Get fit with smart sports

Garner greater in­sight into your sport­ing skills

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

Fit­ness track­ers have been one of the great tech­nol­ogy suc­cess sto­ries of re­cent years, with dozens of at­trac­tively de­signed fit­ness bands and sports watches now of­fer­ing a va­ri­ety of high-tech fea­tures for mon­i­tor­ing your per­for­mance dur­ing ex­er­cise. How­ever, most fit­ness bands and watches are sim­ply de­signed as gen­eral-pur­pose de­vices for use in the gym or when you’re out run­ning. They’re fine for check­ing how far you run or walk each day but, of course, there are many peo­ple who fo­cus their ef­forts on other sports that may re­quire more spe­cialised fea­tures and equip­ment.

Ap­ple is clearly aim­ing at a more se­ri­ous sport­ing au­di­ence with the new Se­ries 2 ver­sion of the Ap­ple Watch. The orig­i­nal Watch was lim­ited by the need to pair it with an iPhone, which im­me­di­ately ruled out it out for many sports as you could only use it if you also had an iPhone strapped to your arm the whole time. How­ever, the Se­ries 2 has built-in GPS, which means that you can leave your iPhone safely at home and use Watch Se­ries 2 to mon­i­tor speed and dis­tance trav­elled for run­ning, cy­cling, hik­ing and many other sports. Ad­mit­tedly, Ap­ple’s got plenty of com­pe­ti­tion here, with prod­ucts such as the new TomTom Spark 3 range, which in­cludes a num­ber of mod­els be­tween £120 and £220 that are de­signed for a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent sports. Garmin is another big name here, with its high-tech Fenix watches that look like some­thing out of a James Bond film and are even more ex­pen­sive than the Ap­ple Watch. Of course, the other big im­prove­ment in Watch Se­ries 2 is that it’s wa­ter-re­sis­tant. That opens it up to an en­tirely new au­di­ence, in­clud­ing peo­ple who sim­ply swim for fun and ex­er­cise, as well as more com­pet­i­tive swim­mers. There are a num­ber of fairly con­ven­tional fit­ness bands that are wa­ter­proof and can be used in the pool, such as the Swim­mer’s Edi­tion of the pop­u­lar Mis­fit Shine (£85), but the more com­pet­i­tive swim­mer might want to look at a spe­cialised swim­ming watch, such as the Garmin Swim (£130),

which can track your speed and dis­tance, and also an­a­lyse the ef­fi­ciency of your swim­ming strokes to help you to im­prove your per­for­mance in the pool.

Take your best shot

Of course, not all sports are about speed. Though you can cover a lot of ground when play­ing ten­nis or golf, that’s less im­por­tant than the ac­cu­racy of your putting or your two-handed back­hand (and the less said about the Eng­land squad’s record on penal­ties, the bet­ter).

There are quite a few smart de­vices de­signed for golfers, in­clud­ing hand­held sen­sors and watches that can com­pile sta­tis­tics such as the num­ber and dis­tance of shots as you progress around a course. But, if you want to im­prove the ac­tual qual­ity of your shots, you can try the pop­u­lar Zepp Golf sen­sor, which was re­cently up­dated to ver­sion 2 (£140) – don’t buy the old ver­sion 1 by mis­take. This at­taches to your glove and mon­i­tors the full 3D move­ment and speed of each swing so that the Zepp app can of­fer tips on how to im­prove.

Zepp makes a sim­i­lar sen­sor for ten­nis, and another for baseball play­ers. The for­mer at­taches to the rac­quet han­dle in or­der to an­a­lyse your speed, back­swing, and spin (or lack of it). It also has a spe­cial ‘serve’ mode that an­i­mates your ser­vice ac­tion on your iPhone screen so you can see where all those dou­ble faults are com­ing from. Babo­lat makes a ten­nis rac­quet with a built-in sen­sor, but that ob­vi­ously lim­its your choice of rac­quet and will only ap­peal to hard­core Babo­lat fans.

Yes, you can even get a smart foot­ball too. There are a num­ber of wearable sen­sors that you can use to mon­i­tor your move­ment and speed on a foot­ball pitch, but if you re­ally want to get se­ri­ous then the Adi­das MiCoach Smart Ball has a sen­sor in­side it that can mea­sure the speed, spin and tra­jec­tory of ev­ery sin­gle kick. That data is then trans­mit­ted to your iPhone and an­a­lysed by the Adi­das app, which can of­fer ad­vice and drills to help you im­prove. It’s a lit­tle pricey at around £140 per ball, but we’d sug­gest that this week’s Eng­land Man­ager, [In­sert Name Here], buys a bunch of these for Rooney and the lads.

There are more ad­vanced de­vices too, in­clud­ing mo­tion-cap­ture sys­tems that can mon­i­tor ev­ery move­ment of your en­tire body in or­der to im­prove per­for­mance or re­duce the risk of in­jury. That’s get­ting more into the realm of pro­fes­sional sport, but most of the de­vices we’ve men­tioned here are af­ford­able enough for many am­a­teur ath­letes. Of course, buy­ing one of these de­vices doesn’t au­to­mat­i­cally make you bet­ter at your cho­sen sport. How­ever, it can at least show you ar­eas where your skills are lack­ing and need to im­prove, af­ter which the rest of the ef­fort to get there is up to you.

Ap­ple Watch Se­ries 2 ups its game when it comes to ex­er­cise. All mod­els are wa­ter-re­sis­tant to 50m.

Zapp’s Ten­nis sen­sor tracks and analy­ses your swing and of­fers three-di­men­sional anal­y­sis to help im­prove your racket po­si­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.