Information Techniques to Recognize Soccer Player Performance through Wearable Technology
The evolution of the internet and the development of wireless internet connectivity resulted in the introduction of mobile phone technology for communication purposes. Wearable technology provides a technique for easy and systematic monitoring of players to identify the approaches that coaches and the team doctors in soccer can introduce to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of professional and amateur soccer athletes. In soccer, wearable technology has made it possible for wearable technology to operate like integrated sensors in shoes to sync training information to an application that helps in the development of an understanding of the areas that need progression and overall improve on the performance of the players.
Keywords: Wearable technology, training, performance, fitness, health
Technological innovations and the need to ensure constant monitoring of soccer athletes on matter related to their levels of fitness, health standards, and the ability to operate in different environmental conditions necessitated the development of wearable technology. Wearable technology provides a technique for easy and systematic monitoring of players to identify the approaches that coaches and the team doctors in soccer can introduce to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of professional and amateur soccer athletes.
This research paper endeavors to provide an in-depth study of different ways through which warble technologies provide the stakeholders in soccer with the most appropriate information to support the decision they make concerning players and training techniques to use. This will be through an in-depth literature review process that aims at developing an understanding on existing information on the subject matter and identify possible areas for further studies. A process of collecting primary data through different data collection processes will follow this. The data gathered will be analyzed and interpreted in relation to the research question.
The study will focus on all wearable technologies that are applicable in soccer. This will be in relation to the desire of assessing the levels of efficiency of different wearable technologies within the sport. In addition, the study will also focus on the modes and circumstances of using wearable technology to realize the objectives of training events within soccer. The findings of this study will be in line with the requirements of the curriculum, which argue for the development of relevant technology in different disciplines. The study will operate on the understanding that wearable technology has been used in different fields such as health. However, its popularity and further developments have been realized since its introduction in sports. The need for lighter and highly effective technology characterized its development in soccer.
A systematic approach to project management characterized the development of this project. the realization that wearable technology in soccer forms an essential part off training and fitness analysis led to the development of a baseline understanding of the essence of technology. Existing literature served the purpose of providing additional information on the evolution of wearable technology in terms of size, weight, visibility and effectiveness in serving the intended purpose.
There was however challenges in question identification and literature review process. The challenges arose from contradictory findings on the same subject matter. This made it difficult to decide on the best literature to use in the research process. One way by which the problem was solved was through assessing a plethora of publications to identify the literature that provided sufficient evidence on the subject matter. The question identification process was also challenging that wearable technologies in soccer are numerous and it could be ineffective to focus on a particular one while neglecting others. This was solved through the development of a general question targeting different form of wearable technology.
This section is for literature review. It entails a detailed analysis of different articles, books, and journals that focus on the decision professional soccer teams to embrace wearable technology as an important component tin monitoring the players and identifying areas of improvement during training sessions. This will be through understanding the history and role of wearable technology in soccer
The evolution of the internet and the development of wireless internet connectivity according to Cunha (2010) resulted in the introduction of mobile phone technology for communication purposes. This is an indication that since 1995, there have been numerous changes in the world of technology. The need to monitor the health and fitness levels of different patients in health care facilities motivated the development of wearable technology. This was used as a methodology of promoting the wellbeing of individual patients through the collection of data assessing their heat rates and levels of respiration (Cunha, 2010). The evolution of soccer and the need to ensure that player were fit to play also necessitate the need to develop wearable technology that would withstand different pressures of the environment that are associated with playing soccer. The development Polo Tech Smart Shirts for instance was aimed at developing a garment that could accommodate technology to measure different health related issues among soccer players. In addition, it was also aimed at assisting the coaches in assessing the ability of their players to operate on varied levels of efficacy and changes in environment (Cunha, 2010).
One of the major aspects in wearable technology was the need to introduce sensors. The garments would also require soft circuits that were relatively different from the conventional circuits used in measuring mental fitness. These kinds of circuits, according to the developers, were to be flexible in terms of their ability to bend when requires. The circuits were also to be water proof and safe for human body. The safety was to be considered during training activities since players are susceptible to falling and injuries during training. Circuits meant to be free of any form of shocks (Cunha, 2010).
Other than the soft circuits and printed electronics, it was also necessary for the wearable technologies to include sensors and surveil. These sensors were to detect any changes or the prevailing health conditions of the wearier. Sportswear companies such as Adidas, Nike, and Polo have been able to introduce wearable technologies in the form of watches, technologies incorporated in shirts, in shoes and in ampstrips (Couceiro et al, 2014). The process of developing wearable technologies incorporates in different sports wears was also done in consideration to the divergent health conditions of different soccer personalities. Every soccer player has the ability to react differently to wearable technology. this explains why it is necessary for soccer teams, the doctors and the coachers to evaluate the health conditions of every payer as a way of determining the best wearable technology that promises no or limited effects on the player while presenting the most accurate and relevant results for the team (Couceiro et al, 2014). The development of mobile phone technology has also been a major contributor to the efficiency of wearable technology. This is because through smartphones such as iPhone and other android phones. There are plethoras of associated apps, which help in collecting; transferring and analyzing data generated form wearable technology. Currently Android OS and iOS dominate the smartphone industry. If there is an effective and popular app for the iPhone chances are that there are similar apps that can be downloaded for android phones (Couceiro et al, 2014).
The evolution of wearable technology has often been aimed at addressing challenges associated with the need to assess the performance and fitness levels of patients and sports personalities and produce real-time results. Some of the most imminent challenges include the desire to minimize waste resulting from wearable technology (Couceiro et al, 2014). This is because most of the wearable technologies are electronic which turn into non-biodegradable wastes when their role in completed. Wearable technology devices are often small. This means that there are challenges related to sustainable power (Harley, 2010). However, emerging wearable technologies have been developed to necessitate essential developments such as wireless charging and the use of smartphones, which are relatively bigger and are developed with highly sustainable power supplies (Harley, 2010).
