Technology has long since served as the strong right arm for improvement of athletic performance, and it’s really having an impact on high school football. The integration of sports and technology has been vital in training routines and injury prevention, but that doesn’t even begin to cover how technology has changed the game—and business—of football. Here are some of the ways technology has made an impact on the sport.
This has been one of the most significant benefits sports technology has been able to offer. One example: The Riddell helmet. Its most recent updates help minimize concussions and neck injuries, two issues that are finally being recognized as high priorities for the sport, which obviously brings peace of mind for athletes and their families. But, like anything else, technology isn’t a cure-all. It needs to be coupled with instruction and appropriate technique in order for players to reap the benefits of its protection.
Video and Instant Replay
We are admittedly biased, but here at Insight Replay we think the introduction of video technology has greatly benefitted high school football, and sports in general. Besides its usefulness as a training tool, video allows coaches and players to study game footage, review plays in real-time, and study the competition. Visual learning is something today’s digital natives are very comfortable with, and when kids can learn the right techniques more quickly and more effectively—everybody wins. Using instant replay video is and can be a huge competitive advantage.
Fantasy Football has grown into an American phenomenon. Dedicated online communities, competitive Fantasy Football leagues, mobile apps, and mock drafts encourage diehard fans to spend hours building their ‘perfect’ lineup, as well as tracking their players and teams in real time. Even a fan with minimal knowledge of the technical game of football can become somewhat of an expert on their favorite players and specific patterns and plays. Ipsos research shows that more than 14 million people in the U.S. and Canada aged 12 and over play Fantasy sports. It’s probably a safe bet that a good portion of them are high school football players and that by connecting via fantasy leagues to their favorite players and being highly tuned into the plays these players make and how they contribute to their team’s success is definitely a learning experience.
Technology has given us a platform for personalizing athletes. Before social media, a quick post-game interview and paparazzi shots were the most common ways for fans to connect with players. Now, almost every pro athlete has a Facebook page and a Twitter account, and many personally respond to fans on both game-related and personal matters. High school players have also taken to social media to rally fans for upcoming games, share photos from the sideline, and publicly praise their teammates for a job well done. Social media means that team spirit is magnified to the nth power, which is kind of cool.
Sports and video games have been playing well together since 1958 when Tennis for Two, an electronic game of virtual tennis, was introduced. The genre quickly grew, and a wide array of gaming platforms now offer a variety of digital sports, including baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey, track and field, soccer, and many others. Today, each new release pushes the bar higher and higher, striving to simulate real-life athletics and on-field situations as closely as possible. While videogames will always have critics, the reality is today’s games are so technically sound they have become a valuable learning tool for high school athletes. Players who spend long hours, for example, on Madden NFL, develop a much deeper understanding and knowledge of football strategy and tactics.
As you can imagine, we have covered only some of the ways technology has impacted sports—specifically high school football. Of course, technology will continue to advance, and it’s exciting to imagine what the future and sports technology will bring. What do you think about the marriage of technology and sports? What do you see the greatest advances in technology are as it relates to high school football? Share your thoughts—we’d love to hear them.