It was late 2011 when Sony Pictures released the movie Moneyball. A movie that followed General Manager Billy Bean (played by Brad Pitt) of the Oakland A’s. The Oakland A’s where an American baseball team hosted in Oakland and competing in the Major League Baseball. Having one of the lowest budgets in the Competition Billy was struggling with putting a team together. In order to form a team he ran into Peter Brand, an IT nerd with a new view on baseball. Peter had an IT solution for Baseball and together they made a cheap team of under appreciated players which could be able to win the competition. Although the movie was based on a true story Billy Bean and the Oakland A’s came close, but did not won the league.
IT in the sports grows immensely. A lot of the Top Elite teams competing in for instance the Olympics or the Champions league make use of IT facilities to influence their Sport. Teams keep big data bases about their opponents or use Video Analyzing Equipment to make state of the art analyzes of their matches. Making use of al these technologies sure improves the sport. But at what level?
Data allows us the improve the overall game. Already there are cases where it reduces arbitrary mistakes. Think about the hawk-eye in tennis or the video-referee in hockey. Using statistics makes the game more understandable for average people. Fans now a day can see all kinds of statistics about their favorite player. These statistics contribute to the overall experience of the Fans. IT also helps coaches make better and adequately decisions about their team. Adidas, for instance, provides a system with wearable devices that obtain information and show the coach which players are performing and which not. This information can really help a coach in a game.
Where are we heading with all these technologies in the sports? As long as we use technologies to improve the overall performance of the game I think we are heading in the right way. Arbitrary can improve with IT to reduce faults in decisions. By offering spectators more statistics it benefits the overall spectators experience. In the last part it can benefit the sporters and their coaches. By using all these new technologies players can become better, which results in games at faster speed and higher levels.
Big Data now a day is a “hot” topic. The list of positive influences of these data to the sport is long. As a trainer and a Coach I absolutely support these developments. It should benefit the sport and make sports a better game, but there is a point where I think we should not make IT influence the game. I draw the line at the point where we are going to use IT for future decisions of the sporters. Sport is a game of mistakes, and sport needs these mistakes to make it attractive. If we are going to tell players what to do, we might as well going to play sports with perfectly designed robots. For me the beauty of the game lies in that short split-second decision moment where a player shows that he is truly brilliant.