Technology has become an increasingly important phenomenon in sports especially in the measurement of training and performance abilities of different sports personalities. Wearable devices such as sensors have been incorporated into training and competition of elite level athletes. The main objective of these devices has been to help in monitoring and developing strategies that can be used in the improvement of the overall health of the athletes including the achievement of optimal performance standards in terms of the skills or the athlete in different sporting events (Cunha, 2010). Through wearable technology it is possible for the coaching staff to develop a better understanding of what needs to be trained and the methodologies that will be used in conducting the training in ways that will help in the realization of the objective of the sport. Wearable technology also helps the athletes and the coaching staff in the development of tailor made programs that satisfy the fitness and training needs of the athletes. This advances the possibility that the resulting team will be able to operate in accordance with the requirement of the individual athlete (Cunha, 2010). Wearable technology also provides the coaching staff with a feedback platform on the capacities and the skills of all the employees. This is an indication that it facilitates the coaching staff with appropriate methodologies that help in motivating employees to further develop or improving in specific sporting areas (Cunha, 2010).
The popularity of wearable technology in soccer and other sporting activities can be said to be related to the development of technological concepts such as Body Sensor Networks (BSN), which have been established among the community of scientists and in other sectors. This has allowed for the evolution on a plethora of wearable technology designs with numerous objectives in terms of the elements that they endeavor to measure (Harley, 2010). Similarly, the ability of sensors to work in different situation has also been enhanced not only in terms of the level of accuracy but also in relation to their level of complexity. Complexity and accuracy also mean that sensors have some changes in their size and levels of flexibility (Khan et al, 2015).
Flexibility according to Khan et al (2015) is perceived to be in terms of the devices that can be implanted and those that can be intergrate with different textile elements to produce the intended results. There are also additional changes in the design of wearable technology especially with the development of devices and designs that require relatively less amount or energy to remain operational for longer periods. Inasmuch as medical research and health care concerns have been perceived as the driving force for the evolution sin wearable technology, it is possible to note that the success of the sport sector seems to be at the crest of this technological innovation. The need among sports personalities and teams to ensure high level efficiency of their teams against other rival teams has been perceived as the basis of the developments that have characterized wearable technologies.
In as much as overall requirements and sections of monitoring designs have been perceived common among most systems of wearable technology, there are underlying differences especially from the intrinsic perspective that have been considered common among most designs in sports (Harley, 2010). The need for precise training battalions, physiological parameters, and biomechanical strictures for monitoring coupled with advances in sports technology and the developments of Body Sensor Networks has made it relatively time consuming for soccer players to rely on laboratory results especially when seeking ways of improving on their performance margins (Khan et al, 2015)). This is because such approaches to improvement in performance often require individual effort and instantaneous results that would identify possible areas for the implementation of change. In addition, through such developments, that assisting the development of effective spots performance analysis programs and effective bio-signal monitoring for soccer players (Harley, 2010). The objective shifts from monitoring an individual soccer player to monitoring different responses of a player in relation to the prevailing factors in his surrounding and the possible effects of these conditions to the wellbeing of such a player. This will help the coach in determining the intensity of training in different environmental conditions of different individuals. In addition, it is through this approach to performance analysis that the limits and areas of strength of every individual can be determined in an effective manner in relation to the requirements in their areas of profession (Couceiro et al, 2014).
While assessing soccer player for instance, Couceiro et al, (2014) argue that the focus should be on his position in the field and his ability to control the ball with limited or no pressure for m external forces. In addition, it will also be important to determine and understand his ability to hold the ball. If the player is a striker, the force and the amount of energy used in shooting at the goal will also be used in determining his or her ability to generate maximum results with relatively low amount of energy. From a general perspective, it will also be important for coaches and the team doctors to determine the level of fatigue and oxygen in the blood during intensive and less intensive training exercises (Khan et al, 2015). This will be aimed at ensuring the safety of the soccer players whenever they are expected to execute responsibilities in situations characterized by high tension. The decision of the type of player to include in a game filled with high levels of tension will be determined by the results of the levels of panic and distress among players in different environments. This explains why coaches choose to field specific players in times of tension and other in tines when the game is relatively calm.
Wearable technologies are incorporated with systems that enable effective monitoring. These systems are divided into the sensing section, protection section and the transmitting section. In different wearable technologies it is possible to find these sections separated or integrated depending on the design of the technology. The objective of this function can be readily separated and analyzed to facilitate the process of developing an effective understanding of the objectives of the system (An et al, 2013).
According to Aughey (2011), developments in micro-electromechanical devices, microfluidics, and bioelectrical interfaces among other aspects in the world of technology have been cited as major contributing factors to the development of new generation wearable technologies. This is because of the ability to incorporate implantable sensor and monitoring devices as part of the system (Aughey, 2011). The sports and healthcare sectors have been considerd as major benefactors to the development biosensors and physiological sensors which when implanted allows for the recording of essential aspects in the health and fitness of an individual such as heart rate, glucose level and blood pressure. In sports additional sensor devices such as noninvasive minimally intrusive sensors have been perceived as the best in ensuring effective monitoring due to their flexibility in terms of positioning, noise, calibration and deviation (Ferro et al, 2014).
