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Big Data in Sports

Autor:   •  February 21, 2017  •  Case Study  •  611 Words (3 Pages)  •  406 Views

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Sports Science: Performance Analytics

Presented at MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

February 27-28, 2016

Boston, Massachusetts

Executive Summary

  • List of Participants

  • Summary

  • Highlight Topic #1

  • Highlight Topic #2

  • Business Applications

  • Business Applications

  • Conclusion

Panel Participants

  • Adir Shiffman, Executive Chairman of Catapult

  • John Brenkus, Host of ESPN Sports Science

  • Dr. Leslie Saxon, Professor of Clinical Medicine at USC Keck School of Medicine

  • Joe Ragowski, Head Strength and Conditioning Coash, Houston Rockets

  • Tom Haberstroh, ESPN NBA Analyst, Moderator


We have a new ability to monitor and evaluate player performance through the use of performance trackers and data processing. This panel discuss the use of analytics technology to reduce the likelihood of player injury, increase player performance, and find the best training techniques to take players to the elite level.

Key points:

  • Brenkus believes we are in a period of “sports analytics natural selection” where athletes and coaches are experimenting with different techniques and the most successful ones will eventually emerge as winners.

  • While acceptance of trackers at the individual level has been widespread (for example, Fit Bit), professional athletes have been reluctant to adopt the technology due to concerns of negative consequences.

  • There is the fear or possibility that using analytics in sports will result in the treatment of athletes as machines more than as humans, though most of the panelists deny this will happen.

  • Shiffman believes that analytics in sports will allow fans to understand games in much more detail and that in five years the fan experience will be drastically different than it is currently.

Highlight Topic: Wearable Technology

Imagine watching a football game where a head coach can control an athletes playing time and reduce the risk of injuries based on monitoring the fatigue level through wearable technology.

What is Wearable Technology?

  • Technology which worn by a user to conveniently monitor and collected data related to health and fitness of the user.

Personalized information and assistance:

  • Using smart watches and wristbands, data is retrieved about their physiological factors and is available immediately to the athlete or trainer to analyze to personalize their daily routines and fitness plans.

Monitoring fatigue/motion:

  • Wearable tech makes the user aware of their own health  and fatigue level. Through monitoring their measure temperature, heart rate and movement, user can detect falls, sleepiness or heat stress.

Highlight Topic: Injury prevention

Many sports leagues, especially NHL and NFL, have invested in injury prevention studies as many players post their careers have been exposed to CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy) and concussion post their pro careers. Leagues have partnered up with companies such as Zephyr Performance Systems  (global leader in real-time physiological and biomechanical monitoring solutions) and Catapult Sports (global leader in providing wearable devices and an analytics platform to monitor the activity of players).

  • Through wearable technology, preventing injuries has become possible by monitoring players sleep, nutritional intake, heart rate, heat stress, and athletic performance metrics in coloration with the players age.

  • With monitoring your fitness and health, athletes can get the appropriate amount of rest. Rest prevents injuries. For example in the last collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and NFLPA, the amount of days players had to practice was reduced which resulted in a huge reductions of players being injured during training camp.

  • Sleep studies have increased in NFL over there years, Sleep is in important aspect of daily life which can effect athletes performance. In an article by MMQB, James Smith explains, “While a small sample size, 11 healthy players were asked to extend their nightly sleep to at least 10 hours for a period of five to seven weeks. At the end, the players ran faster sprints, increased their shooting percentage and improved their reaction time by statistically significant margins.”


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