When you think of drones, most people naturally think of surveying or photography applications, but an area of exciting growth is utilising drones in professional sport.
Drones offer a whole new perspective for coaches, with the aerial advantage providing data previously unfeasible. With the 2020 NRL and AFL seasons kicking off, a number of teams have been accessing the innovative technology to improve their hopes of being the next season’s premiers.
The application of drones into the sporting environment was a relatively uncharted territory until recently. As teams are slowly accessing the technology and understanding the tactical advantage it offers to players, coaches and the whole game in general, we are going to see significant changes and developments in the standard of training. Access to the aerial perspective offers benefits not available from common methods.
The idea of scrutinizing training from above is not an entirely new idea. NRL coaches in the past have explored other technology to gain a bird’s eye view of their players, in order to obtain vital information. One of the most infamous attempts was by Rooster’s former coach Brian Smith, in preparation for the 2012 season, when he was photographed using a cherry picker to video players from a higher vantage point.
While at the time considered innovative, the team’s budget took an alleged $61,000 hit for the bulky piece of equipment. Teams needed a more effective and viable option.
In the past, a couple of teams were thought to dabbling in the technology, keeping it relatively under wraps, as they explored what drone technology could offer the sport. Traditional ground-level angles offer a narrow scope for assessment, with copious blind spots where coaches miss vital opportunities to improve their team’s movements and tactics so coaches naturally moved to views from above.
Why not continue with the Spidercam technology? Although the Spidercam is utilised on game days, it is not a viable option for training sessions. Teams frequently train on fields that are not the game field without the facilities or structures available for set up of the Spidercam. Drones provide a much more accessible option for teams as set up is minimal. Another challenge with the Spidercam is that it can only move vertically and horizontally. The maneuverability of drones offers superior results in comparison to the Spidercam, with the operator able to lock onto a specific target for explicit analysis.
The data acquired by the drone enables players to see how and where they are moving and examine the strengths and weaknesses of each player individually and within the team unit.
The advantage of being able to review plays from the drone perspective, allows for teams to see in depth the shapes they were making, space on the field and how the players were moving.
Teams need to stay ahead of the game in terms of technology used to have the best chance at understanding how they can optimally perform. Standard methods are not enough in a field constantly adapted and evolving. The use of drones allows coaches to gain a more comprehensive overview and are revolutionizing training analysis across professional sport
To supercharge your sport and use drone technology can ensure your team perform their best, give Aviassist a call on 1300 359 772