Vieira, Hierro, Cafu and a SMART BALL at the 2014 FIFA World Cup
This year’s World Cup is definitely off to a great start with lots of exciting moments, surprising results and great goals. What I am equally excited about is that we are seeing the most technologically advanced World Cup in history. Goal line technology was put in use for the first time with Karim Benzema’s goal against Honduras, social media is taking the center stage and the most advanced uniforms yet are being used – however, to me it’s what you don’t see that is even more exciting.
Technology in sports is what gets me up in the morning. I am really lucky to be working in adidas’ miCoach team, taking care of the miCoach elite Team System which is the first of its kind that uses integrated fabric heart rate sensors and collects physiological data sending it in real time straight to a coach’s tablet on the side-line. The system not only provides real-time insights during training, but tracks total training impact, collects and manages data and is highly portable.
Our miCoach elite Team System measures everything from power, speed and distance to heart rate, acceleration and field position, allowing key insights into player performance and work rate, helping teams achieve and maintain peak physical performance. It is an essential tool to ensure that all the players in the team maintain peak physical condition, manage fatigue and avoid injury through over training during what is sure to be a grueling few weeks for all the teams.
The SMART BALL at the FIFA World Cup
During this year’s World Cup, the adidas miCoach elite Team System is being used by teams in training for the first time, including Germany in collaboration with EXOS, Mexico, Argentina and Japan. As the Senior Product Manager and as part of the team that built and continues to improve the system, I am extremely proud to support the teams using the system as a tool help them reach their performance goals in the quest to win the greatest sporting prize on earth.
Another miCoach innovation that is being brought to light at the World Cup, although not by the teams, is the miCoach SMART BALL. For those of you who don’t know, SMART BALL is the first ball that, with its integrated sensors and Bluetooth capabilities, allows you to see the speed, trajectory, spin, impact point and curve from a dead-ball kick for training penalties, free-kicks, shooting, corners, long passes or goal kicks. Together with the app, it also gives you tutorials and tips on how to improve your kicking. It really is an amazing piece of equipment and we have been sharing this innovation and having some fun with some of the legends of football who have visited our adidas headquarter in Rio over the last couple of days.
So far we’ve had Patrick Vieira, Fernando Hierro and Cafu take part in a miCoach SMART BALL Power Challenge and, believe me, these guys can put their foot through a ball. Vierra managed a blazing 111 km/h! It is truly amazing to see them do their thing. It’s safe to say that they have been nothing short of amazed at this technology. None of them wanted to stop playing with it. Cafu insisted on taking one home with him and they all commented on the potential this ball has to change the way young and elite footballers are able to understand and learn how to kick a ball. You can follow these guys as they take on the SMART BALL Challenges as well as the live show from the dugouts at #postoadidas on YouTube here.
I hope this has given a bit more of an insight into what adidas miCoach is up to in Brazil and how we are continuing to push the boundaries when it comes to technology in sport. I am looking forward to continuing to support the teams using the system, learning form their experiences to improve the product and hopefully we will see one of them lift the trophy on July 13! In the meantime, check out the miCoach blog where I will share additional updates as the FIFA World Cup progresses.