Photo Credit: Sportradar
From behind the scenes, technology is one of the main factors that makes sports so exciting. The power of machine learning and artificial intelligence can help expand the potential of professional athletes by recording and analyzing infinite details at a quicker speed than any sports scientist or analyst could. For example, cameras, videos, and sensors can be applied to the body or equipment and collect an enormous quantity of valuable information. On top of boosting an athlete’s craft, artificial intelligence also can improve the business side to the sport industry, such as a team’s ticket sales, sponsorships, and merchandising.
The predictive capabilities of machine learning allow for coaches to make more informed decisions that are based on a multi-level analysis of several factors. Using this technology, teams no longer need to wonder if they might miss the next shot; they can now anticipate errors and plan accordingly by working on specific plays in practice or changing their game strategy. In addition, while it is impossible for humans to see a play from every angle, machines can do just that to help coaches get a better understanding of that moment.
Though machine learning can tell any coach what the best decision for every situation is by the numbers, human intuition may be a critical missing part of this verdict. There is a difference between what has statistically worked well and what is needed to be successful in a given moment. The instincts, the creativity, and the risk-taking traits of a human are all crucial elements in a sport that artificial intelligence cannot fully replace, especially in team sports.
That being said, there are countless examples of companies in the sports industry who are utilizing various forms of artificial intelligence to enhance player performance. Arccos Caddie, for instance, is golf’s first AI-powered platform that enables the players to walk the course with their own virtual caddie, which can assist in decisions like what direction to hit and what club to use based on the course location, weather, and player ability. Outside of just professional athletes, fitness fans can also see AI incorporated with their nutrition and workouts through the app Talk Human to Me. This app can provide users with an automated workout “buddy” to support users during their workouts with expertise and encouragement. The list goes on and on for the possible applications of artificial intelligence in the incredible world of sports.
Sports open the door to some of the greatest human achievements, and it is fascinating to see the relationship between artificial intelligence and athletic performance. As team owners and coaches continue to strive for a better understanding of data and trends to improve their winning chances, the emerging field of AI is one of the key ways to stay ahead of the rest of the competition. Machine learning algorithms will only continue to evolve more rapidly within the next few years, and the most exciting part will be to see to what extent artificial intelligence will drive human actions and performance on the sports field.