In sport there are key elements to consider in the process of choosing the best technological application that can be used in proving the most essential information that can enhance the ability of a player to improve on his or her performance (An et al, 2013). They include selectivity in terms of capacity to respond to target a signal and any changes on the signal. They also include the range which is in terms of the lowest detectable point and the highest point of detection. In addition, it is also important in the view of An et al (2013) to consider additional elements such as the level of stability, which can be perceived in terms of level of predictability and sensitivity of the senor within definite range. In soccer, the efficacy and the effectiveness of sensors in wearable technologies are often determined by their ability to ensure consistency in capturing data from players as they move from one area of the field to another. Furthermore, this is also based on the ability of the sensors to facilitate the process of data collection in different environmental conditions. These attributes are an indication that such sensors operate on algorithms that optimize the quality of the data collected (An et al, 2013).
In the wearable technology market according to (Aughey, 2011) the current competition to develop the most efficient technology with the lowest powered microcontroller. The amount of power used in the operationalization of these devices is highly dependent on the roles that the wearable technology is expected to undertake. Other elements such as the complexities of the application and an array of extraction methodologies that are to be incorporated also define whether a wearable technology will use the Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) or Advanced RISC Machine (ARM) (Pratasl et al, 2012). These microcontrollers offer divergent attributes, which accommodate and provide different solutions.
The RISC is a type of microprocessor architecture whose functionality s defined by the utilization of a small and highly augmented set of instructions. The development of the RISC is based on the understanding that effective performance of any technology use dependent the ability of the device to provide highly functional and lighter processors that can be fitted in devices in the form of microprocessors. An additional benefit of the RISC is on its ability to operate on microprocessors whose designs are informed by the intention of executing smaller types of computer instructions to enable high-speed operation of the resulting devices. Wearable technology that operates on RISC microprocessors has the ability of executing millions of instructions per second. The understanding that each type of instruction that a computer performs requires more circuitry and transistors makes it important for designers of the microprocessors to channel their designs towards specific functions. This makes RISC design an attempt to ensure the production of more central processing unit power through the simplification of the instruction set of personal computers
Ultralow or extremely low powered microcontrollers have been perceived as the best in sports since players are expected to spend more time with their wearable technologies on. The best processor wills therefore that which embraces speed in processing data while at the same time using limited amount of energy to execute its activities (Pratasl et al, 2012). Wearable technology producing companies such as Marvel Technology Group has been engaged in a process of seeking better processors for the development of effective processors. This is with reference to their decision to embrace Intel processors which operate effectively due to their ability handle multimedia demanding applications (Pratasl et al, 2012).
The decision on the type of processor or microcontroller to embrace as part of wearable technology must be determined by the ability of the technology to process data in different environmental conditions. Field Programmable Gateway Arrays (FPGA) is considered as one of the most effective onsite programmable alternatives that embrace low power as essential components in its operations (Pratasl et al, 2012).
Field-Programmable Gate Arrays (FPGA) is a silicon chip that can be reprogrammed. Unlike the processors in personal computers, the process of reprogramming FPGA entails the rewiring of the chip and implementing the functionality of the designer instead of running a software application. The adoption of FPGA in the technology industry is related with the understanding that it has the ability of combining the most effective parts of application specific integrated circuits and their processors. This leads to the development of a relatively faster processor in terms of the realization of its standard functionality. The use of FPGAs in the design of technological devices is considered essential since it allows the devices to exceed their computing power especially with regard to the digital signal processors.
Their microcontrollers offer flexibility and updatability, which is relatively more effective compared to other wearable technologies. FPGAs can also be programmed as representatives of varieties of electronic devices. This is because of their ability to integrate into different aspects of digital signal processing modules. Inasmuch as it is an overkill to include FPGAs as part of wearable technology designs, these devices can be considered as relatively useful in addressing on-body complex processing (Couceiro et al, 2014). Their versatile and flexible nature also allows for a relatively simple methodology in addressing matters related to data at a relatively faster pace. There are numerous technological approaches that have been incorporates as part of the power consumption reduction in FPGAs. These include cell specific power management and the use of dynamic on-chip termination (OCT) among other approaches (Couceiro et al, 2014).
According to De Marchi (2011), when making reference to the wireless monitoring technology and its efficiency in sports, it is often unavoidable to develop an understanding of the role that of the wireless components of interfacing of the systems. This is irrespective of whether it is real-time or sporadic updating to a processing node that is remotely located. In addition, the consideration of the wireless component of the technology can also be to the decision to use the interface in downloading already stored data from the wearable monitoring technology or in the transmission of data from a sensor mode to an on-body or remotely located processing unit (De Marchi, 2011). The transmission section can also be understood in relation to the presence of cables and the need for physical removal of the device also encompass the modes through which data collected can be downloaded for analysis facilitate the development of an effective understanding of the data gathered (De Marchi, 2011).
It is also possible to understand transmission of data in wearable technology from the perspective of the BSN, which can be perceived as replacement of traditional radio frequency (RF) transmission methodology. There are numerous technologies that exist for different ranges of communication (De Marchi, 2011). For mid-range wireless communication and common protocols such as WiMAX, GSM, 3G and 4G mobile communications, information can be easily transmitted from the data collection device to the analyzing devises. Other wireless transmission platforms such as Bluetooth have been considered as new generation of wireless communication techniques that allow for easy transfer and accessibility of data from different sources. The IEEE 802.11g is one the most effective wireless transmission device considering that it receives data that is at a distance of about 150-200 meters away (De Marchi, 2011).
In soccer acquisition of data is based on two essential aspects. Data can be transmitted with the wearable technology on the body of the player of data can be physical extracted by disintegrating the wearable technology and acquiring the memory chip for transfer of information. The latter is derived as less efficient compared to the former (Couceiro et al, 2014). This explains why in most cases coaches and embrace IEEE 802.11g transmitters due to their ability to provide real-time data as player progress with their training activities. In addition, through this approach to data transmission, it is also possible for the coach and members of the technical bench to embrace the best possible approaches in handling the roles areas of weaknesses of players (Couceiro et al, 2014). Other than the efficiency of such transmission device in the provision of real-time data, it is also possible important to note that the choice of the type of decision of wearable technology that soccer teams chooses is highly dependent in their ability to incorporate mid-distance and relatively long distance transmitters as part of the system (Couceiro et al, 2014).
