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Smart sports: How the ‘Internet of Things’ is revolutionising the way we train and play

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Image: UNSPLASH

Theres the old adage that “practice makes perfect.”

And while perfect is easily the loftiest goal one can have, making better use of your practice is what will see you reach your peak performance goals faster.

In recent years, technological advancements within the Internet of Things have given us a slew of super-smart ways to improve the way we practice and play to give us a competitive advantage. There are now all kinds of objects, devices, and apps that help us track our performance, monitor our progress, and enable us to improve in ways that help athletes from all walks of life meet and exceed their goals.

IoT describes a network of communications between products: from mobiles, to clothes, to cars, and fridges. Put simply, IoT means that one thing you own can talk and sync with another thing you own. Technologists use the use the word thing because the application of networked technology just keeps growingnow almost anything at all can be connected to the network.

More than just a fad or buzzword, IoT is set to radically change every element of our lives, says Camilla Gulli, editor of Red Wire, Vodafones mobile technology blog.

Here are just six of the things revolutionising the way we train and play.

Wilson X Connected Football

This smart football helps you elevate your throwing performance in a gamified way. Theres a small sensor in the middle of the ball that records throwing velocity, spin rate, spiral efficiency, distance, catches and drops.

The ball pairs with an app where you customise your avatar and play five different games, after which you can view your ranking and stats.

Image: Flicker user Andri Koolme

Fitbit Blaze

This smart fitness watch is one of many watch and bracelet wearables on the market that help you monitor various facets of your workout, along with activities from your daily life that influence your health and fitness.

It constantly keeps track of your heart rate, connects to GPS to record where youre running and walking and has FitStar workout capabilities that give you step-by-step instructions and coaching.

The Fitbit Blaze also tracks your sleep, so you can make sure youre getting enough rest for peak performance.

Athos Wearable Fitness Technology

Athos takes a different approach to wearable fitness in the form of smart wearable clothing.

They make tight-fitting clothing items that are filled with sensors that detect your heart rate, breathing rate and muscle activity. And dont worry: You dont have to wear the same dirty clothes every time you work out. The entire Athos clothing line features a small core that slips into a pocket on Athos shorts (it works with any pair), and it connects with the sensors in each item of clothing. The core then wirelessly delivers data to your smartphone.

What stands out about Athoss system is that it shows you how much youre exerting yourself and specific muscles, as opposed to an overarching workout report which makes the clothes especially great for weight and resistance training.

UA SpeedForm Gemini 2 Record-Equipped

These UnderArmour running kicks track every single stride and second you spend working out and then they sync the data with the UA MapMyRun app. It captures your GPS information, time, cadence, duration, distance and splits.

It even notifies you around the 644-kilometre mark that its time for a new pair of shoes and you dont lose the data youve accumulated when you sync in a new pair, either.

Winners are workers. Period. ))

A photo posted by 94Fifty Smart Basketball (@94fifty) on

94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball

Few things sound as great as a basketball swishing into a net, and this balls goal is to help you make that splashing sound more often.

The ball which comes in both men and womens regulation sizes has sensors inside that measure your shot and dribbling. It then sends data to an app that instantly analyzes it and gives you feedback on what youre doing well and where you can improve. The company also offers a SmartNet that measures shot accuracy.

Shockbox Sports Helmet Sensors

The Internet of Things has led to many performance-enhancing technologies and devices, but its also led to developments that help keep us safer when we play. Like, for example, these helmet sensors provide immediate transmission to an app that keeps track of hit count and force of impact, so youll know when a player has experienced a hit that may have resulted in a concussion. That way, youll always know when to stop play and seek examination.

Currently, the company offers sensors for football, hockey, lacrosse and snow sport helmets.

Read more: http://mashable.com/2016/08/30/smart-sports/