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Mitchell: Tech could help teams build better players

Okay, something new about me. I’m an amateur futurist.

I like to examine current trends and advances in technology and try to predict where they’re going to end up.

This is a bit of irony since I have a hard time trying to figure out what I’m doing the next week or so.

Drones

A buddy of mine posted a rather innocent picture online of a dirigible (or blimp) flying near Bentonville High School while the football team was outside practicing. The dirigible had one of the minions from the Despicable Me films depicted on the side, so it might have been an advertisement of latest movie.

My friend suggested that someone was spying on Bentonville.

Someday, he may not be far from the truth.

Technology becomes cheaper, smaller and faster with each generation. It’s just a matter of time before the tech reaches a point that a drone becomes cheap enough for a school or even a pro team to purchase one to use.

Drones will provide an excellent means to give coaches video from up high — a true bird’s-eye view. Sure, cameras used now give coaches a view from either side to side or an angle from one end zone.

GPS

The New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys are using GPS devices on some of their players.

No, it’s not to track them after practice to make sure they’re not getting into trouble. The Giants are using the devices to monitor the hydration levels of the players. The Cowboys are monitoring the energy levels for the receivers to see if they need to do additional stretching to make sure they’re not being overworked.

Okay, insert your own punch line here.

It won’t be long before these kinds of devices will be used more, not just for football, but for other sports as well. The devices will probably be implants as well.

Information is power. If a coach or a trainer know exactly how a player is performing, it’ll help them make a decision when and how to use that particular player. Additionally, players are an investment for owners. If there’s an additional level for owners to protect and insure that investment, it will happen.

Body Armor

Pads will become lighter and more durable. The military is making great strides in research and development to provide additional protection for our soldiers through the use of body armor.

Theses plates aren’t designed just to stop bullets, but to lessen the concussive impact of the bullets and explosions.

These could someday replace the materials used in football pads and other protective gear. It’s no surprise that the NFL and the military is teaming up to study concussions and develop a better helmet.

Tailor-Made Health

One recent article talks about a health specialist with the Razorbacks who is responsible for a diet and exercise regimen to help individual players. Each person is different and their bodies react differently to both internal and external stresses.

It is just be a matter of time before some of the bigger schools will bring in a nutritionist/health specialist to work with players and coaches. Why this hasn’t happened on a widespread level is rather surprising to me.

Another side of creating a tailor-made health is the use of extraneous chemicals like HGH. Some day chemists will devise the means to get chemicals into the human body and make it look like it’s a natural part of that person’s body. There’s already the means to do that, but it’s expensive.

Additionally, doctors or scientists will be able grow entire muscles to help replace the worn or torn ones in a body. The danger in that will be adding additional muscle just to make a person stronger and/or faster.

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