When an athlete gets something right, it is usually the result of a lot of practice and many trial and error experiments to find their optimal performance. Once a player has perfected their game and can participate at the top level, the practice does not stop there. Professional athletes must continually improve in their sport to remain competitive. Teams rely on every member to be at their best each time they take the field.

In the world of baseball and golf, an athlete’s ability to swing consistently is essential. Factors such as form, swiftness, tempo and timing mark whether someone is going to be in the World Series or The Masters, or going home early.

Wearable technology in uniforms, pads and training gear is giving athletes access to knowledge previously not measurable.

California-based company Zepp Labs invented a tool to help golfers expand and improve their game: Zepp 2. Golfers can slide a dual accelerometer and dual gyroscopic senor onto the back of the glove and lock it in place. With each swing, the stroke, rotation of the hips, and even the timing is measured. All the information being retrieved is automatically sent using Bluetooth technology to the free app which the athlete can install on their smart phone.  The data is used to aid coaches and athletes in better understanding what improvements need to be made, especially during the quick transition from lifting the club to striking the ball.

It is vital to the success of the team and to safeguard the welfare of the athlete to be able to accurately identify, categorize, and study every move, even every heartbeat, and all the effects of impact each player produces.

In 2017, 526 million people globally had connected wearable 4G devices to their phones, tablets, computers and/or laptops. Tracking devices, such as RFID, GPS and other biometric sensors have been impeccably interwoven into not only fabrics, but into athletes’ lives. No matter what sport people play, some type of tracking device is incorporated in their regular practice sessions and certainly during games. Coaches and staff need to know what is happening, not only in the arena, but also regarding the athlete’s physiology.

The National Football League (NFL) has teamed up with Zebra Technologies to gather data received from RFID tags worn in the football players’ shoulder pads. Real time data such as each player’s rate of acceleration, balance, motion and speed is observed to not only improve the game but to prevent serious injury. Detecting the signs of potential injury from concussions, brain trauma, over exertion, injured muscles, torn tendons and ligaments, or soft-tissue trauma is not only in the best interest of the individual, but the team as a whole.

Companies like Stretch Sense weave sensors into fabric resulting in an invisible, flexible, durable and impact resistant piece of equipment to monitor players without any negative effect on their current performance. Data such as heart rate, respiration, and detection of dehydration are just a few of the parameters that are measurable using the fabric.

According to Ohio University, this year the wearable technology market is expected to reach 2.8 billion dollars in sales. With big name brands like Nike collaborating with Australian analytics company Catapult Sports to create various tracking enabled garments, being able to make informed decisions on individual team members, the plays, and what to do next on the field is only advancing.

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