Smart Algorithms Might Turn Your Phone into Your Trainer

It’s high time to think of your mobile phone as your next athletic trainer.

Today’s athletes—from professional athletes to weekend warriors—are using the power of data to train smarter. And smarter doesn’t just mean an activity tracker that counts your number of daily steps. The future of fitness technology is something even better than that.

It’s about coaching you to have proper form and technique. It’s about finding out how much energy you exert during a workout to develop a unique training and recovery schedule. All of these benefits, in real-time, from the convenience of your smartphone.

Fitness wearables are transforming from the field of “connected fitness” to a new field called “connected coaching”. In the new world of connected coaching, exercise data moves from just being passively collected to being actively used to provide real-time coaching to athletes.

How is Data Changing the Landscape of Sports?

We were curious how data is helping athletes become stronger, faster, and healthier. To find out, we partnered with SiliconANGLE to talk with leaders from three innovative sports technology companies about the intersection of sports, technology, and data. Our video series, “SportsData Silicon Valley”, kicks off with a conversation with Steven Webster, CEO of Asensei (stylized asensei)!

His startup is developing a mobile app that measures an athlete’s biomechanics—such as technique, form, and posture—and uses this information to provide real-time coaching. By giving athletes access to elite coaching around the clock, asensei plans to transform how athletes train around the world. Here are a few nuggets from our talk. (Watch the full, exclusive interview with Steven Webster here)

“We don’t think technology is replacing coaches. We just think that coaches that use technology will replace coaches that don’t.” – Steven Webster, CEO, asensei

Personal data about our workout routines, alone, holds little value. What we really care about are the insights that we can glean. An athlete might wonder: Do I have the proper form or is my technique causing me to use more energy than necessary? A small detail, it may seem; in sports, though, poor technique can cost precious seconds that make the difference between winning and losing.

Emerging technologies are moving from biometrics to biomechanics—the technique, posture, movement and timing of athletes. Just as athletic coaches seem to see everything from their players, so to must connected coaching applications work.

The last time that you went to an athletic apparel store, did you make sure to ask for “dumb” apparel? Probably not. That’s why the new focus in smart apparel is something that’s seamlessly ingrained in clothes. The tipping point will be wearing a shirt full of sensors that feels the same as a normal shirt.

With this network of smart sensors, asensei plans to map out the movement and exertion levels of athletes. This information will work in conjunction with data from expert coaches to create a learning management system where athletes can train whenever and wherever they need.

To find early adopters of connected coaching technology, asensei is testing out its products with rowers. Rowing is a sport where the right technique and form mean everything. As Steven points out, “If you’ve got two rowers who, essentially have the same strength, the same cardiovascular capability, the one with the best technique will make the boat move faster”.

The good part is that many rowers also take part in other athletic exercises, whether weight lifting, biking, running, or yoga. Steven sees the door of opportunity wide open for data-driven athletic coaching for multiple sports.

Key Takeaway:

  • Connected coaching has a chance to transform athletic training by combining biomechanic feedback with expert coaching to create a digital learning management system that is responsive to each athlete’s needs.

Tune in to Our Next Episode of SportsData Silicon Valley!

Sports technology is transforming the way that athletes train and coaches coach through the power of data and real-time analytics. Check back with us on Monday, April 9th, to find out how computer vision is being applied to optimize professional sports sponsorships. We’ll see you then!