2.2.2 Wearable technology in training
This is a technological approach that operates in the same way as fitness apps. The main objective of wearable technology is to provide the athlete with information on their fitness and health levels including an effective analysis of the data generated by the wearable technology. The decision by different soccer teams to embrace wearable technology as part of their training is attributable to the understanding that the technology has additional features and an improvement on the level of accuracy (Khan et al, 2015). The efficiency of wearable technology emanates from its ability to measure different aspects related to the wellbeing of the athlete. These include the sleeping patterns, heart rate, calories burnt, and the walking distance covered by the athlete among other features (Khan et al, 2015). Different teams have now embraced wearable technologies such as Nike + FuelBand and Larklife, which permit the accessibility of essential aspects that, can help in the improvement of an individual health standards and levels of fines. The training devices are often synched with a corresponding fitness application, which helps in the organization of fitness goals, analysis of the data collected to produce results that are relevant to the training programs (Harley, 2010).
In soccer, wearable technology has made it possible for wearable technology to operate like integrated sensors in shoes to sync training information to an application that helps in the development of an understanding of the areas that need progression and overall improve on the performance of the players. When understood in relation to their role in training, wearable technology provides live information that allows soccer players to determine the training protocols that need to be realized and the intensities that must be incorporated in the training to improve on the efficiency and levels of fitness of the players. Furthermore, through wearable technologies, players and the coaching staff have the ability to obtain accurate and current information on psychosocial attributes throughout a particular training activity. For example, soccer players who are undertaking endurance training have the responsibility of running at a specific heart rate zone. This will ensure that they mimic competition load and improve on the efficiency of their heart rates in relation to ensuring an improvement on their health standards. An ex-polar watch, which is an example of a wearable technology, allows soccer players to engage in an effective monitoring of their training sessions. This allows them to adjust to the demand of the training and the required intensities through an observation of their heart rates. The availability of this information through the device makes an athlete more motivated to engage in the development of mechanisms that help in improving on previous results while at the same time providing an effective and efficient methodology of measuring different training demands.
Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) when perceived in relation to their role in soccer are best known for their ability to generate detailed and specific information on the distance covered by soccer players in high and low intensity activities. These include the training and in-game paces and spurts acquired during trainings (Khan et al, 2015). The process of observing information collected from GPS allows team doctors and the coaches to engage in a process of comparing intensities between different sporting activities. In addition, the ability of a coach and the training staff to analyze and understand results generated throughout the activities can help in the development of alternative ways of improving on the areas of weaknesses in training and ensure an overall improvement of the players during a game (Khan et al, 2015). For example if the data collected from GPS indicate that the velocity of a soccer player decreases as fulltime approaches in the game, the coach has the responsibility of implementing different training approaches during practice sessions (Khan et al, 2015). This is often aimed at improving the performance of an individual soccer player in future games. Results presented by GPS are often specific to the velocity and acceleration levels of an individual player. This is an indication that the coach, while developing alternative training approaches must always consider the role of an individual in the overall success of the team. This means that any modification to the type of training that players are subjected to must be directed towards the realization of optimal performance among players (Khan et al, 2015).
The use of different sensor approaches provided a platform for assessing the role of GPS and other wearable technologies in the determination of the different training methodologies in each drill. The understanding of the essence of drill is in soccer training allows the coach to develop more accurate reflections of the demands of soccer leagues and assess the ability of the players to realize the optimal training targets (Dunne et al 2014). Periodization of team sports allows GPS and other wearable technologies to provide effective information of different training loads in different phases and stages of training. This allows for better tailor made training approaches that are necessary to be implemented in different seasons. In soccer for example, off season allows for players to have higher training intensities that allow for the optimization of their abilities and realization of the training needs (Dunne et al 2014). Low intensity training are often recommended for soccer players to ensure that overload does not occur while at the same time it also provides away of optimizing the role of the players during the competition. As an approach to wearable technology, GPS is innovative enough to provide coaches with the ability to develop tailor training loads equal to the demands of the competition while at the same time optimizing the performance of the soccer player (Dunne et al 2014).
The efficiency of wearable technology in the view of Khan et al (2014) emanates from the understanding that it is a process that incorporates different disciplines. This has been enhanced by the development of integrated circuits (IC), signal processing and wireless sensor networks (WSN). For these elements to be incorporated and integrated in the body of soccer players, it is crucial to involve other multidisciplinary efforts which include biomedical, engineering, medicine, psychology and the textile industry among others (Ferro et al, 2014). It is also an indication that the success of wearable technologies incorporates a plethora of systems designed to monitor the performance of an individual player and his or her reactions to different environmental and physiological changes. The ability of this technology to identify multiparadigm shifts within the body of an individual has been used as replacements to constant visits to the doctor as they enable continuous and long-term collection of data (Ferro et al, 2014). The laboratories, which only operate as controlled environments, are quickly being replaced by data collected from real life sceneries. This does not mean that laboratories have lost their purpose in sports, but it only means that the role of the laboratories has been to develop theories, which are to be validated or falsified by the process of data collection. The data analysis of laboratory results is being replaced by real-time analysis which provides results from the prevailing circumstances (Ferro et al, 2014).
