Video assistants for referees, heat card and bra-wearing athletes – what’s new in sport?
Boys and girls born at start zero competed at the Winter Olympics in China. The youngest athlete is 15 years old, and she is already fighting for medals.
In my childhood, the Olympics were always a big event. It fell in the early nineties. At that time, many peers chose sports as a medium «Escape “from reality and its problems. Some chose boxing and football, others – chess and climbing. Watching competitions on TV also gives a lot of pleasure. Generations change and the reality around us is changing. But none of us in our youth had an idea, To what extent will sport change under the influence of technology in the near future. Now we see how innovation opens new opportunities for athletes, helps them become faster, taller and stronger. Those who won prizes in Beijing already had access to developments that their predecessors could only dream of. Thus, utopia becomes a reality.
XG, VAEP, fbref and other abbreviations
Once I was lucky enough to watch a Champions League match in the company of good friends who appreciate and understand football very well. In general, when you watch football with people who know it well, it will not be the game on the screen that is interesting, but the conversation about it. Fan language is a separate world, which was not only interesting, but also useful. Heard every time during our review «Now the judge is going to go watch VAR, ‘It’s interesting to look at the heat map of the movement in the first half’, ‘He has XG down the base’. All of the above terms are directly related to the digitization of sports.
Digitization allows the improvement of the training process, physical and tactical training of football players to help coaches, analysts, scouts and physiotherapists. Today, artificial intelligence, data services, technological devices, and advances in cybernetics are introduced in this field.
VAR is one of the latest developments in modern technology – Video assistant referee, which is used in matches from 2018. The principle there is simple: each controversial episode of the game is shown on the screen, where the main referee can make a decision by studying the episode in the still image. A similar technique has long been used in hockey.
If 30 years ago a football analyst was a person with a pencil and a notebook, who constantly made some records during the match, now he is engaged in the selection and processing of data Football Data World Basically programmed. After all, the primary skill of this major is mastery of the Python programming language. With its help, the football player’s radar is built – a set of individual indicators is visualized: from the beaten distance for the match, the average speed and the amount of useful actions to the coefficient of expected goals. (XG – Expected Targets). Radar switched to football from the NBA. XG has been actively used in recent years. Simply put, it is a model that allows you to predict how many goals a team or player can score during a match. Dangerous judgments, threatening standards and unfulfilled moments are taken into account.
StatsBomb is an analytical information acquisition service. Here you can, for example, get great information about the players «Barcelona “and La Liga clubs in general. On their Twitter, they often publish new radars for individual footballers. However, there is a drawback – StatsBomb has enough aggregate statistics from the major leagues.
Fbref is an alternative free source, which offers several indicators already calculated based on event data. Starting with the 2017-2018 season, you can find aggregated metrics from all the top leagues here.
In 2019, at the International Conference on Data Analysis KDD-2019, a group of scientists from the University of Leuven with Scisports staff presented another metric – VAEP (Evaluate actions by estimating probabilities). The general public has not heard of it, but football analysts consider it an effective way to assess the actions of players on the field. This metric is based on a machine learning model that evaluates each player’s action with the ball on the court, and calculates how the ability to score and miss will change as a result of a given action. In short, a player’s score of +0.05 indicates that as a result of the player’s tactical and technical action, the probability of scoring a goal increased by 0.05. Accordingly, a score of -0.05 means that the action increases the opponent’s chances of scoring a goal with the same odds. Based on these ratings, the rating of VAEP players is determined.
Heat map of movement and athletes in bras
Another interesting digital innovation in football is heat map. Its task is to determine the effectiveness of the players. This is a schematic representation of multicolored geometric shapes – fractals. For example, if the right side of the field is dominated by saturation «Warm colour, so it was through the right wing that the team built up their attacks. The heat map provides an overall picture of the game, drawn by hand: a sophisticated manual motion analyzer monitors the match broadcast and records the activity of a particular team. Every successful job of a football player «He “remembers” by pressing the keys in front of his number in a special program. The cameras at this time monitor the speed of movement of the players. You can access the required heat cards, for example, on the professional WyScout platform.
