challenge would then fall in distinguishing between talent that rises from intuition or that which was only realized because of data.