One advantage of wearable technology in the view of Djaoui et al (2013) is in its ability to produce different data every time a player engages in a training session. This is an indication that the previous data cannot only be used in analysis of the function of the player but it can also be used a future determinant of the role that the player has in promoting the wellbeing of the team. Data gathered and data analyzed is often in the process of constant change and this explains why it is important to understand the possibility that if data change during training sessions (Djaoui et al, 2013). Any form of change can be used as a background of understanding different medical, social and psychological wellbeing of the player. An additional benefit associated with wearable technology especially in soccer is that it provides instant and current results about the player. This means that any corrective measure that the coach or team doctors intend to introduce will be based on the prevailing health and environments conditions and their effects on the player (Djaoui et al, 2013). The changes in the data gathered from players can also be used as evidence of their level of commitment and ability to function in different environmental conditions. This increases the possibility of gauging a player in terms of their levels of fitness (Djaoui et al, 2013).
Body Sensor networks (BSN) which form an integral part of the wearable technology refers to the wireless networked electronic device which aims at measuring an array of physiological, chemical, changes in position or movements of an individual who engages in any form of physical activity. The Wearable Biomedical Sensors and Systems (WBSS) were typically established to be crucial in the medical field especially among patients suffering from different heart related conditions (Djaoui et al, 2013). The introduction of wearable technology into sports was to enhance the possibility sensing biomedical signals on the user or on the prevailing environmental conditions. The devices were also to direct the data gathered to a processor worn by the user and then transfer the data to a computer for analysis (Harley, 2010). This could be followed by an elaborate process of diagnosis and the provision of the user with an interface that allows for interaction and a system of continuous monitoring. Such a system provides an understanding of the trends and different areas of improvement in accordance with the data gathered form the performance of an athlete during training sessions (Harley, 2010).
Figure 1.0 How wearable technology measures operations of a player
In the world of soccer, trainers have a major responsibility and impact in molding the life of a player and improving in his ability to perform exceptionally in his area of expertise. Despite their essence to soccer players, coaches also have a limited perception in terms of the ability to ensure that athletes perform in accordance with their full potential (Cunha, 2010). While the coach or a trainer has the ability to evaluate the performance of a soccer player on the basis of past experiences and their level of expertise. Visual interpretations, which appear in the form of wearable technology, also have the capacity of providing such information in an effective and efficient manner. The most appropriate and essential elements of visual interpretation is in its ability to provide real time data and the performance of a player (Cunha, 2010).
The ability of wearable technology to incorporate additional information through the inclusion of accelerometer, and other sensors attributable to pressure, wearable technology has been able to close the gap between the self-perception of soccer players and their coaches. The information that the wearable technologies gather can also be used in the fine tuning of training regimen of soccer players (An et al, 2013). This is realized through the development of a correlation between the data gathered and the performance results of every athlete. There are other factors such as feature extraction methodologies and pattern recognition which grant the possibility of developing performance contrast and comparison among multiple individuals. Furthermore, it also allows the classification of results according to the findings and the grading of soccer players in accordance with their abilities and levels of fitness. This is especially important during the process of developing a perfect comparison platform for beginner soccer players and those of advanced and highly trained athletes (An et al, 2013).
According to An et al, 2013 wearable technology that can be incorporated into clothing and other accessories that are worn on the bodies of the players have the ability to gather essential data that is analyzed through the use of existing software together with inputted information about the height, weight and gender of the wearer. The coach and the sport personality can then track and view the information gathered through a computer of a mobile device and uses it in making better decisions concerning health, fitness and the performance of a soccer player.
One of the major advantages of these wearable in collecting desirable data is in the possibility of frequents improvements through advancements in technology. Professional sporting teams especially in soccer can now combine wearable technology with Radio Frequency Identification Technology (RFID). The incorporation of this technology into the uniforms of soccer players can assist in the transmission of data using electromagnetic fields (Harley, 2010). This data is transmitted to RFID receivers that are positioned in different locations around the soccer stadiums. RFID tags collect information of different movement attributes of the players such as the distance ran, acceleration, and speed within the field especially during the training sessions (Van Haaren, 2013). Coaches use the information gathered by the RFIDs to develop a better understanding on the performance of their players and the possibility of pairing different players in different field positions of the realization of better results during a game. The decision by a coach to place a player in a specific position or to substitute one player for another is often influenced by the data gathered through wearable technologies concerning the abilities and the potential of different players in the field. The statistics generated are sometimes shown on broadcast to enable the fans develop an understanding of the potential of their favorite players (Van Haaren, 2013).
Cyclic stress induced injuries on a large or a smaller scale are common features among players. There are also injuries resulting from contact sports, falling during training session or any other form of injury that a play suffers in the process of engaging in soccer related activities. Wearable technology has proved to be an essential asset in the reduction of the rehabilitation time and the prevention of additional injuries (Van Haaren, 2013). This has been through the use of wearable technology in monitoring aggravating factors and providing opportunities for continuous evaluation of the areas of interest to the players and to the coaches (Van Haaren, 2013).
One of the major activities that define the level of fitness of soccer players is in the type of lifestyle that they lead. The coaches and the team doctors always interact with the soccer players while on the training ground or during different soccer related activities. The introduction of wearable technologies provides different officials in soccer with the ability to monitor players on unsupervised lifestyle activities (Cunha, 2010).
According to Cunha (2010) wearable technology when used in this perspective is considered beneficial to the team doctor, the coach and the players since it introduces a closer connection between these parties in soccer. In addition, it can also be used as a platform for a more realistic determination of the daily activities of an individual. These include non-sporting activities such dieting. Through this approach to the use of wearable technology, it is also possible for the doctors to recommend the best possible diets that a player can introduce in his or her lifestyle as a way of enhancing their health and fitness levels.