In the photos of athletes from training sessions, which are often posted, you can see strange black tops, in uniform or on a naked body. People used to call them jokingly bras. This device is called Apex Athlete Series – GPS Tracker Manufactured by STATSports. It is widely used in professional football. The tracker is attached to the player’s back with the same upper part, and a computer program transmits and processes data about the player’s actions: how many kilometers are run, what is the pulse and heart rate, what is the body’s response to power struggles and fatigue. In addition, the tracker allows you to collect data for the said heat map, because it shows which part of the field the player was most often during the match. These devices are used today not only by football players, but also by rugby players, runners and marathons.
Artificial intelligence leads to the championship
But digital technology in team sports has gone far beyond collecting and processing information. Now the AI is putting together the entire football club. 2018, a modest Belgian «Union “of the first class was bought by British billionaire Tony Bloom. He developed a program that allowed the formation of an updated composition «Union “from candid names, cheap footballers and free agents. That is, the new owners almost did not spend on transfers, and artificial intelligence reassembled a team of free players and those who are worth a penny. This reminds us of the plot of one of the Hollywood films. «The man who changed everything ”with Brad Pitt: There too, with modest financial resources, the baseball team was assembled from unknown players with the help of mathematical calculations. In the history of the Federation, the crazy idea of the owners worked, and now the club is sensationally the first in the first division of the Belgian championship A little more and the championship in your pocket.Artificial intelligence proves its ability.
Tennis players with iPhones and the NBA digital arena
Digitization has not only affected football but also other sports. Last spring, Tennis Australia, the governing body for Australian Tennis, signed a two-year contract with SwingVision is a video analysis application based on artificial intelligence technology, which uses a smartphone camera to track the movement of the ball and the athletes. More than 2,000 Australian coaches have received free sign-ups. The program works offline by holding an iPhone or iPad out of the field for real-time video recording, while SwingVison provides feedback. Thus, players receive feedback on the direction of impact, body position and movement of the feet. Speed, impact type and rotation are also monitored. According to the developers, this year the program will be launched for Android.
Professional sports are still reeling from the effects of the pandemic. On New Year’s Eve, the World Youth Hockey Championships in Canada were canceled after two rounds of play due to the coronavirus outbreak. Many competitions are still held without spectators. NBA club «Toronto wild birds “ Solve the problem of empty wings with the help of new technologies. Developed in the club’s mobile applications «A digital arena for communication between the team and the fans. In the “digital arena” they will be able to communicate in a public chat, track statistics, participate in quizzes, make predictions for games, and buy tickets for the charitable fund. in the guide Toronto They say it is essential that fans around the world feel alone in the face of quarantine restrictions. Now similar representatives of “digital arenas” will be bought by other representatives of the NBA – “Portland” and “San Antonio”.
Hot winter in Beijing
The Winter Olympics began in Beijing in early February. Innovative technologies are changing even winter sports. Yes, developed by American biomechanics professor Jim Richards A computer program for skaters based on 3D rendering. 40 motion sensors are installed on the skater’s body, and 10 infrared cameras allow you to build 3D models of athletes on a computer screen. Thus, the training process is improved, because the coaches see all the subtleties of the figure skaters. In addition, the riskiest items can be designed to perform without endangering Olympians.
Many winter sports initially involve a large number of PCs, which eventually pick up speed and supremacy. For example, a group sled. Omega has been specially developed for this specialty Gliding speed recording technology. Each bead is equipped with a speed sensor, an acceleration sensor and a 3D touch gyroscope that determines the rotational speed. All data is collected in real time and displayed on the screen.
And for Canadian skaters, Treadsport Training Systems was developed in 2014 VR- simulator that simulates mountain passes. Thanks to the program, all the movements of the player and his physical condition are fixed. All this is necessary for coaches to make adjustments to training methods and rehabilitate the wards.
All this perfectly demonstrates not only the development of sports and sports technologies, but also how technology in general penetrates into all areas of our lives and becomes an integral part of them, allowing us to be Citius, altius, Fortius.
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