Let us first understand what is meant by Motion Capture, and then we shall look at how it is useful in sports.
Technically, motion capture is the process or technique of recording patterns of different movements digitally. An example would be recording the movement of an actor and mixing the same with VFX effects to create a completely new scene.
Motion Capture uses sensors placed on the skin to record a person’s movements and translate those into computer animation.
Low latency and close to real time movements are the main benefits of Motion Capture. However, the disadvantage would be in terms of the cost of IT equipment and software.
How Does This Technology Help Sports?
The use of motion capture in sports started in the last decade, and has ever since been an integral part of various sports.
With sports being more data driven, motion capture has become an extension of the interest in and acceptance of performance analytics. The adoption of motion capture in the sports sector has been driven by injury prevention and recovery.
Apart from these, there has been an increased use of this technology for training techniques, talent improvement, and player performance analysis.
In a controlled environment, it is impossible for lab-based motion capture to factor in the more chaotic nature of sporting movements and the different scenarios dependent on the outdoor conditions and weather.
How to Minimize The Risk of Injuries?
To minimize the risk of injuries and/or to optimize performance, sports scientists, physios, therapists, coaches and athletes need detailed information on the specific limb or joint movements and angles while they are playing their game.
Motion capture here is the best way to capture these movements in real time, assess performances, monitor progress, adjust and even stop a session.
Some Examples of Motion Capture
Motion capture can be seen in soccer matches, where elite clubs use motion capture to determine the fitness of the team, the strategies for the game, the position of the players, and stimulate attacks and defence.
Motion Capture also plays an important role in substitutions based on the movements captured of the players. They also play an important role for Virtually Aided Reviews, which in the past were left to the benefit of doubt between the involved parties.
Strategy planning for attack and defence before the start of any major league match is the most important part. Players participate in these grooming sessions, where they are shown historical data from motion capture, along with analysis of their opponent players and teams.
The whole strategy planning happens based on this data.
If the opponent team is more defensive, based on the historical data from their past five or more games, then the planning would be more on the attack modes.
There is always complete focus on the key players, who are not only expensive to the clubs, but also the most important ones who can change the games.
Motion Capture data is also used to identify the best goal keeping techniques without causing injury to the goal keeper.
For individual athletic sports like pole vaults, javelin throws, disc throws, archery, sprints, steeple chases, the data from the motion capture will showcase more of the technique to achieve the precision required.
These sports are more related to technique and precision than speed and the distance covered. Physios and coaches use this data to determine the fitness level of the athlete, plan their training methods and also the right nutrition needed to achieve the goal.
With the advancement of technology, today we see the amalgamation of technology with human effort, directing the energy towards the right technique and goal.
With all the sensors and wireless devices capturing petabytes of data, which helps in analyzing, planning and tracking, it is only reasonable to predict that by 2025, motion capture and motion tracking will be firmly embedded in the fabric of sport.
The growth in the usage of technology can be seen across various levels of the sport and not just the top levels. Such motion capture technology offers even more significant gains in minimizing the risk of serious injury or improving technique than at the top levels.
Sharing all the data from motion capture efforts with players will give them more insights into their techniques and skills, thereby focusing their attention on specific areas they would need to work towards and focus on. Such focus will only help elevate their performances.
All in All
It is fair to say that motion capture will continue to stay in sports, and over a period of time we will only see further advancements in this. Motion capture is now integral to sports development.
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