SportTechie Netherlands Meetup

Technological innovations in team sport: a blessing or a curse?

Tuesday January 17th StrijpS, the creative centre of Eindhoven, was the location for the first SportTechie Netherlands Meetup. Over 40 sport enthousiast joined this first US-Dutch combined meetup with DashTag as host and firestarter to discuss the effects of technological innovations in football.

Technological innovations in team sports are hot. Wearables, apps, camera technology, drones, big data, smart fields… Technological solutions are there and they’re growing fast.

As co-founder of DashTag I really embrace the significance of an open discussion about the changes and trends in sport: What is the actual impact of additional information on the individual athlete? Does it improve the engagement in sport participation or performance? And is it only accessible for the competitive sporters or does it also apply for social sporters?

At DashTag, we have a clear focus entering this traditional and rather reluctant, but beautiful sport, bringing engaging technology to every football player in the world. It’s designed for the young player, who wants to become the next Messi, but also the kid who just loves to play and wants to know how he’s doing. It differs from the ambition of a regular Champions League football club like PSV Eindhoven or an ambitious Football Federation as the Dutch FA.

PSV’s data scientist Ruud van Elk was one of the two keynote speakers, giving us insights about how they were implementing all sorts of technology to get the best out of their players. From positional data generated on their smart field, to the way they measure sleep in order to know the players wellness record.

And inspiring speaker number two: Laura Jonker, manager Research and Intelligence at the Dutch FA, the KNVB. She was the first full-time assigned person within a sport federation to use research as the input to develop and determine soccer policy. Driven to build a bridge between sport science and sport practice she published articles, held workshops and has a permanent column in the Sport & Strategie Magazine. Today she’s responsible for innovation on the brand new KNVB Campus.

After the three presentations and the break the active and open minded audience was friendly forced to participate in a open discussion round some statements. To give you an idea of the level of participants, there were several data scientists from football and field hockey, former professional football players, coaches, marketing managers, scouts and active football players attending, a nice mix of the football scene.

The statements as ‘additional information for the individual athlete improves the engagement in football participation’ and ‘only competitive sporters benefit from personal stats’ were highly discussed and substantiated, with everyone involved, including the keynote speakers.

We hit it off really well this first meetup and I’m very positive this has it’s effect on the general discussion about technological innovations. DashTag found in SportTechie a real good partner to keep this conversation going, not just in the Netherlands. Our ambition is to rollout also in other countries to every playing football fan over the globe. May 17th is the date for Meetup #2. Hope to see you there.

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