Identify the technological developments for optimising sports performance over the last ten years.
1994 – The predator boot.
Designed to create more power, swerve and accuracy on the ball when kicking. The boots had small rubber fins, bumps which gripped the ball when kicked forcing it to gain a certain motion.
1995 – Titanium Pigment introduced in Tennis.
Titanium pigment is introduced do use for the lines on courts instead of chalk.
1996 – Super-bikes.
Bikes in motor-sport changes when the first lightweight materials were introduced to make the bikes with increasing speed and movement etc…
1997 – Shark-suits.
Neoprene suits are introduced into Olympic swimming, it is a full body suit which increases the dynamics of the swimmer and makes him/her more streamlined.
1998 – World cup football.
A new ball is provided by adidas for the world cup, officially named ‘the world cup ball’ its outer is made from a spongy layer which is then covered over by a form of thin leather. The ball has larger and less panels so that more movement can be generated on the ball.
2000 – Nike Vapours.
These are a form of football boot, introduced in 2000 by Nike. The boot offers a weight of 96 grams and is made from synthetic uppers. The boot is meant to maximise performance by increasing the quality of your first touch and making you run faster.
2003 – Playing jerseys.
Different playing shirts were introduced to the game adding benefits for both the game itself and the player wearing it, the first appearance was in the rugby six nations where England and France wore the new Nike Dry-Fit shirt.
Here I have decided to talk about differences between the Nike Vapour and the Adidas Predator football boots.
Nike Vapour Adidas Predator
We find here that the two boots are extremely different and have quite contrasting purposes. With the vapour being there to improve speed and touch of the ball the predator is made improve accuracy, swerve and power on the ball.
The vapours offer an extremely light touch and are made very basic and quite plain. They come in various colours and have very thin uppers. When being worn they are designed to give a comfortable fit and provide you with a light feel, almost as though there is nothing on your foot. Obviously they are very lightweight and at an official weight of 96 grams they are specifically designed to increase your speed and provide you with more of a feel on the ball.
* Increase speed
* Increase touch
* Fit to the contours of your foot
* Looks like something 1000 years from future yet somehow stylish.
* Injuries – The boot is very thin and doesn’t hold much protection making it easier to gain injuries. However, up to now there has been no professional known player to get injured which has caused criticism of the boot itself or Nike in that matter.
* Quality – The boots are known to fall apart quite easily as they provide no strengthened structure and are very basic.
The predators are quite a sturdy boot that offers a lot of comfort. They are made with a special surface on the front of the boot around the area that makes contact with the ball. these are fins/bumps positioned in different ways that grip the ball upon contact. Through doing this it creates spin on the ball which makes the ball move through the air. They also have a counter weight in the front part of the boot which helps to generate more power in ball as you follow through with your kick. On top of this the boot also has elements of protection around the ankle etc.
* Looks are very stylish.
* Quality – The Adidas predator is known for falling apart at the base/sole. For some reason the boot is prone to coming away from the sole just leaving the uppers.
* Injury – Obviously the biggest setback is injury, although it is rare the predator boot actually brought about speculation on the strength and protection that the boot provides to the player. This happened just before the 1998 world cup when David Beckham broke the metatarsals in his foot. Being a world famous player this brought people to believe and question the quality of the modern day boot. With Adidas suffering a slight setback in the popularity of their boot they finally came through to carry on selling the predator.
The main question being asked is more or less ‘Protection or performance’. All modern day boots have the same aim, to look good, and to have certain aims which improve your performance. The bots are concentrated on o hard now that they have lots of specific designs which improve or enhance certain aspects of your performance, whilst this is going on the protection of people’s feet and ankles is forgotten. And yet there is another point to the subject, people like George Best, Pele and Maradonna never had boots such as those sold today, certainly not Adidas or Nike! And in my opinion there is no player in the modern game that was ever as good as them.
A point could be raised here though which identifies the fact that realistically the modern game is a lot faster than what it was back then. So in a way maybe it does help that there are advancements in technology such as boots. However these advancements have only come about due to advancements elsewhere such as the quality of the pitches and how they are tended to and looked after. Also the quality of the balls, all of these are factors that creates a faster game, the grass is shorter, it is watered before every game, at the emirates stadium there is 1 piece of synthetic fake grass to every 3 real blades of grass, this helps preserve the pitch and keep it flatter. So from this maybe players need boots that will help them to deal with the faster environment
Below is an example of an old fashioned football boot, it weighed 600 grams, the Nike vapour now weighs 96, but do you think Pele cared? Ask him to swap boots with Thierry Henry.