The main objective of any sporting activities is to ensure the realization of better results at every sporting activity. In soccer the main objective of a coach is often to win a game and this means that he or she must intensify different activities during training. This is one way through which they can ensure that their players have properly positioned to realize the intended results (Couceiro et al, 2014). This means that the coach will need to evaluate the psychological wellbeing of the players to ensure that only those who are psychologically fit have the opportunity of representing the team (Couceiro et al, 2014). Within soccer, stress and fatigue have been considerd as major factors that contribute to lower performance among employees. The use of wearable technologies can help in measuring different levels of stress among different players. In addition, an analysis of the data gathered can help in the determination of the best techniques to minimize on high levels of stress and fatigue among the players. Coaches often required an informed decision (Couceiro et al, 2014). This is however possible with the existence of variable through an overall evaluation of the wellbeing of a player. Such an understanding also increases the possibility that a player will be provided with physical and medical measures on how to improve on their health through different anti-stress applications (Couceiro et al, 2014).
The world of soccer in the view of Nandan (2013) is currently undergoing a process of redefining the role of wearable technology in improving the development of the sport. The influence of this technology ranges from the impact that the technology has on amateur as well as professional soccer players. In addition, the level of influence of this technology can also be associated with its ability to sway the approach used in evaluating a soccer athlete performance to the approaches that coaches apply in the process of training their teams while using this technology as a source of vital information concerning the efficacy of their training initiatives (Nandan, 2013).
The introduction of devices such as the Adidas miCoach Smart Run Watch in the view of Dunne et al (2014) has been considered as an essential element in the improvement of the ability of different soccer players to engage in self-monitoring initiatives. The role of the coach is to set targets to player and use the wearable device in measuring the time and the effort made by different players in the process of realizing their target. In addition, the device also provides a technique of measuring the amount of energy that different players require fulfilling the requirement of their targets (Dunne et al, 2014). This has been perceived as beneficial to the team since it helps the coach in gauging the roles that different players can execute in the field of play at different times of play. The wearable technology introduced by Adidas also serves additional purposes that enable the athletes to constantly stay in tune with their training performances (Dunne et al, 2014). Just like other forms of wearable technologies, the watch from Adidas uses the available GPS technology as a platform of acquiring more accurate measures of distance and time. The resulting calculation for this device is not only beneficial in judging the overall performance of a soccer player upon completing training. It is also a way of allowing athletes to make changes over the course of their training while action is unfolding on the playground (Dunne et al, 2014).
Adidas miCoach Smart Run is the company’s first entry into the smartwatch market. The watch personalizes training wen attached to the wrist of an athlete considering that it operates on an active tracker. This technology is considered as a replacement of the chest-mounted heart rate monitor considering that it is inbuilt with GPS and Bluetooth. The miCoach is 15.5 mm tall and weighs about 80.5g. The size and the weight make it light when strapped tightly on the wrist of an athlete (Gibbs, 2013). Other than its sweat proof nature, the watch has a mini dock charging system, which is part of a row of metal contacts at the base of the watch. The device also provides a micro USB port, which is an additional charging spot that also allows connection to a computer when transferring music. This technology has the ability to deliver an intuitive and advanced blend of data on the performance and the coaching that could help dedicated runners to maximize their training (Gibbs, 2013).
The watch is fitted with a touch sensitive 1.5 inch LCD screen that that operates on a fairly low screen resolution. The wearable technology is also fitted with a single push button. This serves the purpose of a multipurpose input that clears information from the screen, turns on the backlight when operating the watch in darkness. The optical heart rate monitor is centrally located at the bottom of the watch and this allows it press firmly against the skin when strapped on the wrist of an athlete (Gibbs, 2013). The sensors that are fitted on the watch allows the miCoach to tack the heart rate, position, speed and distance travelled through a GPS. The accelerometer monitors the motions of an athlete. A combination of the suspensors provided a platform for accurate measurements and performance of an athlete. The purpose of these measurements is to allow the onboard coaching programs to analyze and interpret the results in ways that can help an athlete identify areas of improvement (Gibbs, 2013).The miCoach is fitted with a 3GB internal storage capacity. This allows for the storage of music files that can serve the purpose of entertainment when an athlete is engaged in physical exercise (Gibbs, 2013).
When all the elements of the gadget such as heart rate monitor, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS are operational, the miCoach has the ability to remain functional for about 4 hours in terms of charging the battery can acquire sufficient power in 2 hour making it a highly effective and efficient wearable technology (Gibbs, 2013).
In terms of the disadvantages, the miCoach smart run is relatively expensive considering that its costs about $300. This makes it a preserve of a few rich individuals in the society. The technology is not integrated with any smart-watch apps which makes it relatively difficult to transfer data.
Dunne et al (2014) argues that wearable devices such as the Adidas watch also facilitates the process of improving on live coaching attributes, which is an additional function of the technology that soccer players can use to ensure that their workout initiatives are successful. The contemporary wearable technologies are multipurpose in their operations. This means that technologies such as the Adidas miCoach Smart Run can measure the heat rate of a soccer player through the right. This is an indication that the player does not need an additional device to be worn on the chest.
Effective wearable technology must also provide the wearer with some form of motivation during their training activities. This means that other than the measurement of different elements that are essential in the life of a soccer player, wearable technology have also been integrated with other technologies such as Bluetooth which allows for the accessibility of music to ensure that a player is motivated (Dunne et al 2014). It is not only the watch that can be used as a form of wearable technology, there are sensors that are embedded in shirts and shin guards. These help in tracking crucial information about the players. The wearable technologies on shirts and shin guards provide coaches with more information compared to the Adidas watch. This is because they are able to provide information such as the amount of time that each player possesses the ball, the distance they cover, their attempts on goal and their number of goals that they have scored throughout a training session (Dunne et al 2014).
