How has COVID-19 impacted sports technology for athletes?


Athlete innovation

Athletes and sports teams have traditionally been early adopters of technology as they strive for competitive advantages over their opponents.

Whether it be training equipment, wearables or performance tracking and management systems, athletes are, generally speaking, tech savvy and open-minded about the benefits of embracing new technology.

Coronavirus has triggered a period of reinvigorated technological innovation in sport, as it has in just about every other industry on the planet.

Breakthrough sports technology

As the pandemic took hold, sports innovation accelerated. In the US, we saw the development of a new face shield and mark for NFL players, designed by Oakley using ballistic-grade materials, to reduce the risk of virus transmission between players.

And in the NBA, players have the option of wearing smart-rings that will monitor key indicators such as body temperature and heart rate, after research showed it may detect symptoms of coronavirus up to three days earlier than otherwise might be possible.

Professional athletes have also been using innovative technology to maintain peak physical condition, utilising training programs on Zoom, communication tools like Slack, Zwift e-racing, and Lumin Sports products like Arc and Phila, which coaches and high performance managers can use to monitor, manage and make sense of athlete performance and wellbeing data.

Members of the pro women’s cycling team Tibco-Silicon Valley Bank said COVID-19 has impacted their ability to train, and forced them take on technology in a new way.

Team member Sarah Gigante told Lumin Sports’ podcast The High Performance Project that she has embraced using Zwift with her training. 

“That's really kept me going,” Sarah said on the podcast.

“I’ve hardly ever trained solo. That was one thing I struggled with to start with – all the solo riding. Now I’ve just been riding the ergo so much, and even listening to some good audiobooks, which has kept it interesting.”

Jenelle Crooks was one of the team members not able to attend the team’s training camp in the US earlier in the year.

Speaking from the Gold Coast in Australia, she said the team has been using Slack to stay in touch and keep track of progress, as well as Lumin’s Phila app to feed performance and wellbeing data back to Head Sports Director Rachel Hedderman, who is based in the US and can monitor player wellbeing using Lumin’s Arc product.

“In terms of communicating with staff it’s easy using the Lumin app,” she said.

“Putting in details takes five seconds in the morning and evening, and gives a quick daily update so Rachel can come in at a quick work and check in with us at the end of each month… I think we’re going pretty well at keeping connected for the most part.”

Shannon Malseed has used the COVID-19 downtime in Australia to work on mindset, and has started meditating and journaling.

She’s also found the Lumin app useful to track mood and understand how that correlates with performance.

“I've really found it super helpful, too, on the Lumin app, having those questions around the mood and (being able to) go back and say, ‘OK, I lost motivation a few days ago … and then I pushed on and I kept going without really addressing it. And then I sort of fell into a heap and then it started to affect me physically, too.

 “So for me, the physical is very highly correlated with what's going on mentally. So it's good to have that as a measure to go back and look at … (it’s) another training measure. 

“And having Rachel be able to look over it, too – there has been a few times where she’s reached out and said, ‘hey, I noticed this happening, how are you doing? How are you feeling now?’ It's really nice to have her checking in too.”

How could sports technology help your athletes post pandemic?

Sports teams from amateur through to elite teams and programs can use Lumin products to gain competitive advantages and maximise performance.

Lumin products can also be used to monitor and boost wellbeing across teams, and make it easier to operate as a cohesive unit, despite COVID-19 restrictions.

Contact Lumin today to discuss how our technology solutions can help your team.

Why are teams across the globe choosing to work smarter with Lumin?

Rachel Hedderman

"As a professional cycling team we have athletes based all over the world, and at times we don’t see them in person for several weeks during the season or months during the off season, and even longer in the current climate. The Lumin Arc platform and Phila app allow us to simplify and centralise both qualitative and quantitative data on the athletes and is a valuable tool for us both for helping with team selection decisions, but also for general monitoring of the athletes health and well being."

Team TIBCO-Silicon Valley Bank
Director Sportif
Matt Hass

"We joined Lumin early in the development of their Arc platform as we believed that Arc has tremendous potential in the AFL. As a decision maker in the club, I need key player data presented and available to me at any given time, this is something that Arc has shown extremely strong potential."

Adelaide Football Club
Head of Performance
Ryan Gibbons

“As an athlete I find it incredibly powerful to have the access to my data that all of my coaches also see. It allows me to understand the importance of training and trends in a visual form. The relationship between Dimension Data now NTT and Lumin has been very powerful for athletes and the team as a whole.”

NTT Pro Cycling
Kevin Poulton

"Lumin's ARC platform is a game changer in professional cycling. Arc has given our team real insights into the athlete’s performance and how they are feeling and training every day. This has and will continue to improve our decision making in a globally disparate team."

Powerhouse Cycling
World Tour Cycling Coach
Andy Warr

"We have been working with Lumin since early 2018. Working with our purpose built data collecting tool, Lumin have given our Head Coaches and Key Decision Makers in the team access to visualisations of key performance data in near real time."

Australian Institute of Sport
Chief Engineer in Sport and Technology
Doug Ryder

"We are a sport and a team with such a diverse work force which is geographically dispersed. Keeping in touch with each other is critical , every day that a rider is not able to train is a day lost to the team and to the rider. Technology and the partnership with Lumin has enabled us to be more connected than ever in a meaningful and relevant way, keeping us on the road."

NTT Pro Cycling
Team Director
Jarryd Wallace

"I can comfortably say that Lumin has saved us well over 40% in time spent collecting and preparing data, meaning we can spend more time putting the data to use."

Adelaide Football Club
Sports Science & Conditioning Coordinator

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