Through the ages there has been a huge advance in the thought behind what the players wear while playing their sport. The matter of the playing jerseys escalated from simply being a different coloured shirt to differentiate the teams to a effecting the way athletes move and the forces that at on them as the play the game.
Below I go into further comparison on the advances in sports technology this time using the developments in the playing shirts as an example.
The image on the left is an example of the earlier playing shirts. These shirts were made from 100% cotton and were very bland in colour the positives and negatives of this shit are listed below
* The shirts did differentiate the teams
* The shirts were thick so could combat the winter conditions
* The material is strong and resilient
* Due to the thickness of the shirt during wet and rainy condition the shirt will soak up moisture and become wet and heavy restricting the players ability
* In hot conditions the shirt with gather heat making the player become hot
* The stitching quality so the shirt would regularly rip at the seems
The shirt just explained above had no thought into its construction and was not considered at the time to have an impact on the player or the game.
Due to technological research into the physics of sport, the technology and the thought put into the designing of the shirts has developed creating the advances you see today.
Below is the shirt that is now used mostly by the 2007 England international teams
Using the technology worn by England and France in the recent six nations, 2 distinct fabrications provide strength, mobility and a performance fit designed to allow the rugby player to perform to his maximum potential. The technology is a constant progression from the previous shirt. The advances have made it easy for the player to perform to show the benefits that technological research has had on the Rugby shirt I have again created the advantages and the disadvantages these are shown below.
* This shirt has the same technology as a wet suit but instead of water the material uses the players sweat to adapt the temperature of the shirt to the environment warms the sweat in the cold and cools it in the warm
* The shirt is skin tight making it harder to grab onto making the player more difficult to tackle
* the structure and design of the shirt allows the player to have easy movement to help him perform
* the material used is light weight and will not absorb much water
* the structure of the shirt allows strength in the
* Due to the discovery of the material lycra the shirt are stretchy allowing for more movement available to the player.
* The material is not indestructible can be ripped
* The materials and research into the shirts is expensive making the shirts costly.
In 1995 when rugby became professional it had a huge positive impact on the game, it brought more players into the game, as they knew that they can make a career of playing as they where going to be paid. More money can be brought into the game, which would mean more technological advancements etc. In 1996 with Leicester Tigers brining SAQ training into rugby, had a huge impact in rugby as it make the players faster and make them more able to evade contact, this would improve the speed of which the game is played, this is a huge positive for the game as it makes the game more exciting to watch and play.
When the sin bin was introduced in 1997, it had a both positive and negative affect on rugby. The positive affect is that, it will persuade players not to cheat as they and their team will suffer, as their team will be one player down for ten minuets and they will be off the pitch and not able to play. The negative is that sometimes referees get the decision wrong and sin bin the wrong player which can turn a game and make the team that deserves to win loose. The video replay and video referee has had a really positive impact on the game, it allows teams to sight opposition players for infractions, also allows referees to make the correct decisions.
Also the referee can look up to the TMO to see whether or not a team has scored a try. However the video replay can slow the game down, and can annoy fans and takes responsibility off referees and linesmen. The new light weight footballs for football designed in 2001, had a positive affect on the players, as it made it easier for them to get power on the ball with more accuracy and allowed them to do skills easier. However it made it harder for the goalies to judge the ball, also it took the players a while to get use to the new ball design and weight.
The new tight skin rugby tops made in 2003, had a huge positive for the backs and fast players when they where attacking, this is due to the fact that the shirts were so tight that the opposition found it hard to tackle them. However when the shirts first came out they kept on getting ripped, also only the top teams could afford these new shirts, so poorer teams, did not benefit from this new technology. The new pig boot sleeve developed in 2004, has improved all players kicking skills, in the sports that good foot too ball control is good, a draw back is that they look ugly and some player would be put off by how they look.
The new Gilbert rugby balls developed in 2005 had a positive affect on the players, as it made it easier for them to get power on the ball with more accuracy and allowed them to do skills easier. However it made it harder for the goalies to judge the ball, also it took the players a while to get use to the new ball design and weight. The new Piero system developed by the BBC in 2006, has helped players and teams with analysis of games and of opposition so they can help pick out weaknesses and strengths. However a negative is that not all teams can afford to use this technology so poorer teams will be at a disadvantage.