Figure 5.0 Data gathered from Adidas MmiCoach Smart Run Watch
Other than providing support to the coach, Wearable technologies such as the Adidas watch also suffice the role of the coach. This is based on the realization that when soccer players are away from their coaches they have the responsibility of maintaining high levels of fitness and health standards (Dunne et al 2014). One of the main problems that these players often experience whenever they are engaged in matters related to personal fitness is limited knowledge on how to train efficiently rather than just engage in some form of routine training. When wearable technologies are used as fitness tracking systems through a combination with a wireless earbud system including a cloud based personal trainer, then it is possible for the player to engage in a technologically supervised training activity (Dunne et al 2014). Such systems often require players to set up online accounts on which they upload weekly data that will be analyzed to provide information on their levels of fitness. It is possible to enhance an understanding through the ability of the user to insert his or her wireless earbud that will enable him or her to receive instructions on how to perform their training responsibilities (Dunne et al 2014). While using such devices for instance it will be possible to receive instruction such as perform 10 press-ups followed by 20 squats among other instructions. In addition, the result obtained from personal training initiatives could be used by their coaches in fine-tuning and developing an effective understanding of the current fitness levels of the player (Dunne et al 2014).
Nike + FuelBand SE
Nike + FuelBand SE is a wearable technology from Nike that is fitted with metric for tracking activity. This tracker facilitates the conversion of motion tracked by the accelerometer into an activity rating dubbed fuel. Through this approach to measuring performance, Nike has made it possible to engage in direct comparison of various sporting activities. The Fuel score have enabled athletes allied to different sporting activities to compete on fitness levels. Nike + FuelBand SE is a semi-rigid rubberized plastic band integrated with a locking buckle and a full-size USB connector for syncing and charging (Gibbs, 2013). The oval and rigid nature of the band makes it relatively difficult to flex when attached to the wrist. At the top, the device is fitted with a t matrix-LED display adjacent to a solid rubber button for operationalization of the wearable technology. The role of the display is to cycle through the time of activity and gives notice to an athlete of the goals that he must hit (Gibbs, 2013).
Nike+ FuelBand SE
This technology is relatively easy to use after an initial set-up. This is because the athlete only as to wear it on the designated wrist and allow it to perform its function. For its effectivity, the initial setup must be done with the aid of a computer, which is connected to the device through the integrated USB connector. Other than the connection with a computer, the FuelBand can also be integrated with a smartphone through the FuelBand app. The essence and efficiency of the FuelBand is that at the press of the rubber button the LED display begins to cycle throughout the activities of an athlete (Gibbs, 2013). A double press on the rubber button also shows the time, which makes it a device that can multi task. The efficiency of the Nike + FuelBand SE also emanates from its ability to light up when an athlete realizes an activity target. In addition, the device also operates on hourly reminders on the target that an athlete is supposed to have realized. This helps the athlete maintain his fitness and identify the activities that he must undertake to ensure fitness. The FuelBand is reliable because it takes about one hour to charge it through the USB connector. In additions, Nike has also improved in terms of its level of water resistance and this makes elements such as sweat and rain of water from the shower relatively less demanding to the technology (Gibbs, 2013).
Nike+ FuelBand SE review – a bright and colorful LED display
In term of the demerits, the technology is less reliable in term of the variables that it is able to measure hence limiting its performance as an efficient wearable technology. The device also has a short battery life and it is not completely resistant to water.
After choosing a desired fitness objective, it is possible to use the available wearable technology as a source of advice and instructions on how to conduct every workout activity. This will be based on the results from previous trainings, which play the role of informing the approach that soccer players will give to future trainings. Furthermore, it is from past information that the player can access his or her ability to work at relatively high heart rates and their levels of efficiency while operating on lower heart rates. The decision to combine wearable technology with voice recognition systems can be perceived as an AIU-based approach to promoting and understanding the essence of personal training in boosting fitness levels among players (Dunne et al, 2014).
With the 2014 World cup at its peak it was crucial for players and the coaches to ensure that those chosen to represent their teams and country during the games were fit for the games. This was to be ensured in the process of managing injuries and fatigue among players (Boom, 2014). Germany and Argentina had booked their places in the finals and it was therefore critical for the coaches to ensure that the players were not only ate their peak but also that they had the ability to win the trophy at the end of the game (Boom, 2014). While the success of Germany can be attributed to numerous things, the role and method of preparation played a major role in their win. It was revealed that throughout their training the German national team had been using Adidas MiCoach technology before and during the training in World Cup (Soper, 2015).
Through this technology, the coach and the technical team was able to gauge the players on the basis of their hear rates, distance covered, speed durability and their sprints per session. the decision on which player to field following the delicately poised nature of the world cup finals made it crucial for the best positioned player to be fielded. German coach, Joachim Low turned to his substitutes and through his personnel he utilized the data gathered from the Adidas MiCoach technology (Soper, 2015). The statistics of Mario Gotze had proved to be more effective and this made h it possible for him to be chosen as the best possible player that could change the nature of the came by producing winning results. Gotze was selected on the basis that he could make a difference and his ability to score proved the efficiency of wearable technology in soccer (Soper, 2015).
Other than the Adidas miCoach Smart Run, there are other forms of wearable technologies that have been introduced in the world of sports. Adidas has made a new line of smart shirt, the MiCoach Elite. This warble technology allows the soccer athlete, the trainers, and the coaches to acquire instant data on the performance of the player. Data collected using this technology includes speed and distance (Bloom, 2014). This wearable technology operates on an advanced monitoring system, which is inclusive of GPS tracker and a wireless data receiver. Its efficiency emanates from the understanding that it can be worn as undergarments in the players’ shirts. The special fabric that forms part of the essential technology is equipped with sensors that also measure the heart rate of a player. Some of the benefits of the data collected from the MiCoach Elite also help the coaches in selection players how are best fit to participate in football matches (Bloom, 2014).
