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William Matheuszik explains how technology influences sports

The experienced pilot shares with us his intake on the influence of technology on sports.

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Image: SportsRants

Sports and technology go hand in hand, thanks to the competitiveness of the athletes and the high stakes the world of sports if famous for. Watching game footage from 50 years ago shows us how sports, in general, have come a long way. In every sport from hockey to biking, the athletes now have decidedly more raw power, speed, and are more efficient and skilled.

Airline pilot and avid cycler, William Matheuszik, attributes the popularity of many sports well beyond their geographical boundaries to the power of technology. With his long experience in the airline industry, he has firsthand knowledge of how much technology has evolved.

It’s not just that the sports equipment is smarter,” he says, “but everything about the game is more enjoyable. The field, the weather conditions, the viewing experience, and even the athlete’s performance and safety are better because of technology.”

The experienced pilot shares with us his intake on the influence of technology on sports.

Virtual Reality

The role of virtual reality in sports goes beyond increasing the viewing pleasure of the audience. Important as that is, virtual reality offers a safer environment for athletes to practice and for coaches to experiment with their techniques. “We use virtual reality,” says William Matheuszik, “to train pilots all the time. But simulation software is not limited to pilots. Athletes, too, use it to enhance their skills and up their game.” 

Rather than risk injury in training, an athlete will use virtual reality to try out a rather difficult move or technique in a safe environment. And the data they collect about their performance helps them get better. As for fans, they can use virtual reality to get a more immersive experience and feel like they’re in the field. 

Rapid Prototyping

Sports equipment has undergone a revolution in terms of design, and performance. Still, many athletes feel the industry isn’t keeping up with their demands for a better, sleeker, and enhanced hardware. According to William Matheuszik, this is where the concept of rapid prototyping came into place. For example, a hockey player might need a custom pair of skates. With rapid prototyping, they can speed up the normally lengthy design process and get the custom skates in a short time. 

With the added advantage of technology, rapid prototyping now offers players and athletes new smart equipment that senses their every move and gives feedback about their flaws and potential areas of improvement. Neither the coach nor the athlete needs to wait for the new line of helmets or sportswear to roll out of the factory. Rapid Prototyping offers highly customized gear that helps them reach maximum performance in less time.

Making Tough Calls

As we all know, umpires and referees make mistakes. Some of these mistakes would be so controversial they might cost a team the championship. Thankfully, technology stepped in to save the day. “With a set of highly sensitive cameras,” says William Matheuszik, “and a computer system, we can track the ball’s trajectory and pinpoint the exact point it touches the ground.” This means more accurate referee calls and less grumbling on the side of the coaches and audience.

Relying on cameras and computers to call the shots in sports was first introduced in tennis. Whether the ball touched the line or not used to be a difficult decision to make when the ball is traveling at high speed. But the system was so successful in eliminating the guessing work out of these difficult calls, it was later adopted by other sports. Nowadays, it’s common for referees to consult with the system before making their judgment. 

Social Media and Athletes

While many people use social media to keep track of friends and family, athletes took this a step further. Platforms such as Twitter and Instagram are popular ways for fans to connect with their favorite players. As William Matheuszik points out, if the fans get something out of this, the athletes get a whole lot more. “It’s not just about strengthening their bond with the fans and building their personal brand,” he says, “many athletes use their social media pages to promote other brands and make money out of it.” 

There’s a lot of money to be made on social media for famous sportspeople who take the time to communicate with their fans. Before the internet, players would rely on their salaries and their sponsors as the main source of income. But with this technology, there are new streams of revenue available that they can take advantage of.

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