By: Dan Gould & Cliff Mallett
Originally Published in: Sport Coaches' Handbook
Provided by: Human Kinetics
In the past decade, as easy access to networked digital devices has exploded, technology use in sport has proliferated, especially for the purposes of sensing, communicating, and analyzing data. Advanced design and miniaturization have led to the development of microsensors, communication methods, and processors that give coaches powerful new ways to collect training and competition data, analyze it, and provide feedback. Some emerging technology even uses algorithms that can identify training and technical strategies to enhance performance. This type of technology is relatively inexpensive, generally noninvasive for the athlete or team, and useful in providing immediate feedback to the athlete or coach.
Recent years have also brought the development of numerous apps designed to help coaches and players plan and manage training and performance. These programs, which are inexpensive and can be easily downloaded to computers and mobile devices, address many areas of coaching. Examples include TeamSnap and Teamstuff for administration, planning, and communication; Hudl, Coach's Eye, Sports Clip Maker, and Excelade for video performance analysis; TrainingLoad and AthleteMonitoring for fitness and nutrition; and Headspace, Lucid, and SportPsych Performance Coach for psychological aspects.
Advances in digital technology - including both software (apps) and hardware (e.g., sensors, GPS units, high-definition cameras) are available to coaches and players in both performance and participation settings. With options ranging from inexpensive apps to high-cost performance-oriented technology, coaches can select from a range of tools to suit their budget and their program. In all cases, technology should be used judiciously. Although technological advancement has enabled more evidence-based coaching and training, it has its own limitations and comes with the potential to overburden a coach or coaching staff. Therefore, like any other resource, technology should be incorporated into the planning process, not only to ensure that its use provides a clear benefit but also to account for the costs in terms of financial and human resources.