Tablets in sport have been big news this year, but the Lance Armstrong and members of the Jamaican sprinting team cases are neither here nor there as we take a look at the other form of tablets enhancing an athlete’s performance.
For a number of years now, they have been sneaking into games across the world. But 2013 saw the use of tablets reach epidemic levels. Of course, we aren’t talking about oxilofrine or erythropoietin, but the likes of the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 and Apple iPad.
And it seems to be working. We are currently entering a golden age in technology, with more advanced products than ever before available on the market. The high-powered processors and high definition graphics of today can comfortably cope with live streaming, alongside a whole range of analysis programs.
The NBA is just one organisation that have embraced technology, signing a $100 million deal with Samsung to bring technology courtside. The three-year deal with the Korean tech giants will provide the basketball league with monitors for officials, on top of team coaches and backroom staff play-making tablets. Teams in the NFL have already been reaping the benefits of the tech since the beginning of the last campaign.
The Denver Broncos swapped their chunky playbooks for iPads back in the off-season of 2012, and they’ve stormed the NFC this season scoring the most points, touchdowns and first downs in NFL history. That’s not to mention the revival of 37-year-old quarterback Peyton Manning, who finished the season with a record-breaking 55 touchdown passes.
The way the Broncos have adopted the iPad is something to be admired. A photograph of Manning went viral towards the end of the regular season with the former Colt wearing a helmet and studying an iPad whilst icing his ankle in a cold tub. And however wacky that may look, it goes to show the impact technology has had on training.
Having to sit out of practice with an injured ankle, the Sheriff kept his helmet on to listen to play calls from Offensive Coordinator Adam Gase, whilst watching the game tape from his iPad, allowing him to mentally participate and prepare for the next game.
But while the tablet is making headway in practice, it’s also making its way onto the sidelines. Teams in both the NBA and NFL have ditched the hundreds of pages that make up a playbook for iPads that now not only include the plays, but diagrams, videos and analysis that can be viewed whenever, wherever.
The Baltimore Ravens used the digital playbook to mastermind a victory over the 49ers in Super Bowl 47, and the Broncos are well on course to do the same.
However, significance of the tablet doesn’t just lie in professional sport. With thousands of apps readily available to download, amateur athletes and hobbyists can also benefit from the technology. Apps such as Coaches Eye are regularly used by coaches for local sports teams, and priced at only a couple of pounds it can be a worthwhile investment. Similarly, other titles such as Spuddy and the Freebets Logo Quiz helps sports enthusiasts with everything from finding a sports buddy to putting their sporting knowledge to the test.
It’s expected that NBA teams will see major changes to how they operate with the introduction of technology and it’s likely that tablets, already being used in the NHL, MLB and MLS will continue to make their way into other sports at the highest level around the world.