Artificial intelligence (AI) is a space that has seen rapid expansion and innovation within the past few years. This branch of computer science has caught on in several industries as a means to help machines perform tasks that typically require a human touch. As a multi-billion dollar industry, the sports sector has stood out as a key player in innovating artificial intelligence technology, and these solutions go a long way for streamlining processes currently begging for improvement.
While artificial intelligence is growing in popularity, many experts who are witnessing its growth firsthand recognize that not everyone is aware of how it can be used to great effect in the sports industry. Here, James Paul Adams, also known as Beau Adams, explores a few examples of innovative applications for AI in sports.
Streamlining Recruitment and Scouting Practices
As the founder of Breakout Athletic Network, a digital platform created to revolutionize recruitment through digital solutions, James Paul Adams recognizes that the process of scouting and recruitment is ripe for disruption. Statistics from past games can provide key insights to the potential of a player, and this is crucial for making the right decisions when recruiting top talent.
This is where AI comes in. One of the powers of artificial intelligence when used for recruitment is that it can pull from historical data from past games much quicker than recruiters can on their own. This information is essential for estimating the market value of players in an unbiased way. AI for scouting and recruitment can ensure that the best talent is given the attention that they deserve rather than having the process largely favor the most highly visible options. Remember, the most popular and talked about players are not necessarily the best players when it comes to metrics.
Taking the Guesswork out of Refereeing
Any sports fan knows the feeling of watching a game and witnessing a heavily disputed call. Refereeing is a difficult job in even the most perfect circumstances, and it is made even more tough with obstacles such as bad angles, pressure, and unconscious biases.
AI utilized for refereeing is one of the oldest proposed uses of the technology in sports, but the tech been seeing many innovations to make it suitable for the largest stages in the industry. One proposed use for artificial intelligence is limb-tracking technology that is meant to make offside decisions. This technology has seen a successful trial at the Arab Cup and is in talks for implementation for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. We have also seen AI used successfully in cricket, where hawk-eye technology can help determine if a batter is out with notable accuracy.
While it is unlikely that AI refereeing will completely replace human officiators any time soon, James Paul Adams speaks to how these innovations in the field will be great for supplementing existing practices. This will help ensure that more tough calls are made correctly, and this will undoubtedly have a great impact on the tide of close games.
Revolutionizing Coaching Strategies
Coaching is always easier when professionals have access to data that can empower them to push their teams to the next level. One of the primary ways that AI helps with sports processes is getting this crucial data to the coaches who can utilize it to dramatic effect via their training regiments. In the age of wearable sensors and AI-powered cameras, coaches have access to player statistics that they can pull from to keep their players on the path to improvement.
Information such as goals scored, rebounds, accuracy, and speed can all be captured via AI to give coaches an idea of where their players stand when compared to the competition. Machine learning is also catching on as a means to study opponent’s patterns, habits, strengths, and weakness is a manner that is both legal and fair. These insights can be huge for helping coaches make the right calls when it comes to game strategy optimization by informing them on what moves are likely to work best.
Personalizing Training and Diet Management
Within the past few years, AI has seen a boom in usage for training regiments and diet management for athletes. There are several apps out there gaining traction that are meant to personalize the training process by identifying the strengths and weaknesses in players’ routines, pointing players to high-quality exercises that fit their preferences, and even offering encouragement along the way.
Wearable technology such as smart watches can have also implemented AI to monitor one’s health on the field and serve as a great line of defense for helping to determine if players are developing issues such as cardiovascular or musculoskeletal diseases. The impact that this can have on the longevity of players’ careers cannot be overstated.
In terms of diet management, platforms have proven themselves as excellent methods for helping athletes evaluate their diets and ensure that their intake is working in tandem with their training regiments. People today crave variety in food, and these solutions have also shown that it is possible for AI to formulate meal plans that include different recipes and flavors without sacrificing taste.
What Will AI Mean for the Future of Sports?
With so much innovation in artificial intelligence happening so quickly, many experts and fans alike naturally wonder what the future of sports will look like. The simple answer is that AI will create an environment where sports processes can be highly optimized to lead to less mistakes or oversights occurring within the industry.
It is important to recognize that many innovations in AI are newly implemented and only time will tell what their final forms will look like as they take their place in the higher levels of sports. What is likely to happen is that these tools will be used by human professionals to better empower them to better perform key tasks. We have a vision of artificial intelligence as a means to replace existing people and processes, but James Paul Adams speaks to how it is most likely that they will serve as support — at least in the near future!
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