Catapult entails a comprehensive wearable technology that provides a myriad of solutions to different sporting activities. Through the GNSS enables monitor, who also plays the role of a satellite. The catapult has a wireless local positioning system that helps in capturing both internal and external condition such as heart rate and the distance covered. The optimum Eye is an example of catapult wearable technology, which operates on sensor (Konrad, 2013). This system operates through fixing a sensor unit on a player’s shirt on the upper part of the vertebra. This technology is integrated with an accelerometer, gyroscopes and magnetometers. Catapult then isolates the data by deploying internal stadium antennas essential in picking frequencies for athletes as they occur (Konrad, 2013).
In term of comparing between the Adidas MiCoach smart Run, MiCoach Elite, catapult and Nike FuelBand, the differences are in their ability to be worn during training and during actual games. The MiCoach watch and the FuelBand may prove to be relatively complex to wear in actual games due to the underlying discomfort. This makes MiCoach Elite and catapult relatively better types of wearable technology when conducting trainings. The advantage of the MiCoach watch however is on its ability to provide athletes with information on the best approaches that when implemented will provide better fitness techniques. The miCoach Smart Run watch is also better since it is integrated with entertainment hence providing additional benefits to the athletes.
In terms of cost MiCoach Elite system can cost a football team about$100, 000 each. This comprises a shirt, which is embedded with sensors. The role of the sensors is to play the role of a communicating tool that provides information to the coaches and trainers in real time. The sensors that are imbedded in the shirts have the ability to communicate by sending some encrypted radio frequencies to a base station (Bloom 2014, p. 1). This station is often connected to the a central web encrypted server to a personal computer or through a Wi-Fi systems which displays real-time metric data to devices such as an iPad. The efficiency of the MiCoach Elite systems is in its Intel processor, which are in different varieties such as 8, 16 and 32 bit (Bloom, 2014).
The catapult sport costs teams about $100,000 on an annual basis. This is inclusive of sensor vests, tracking networks and cloud analytics. Catapult wearable technology operates on sensors, which are designed to track multiple movements of athletes while engaging in sporting activities (Konrad, 2013). The operations of the sensors are determined by the deployment of antennas situated around the stadium to pick real-time information form the athletes as they play. The catapult wearable technology contains four processors, which hasten its ability to acquire and transfer information to the web servers through the antennas around the field of play (Konrad, 2013).
The role of the coach according to Djaoui et al (2013) is not eliminated but it is augmented considering that players are able to ensure tha they are effective even in situations where their trainers are absent. The use of wearable technology for personal trainings can also be perceived as a crucial step in improving the wellbeing of the player. This is because it shows the level of dedication of the player and the desire to ensure that he is constantly improving for better result during games (Djaoui et al, 2013). Through this technology, it is possible for the coach to determine who to play in any game. These whose records indicate consistency in terms of their ability to engage in personal exercise qualify. This is an indication that coaches can now gauge the ability of different players to engage in effective sports using other approaches other than their talent and skills in playing soccer. Wearable technology therefore contributes to high level of discipline among players and this increase their chances of existing as team members and the possibility that they will be actively involved in different games that enhance the position of the team in different sports activities (Djaoui et al, 2013).
Wearable technology has been an essential component in tracking assessing and developing real-time results on the ways that can be used in improving the performance of soccer players. there is however need to conduct comparative studies on the differences in terms of performance of players who do not use wearable technology and those who engage in frequents use of this technology.
There is need for both professional and amateur soccer teams to engage in heavy investment of wearable technology to be used in training sessions and during soccer matches in the field. This technology the technology might be expensive to purchase and fully install in the initial process. However, it is a relatively cheaper and effective technique of monitoring players to minimize the possibility of injury of health related complications. This would mean that coaches would be able to prevent accidents and identify health complications before they occur hence saving the team on health costs.
Soccer is an energy intensive activity. This is because it requires the athletes to be involved in run around and ball possessions. Wearable technology must be that which ensures the comfort of the player in terms of its visibility and size especially those that are embedded on players’ clothing. Any form of discomfort may lead to inadequate performance among soccer players hence eliminating the essence of the technology.
The safety of the players must also be the main objective of the coaches while using the technology. Safety does not only arise from the ability of the technology to monitor heart rates and acceleration, it also involves minimizing the possibility of health risks that emanate from using the technology. Wearable technology must therefore be built in ways that eliminate the possibility of electric shock or effects from any forms of radiations.
In terms of comparison, the Adidas MiCoach Smart Run is powered by Android and has a touch screen display. An additional benefit of the phone of that it has the ability to support music playback using Bluetooth. The watch is also integrated with a GPS receiver which provides a platform for tracking the speed, pace and route of the user. Additional features of this device include a heart rate monitor from the wrist and Wi-Fi sync. Nike+ Fuelband SE is restricted to iOS connectivity. The device is relatively restricted and cannot easily integrate with softwares from other companies since the company uses its own propriety measurements as a way of operating on a closed system. The device has an advantage of providing phone notifications in the form of reminders to the players.
Adidas MiCoach Elite is considered as the best wearable technology because unlike the Adidas miCoach Smart Run, it can be worn as part of sports regalia because it is embedded with sensors that have the ability to measure acceleration and heart rate. The sensors to play the role of a communicating tool that provides information to the coaches and trainers in real time. This wearable technology operates on an advanced monitoring system, which is inclusive of GPS tracker and a wireless data receiver. Its efficiency emanates from the understanding that it can be worn as undergarments in the players’ shirts. The special fabric that forms part of the essential technology is equipped with sensors that also measure the heart rate of a player.
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