Editorial Roundtable: The Xs And Os Of Performance-Enhanced Sports
This article was originally published on PSFK. Below are George Foreman III’s responses to the questions asked. Click here to read the full roundtable responses.
Performance analytics, LED-illuminated biosensors, smartcourts, wireless fitness devices, VR-assisted training, personalized hydration systems—the list of innovative performance products goes on and on. But how deep does (and can) the rabbit hole really go? Is the world of performance enhancement, especially where sports are concerned, seemingly endless? If not, in what stage do we find it in? How big is the market opportunity for the companies who have yet to join the performance-enhancement space?
“I know people use devices to closely monitor how hard they’re working, they will try new recovery techniques and even sleeping environments, test all the new-school recovery techniques, read up on nutrition trends, etc. To me it’s just another way of working hard, and when you work hard, you tend to get results. The rabbit hole goes very deep, but as long as it is all based on hard work, strategy, and making use of the latest technology, I don’t think it is a bad thing. In fact, it is a good thing. If you’re willing to go the extra mile and leverage the latest news and information, more power to you.”
NBA players are using wearables to monitor their sleep and recovery. NFL teams have set up sensory deprivation tanks inside of their gyms. Teams of all skill levels are using video analysis tools for improved play. But when will we begin to see available performance-enhancing services and technologies play off each other and start to integrate themselves into a comprehensive or all-encompassing suite? Are there any current partnership examples we can point to?
“We are in the age of the Internet of Things, and companies like NEST are showing us the benefit of connected technology and integration. So I would say fitness and sports will follow suit and go in the direction of some sort of an all-encompassing suite, but many of the latest performance-enhancing services are so specific and technical that it’s hard to imagine a company being successful at doing them all, they really are specialties. And when you’re dealing with the health and safety of individuals, it makes it even more important to master your craft.”
What might be the ethical implications of performance-enhancing services and technologies, if any? Do you foresee fans, athletes or organizations protesting them? If yes, how can companies argue in favor of them? Might they actually be a way to level the playing field?
“I think there are a lot of variables at play, and it may even vary from sport to sport, but what I know for sure is that not everyone gets an even playing field. It’s just never really existed. Nothing will ever replace good, honest, hard work. Many of the greatest athletes of all time came from nothing. It’s part of what drove them to work harder than their competition even if it wasn’t in the nicest facility or with the best nutrition. Certainly those things can help, but at the end of the day, those that are willing to really dedicate themselves to their craft will reach levels of success and fitness that will never be matched by a wearable or sleeping chamber alone.”