Why Modern Technology May Make You A Better Athlete


Today’s best professional athletes do not train harder than those that came before them, but they are trying to train smarter. Many of the world’s top athletes, and some high schoolers like me, are taking advantage of technological innovations that are helping them get in shape more effectively and efficiently.

One example of these innovations is ‘smart’ clothing that tracks an athlete’s performance. Athos, one of the pioneers in this category, produces smart shirts and pants that record vitals such as heart rate, body temperature, and breathing rate during a workout, as well as tells you what specific muscles are being affected by the exercise. A shirt-and-short combo from Athos’ costs about $547, making it a worthy investment for a professional but putting it out of range for most high school athletes.

Another innovation that is helpful to athletes of all levels and budgets are free apps that can help an athlete chart his or her performance. Two of the most popular are Homecourt and TopYa! Sports.

Homecourt, an app for basketball players, was unveiled by Apple at their latest event in September. Its uses include recording the number of shots made, as well as tracking where the shots occurred on the court. You can also register your stats and compete against friends and teammates who also use Homecourt. This app is especially exciting because this type of real-time motion-capture software was previously only available by using large, bulky camera and computers. Now, it can be done with just a single smartphone.

TopYa! Is an app I have personally used for lacrosse training, but it is compatible with a variety of sports, from lacrosse to soccer to volleyball. It is a more versatile app and enables any team or individual to post a customized athletic challenge, such as soccer juggling drills. The participating athletes then have to replicate the challenge and take a video of themselves executing it, which is analyzed by a software program that provides feedback such as “good pace!” or “try to simplify your motion.”

With all of these new ideas, I can only imagine what training technology will look like in a decade, and I am excited to see the crop of athletes bred from it.