Big Data and Innovation in Sport Software

Innovation, Big Data and Digital are the current ‘sweet spot’ for enterprise. But, these three focal points are also the ‘sweet spot’ for global sport.

All three are directly linked to each other and in the context of sport, whether elite, community or somewhere in between, a good combination of these three focal points is critical to both strategy design and execution.

The combination of Big Data, Digital and Innovation strategy and execution gets us closer to customers, closer to the community and closer to winning the big games and gold medals we desire.

Governing organisations around the world are typically tasked with increasing participation and increasing performance (aka winning!).

We are seeing some fantastic examples of ‘the sweet spot’ for sport with the work IBM’s been doing with tennis, the wearable devices like Electrozyme and Catapult we’re seeing in both the consumer and elite sector, and many companies concentrating on ‘connecting with fans’.

An example of the ‘sweet spot’ for sport: IBM’s Australian Open Slamtracker.

These and numerous other examples are great to see as they strengthen the sporting ecosystem at large.

The opportunity to diversify revenue models, deliver greater value to customers or even predict the performance and injury outcomes of our top sports athletes presents a massive opportunity for sports technology innovative companies.

And there is always going to be a role for the delivery of unique value in sport, or any other industry for that matter.

So the role of innovation in sport, is really about strengthening and growing the entire ecosystem, as well as continually increasing the value that participants (athletes, teams, organisations, sponsors, fans, media etc.) within the global sporting ecosystem receive.

For this to occur, within new or existing organisations, the combination of solid strategy, with the skills and resources to execute on Big Data, Digital and ultimately the delivery of Innovation are needed.

The Sportlomo team follow all the latest innovations in performance technology, sports IT, sports players measurement, nutrition and anything that gives us an edge on the field, pitch, court, grounds, pool and track.

SportLoMo thinks of itself as an innovative technology company contributing to the participation of grassroots sports.

The team enjoy working at the cutting edge of sports software and helping little leagues, colleges, schools and teams maximise their impact in their community.

Tennis to challenge Cricket and Football in India

By Shilpa Kannan Business reporter, Delhi (business in sport)

Tennis to challenge Cricket and Football in India

India and tennis may not be two words you would automatically put together, but the excitement and razzmatazz here in Delhi have shown the sport is ready to launch a challenge to other attractions such as cricket and football.

From beating the dhol (traditional Indian drums) to ear-splitting music with a DJ, there was plenty of off-court entertainment for tennis fans attending the inaugural International Premier Tennis League (IPTL).

But this is not a regular championship.

With brightly coloured uniforms, laser light shows, Bollywood dance numbers and, more importantly, a quick-fire format, the five-set match ends in roughly three hours.

Watching legends Roger Federer and Pete Sampras live was a first for Indian fans. The country is not in the Grand Slam network. But the organisers are hoping it will win millions of new fans to the game of tennis.

Peter Sampras
And on the ground, with more than 10,000 spectators in the stadium, there was a strong show of support for the first IPTL. Tickets sold out online within minutes.

The big selling point of this new format game is that it’s a franchise-based tournament with a mix of celebrity team owners, offering a chance to see current and former international stars play together.

Fun for Federer

But what do players make of it? Roger Federer says it’s not going to replace how current big names play the tour.

“But it definitely has a place in our sport,” says the Swiss star. “To have more interaction, more fun, different rules, you know you bend it, customise it, so it works for everybody involved.”

Roger Federer says there’s a place in the tennis world for these new tournaments

He says while it’s a very interesting concept, he likes “the idea of it being in a part of the world where you don’t see that many tournaments after all”.

He adds: “It’s a really fascinating part of the world, for us to come here and those who want to play in the off-season can do it, and those who don’t want to do it don’t have to.”

Back at the stadium, pundits say they expect watching Federer in action to inspire a generation of young tennis players.

Unlike in cricket – where Indians are fiercely nationalistic – sports like tennis are popular irrespective of the player’s nationality. So Roger Federer is treated like a rock star here.

Tennis is Child’s play

But away from the stars, it’s a different story.

Tennis, like most other sports, has to vie for attention in cricket-obsessed India.

Aspiring players face huge challenges from finding good courts to the right coaches. And even when parents find academies, they can start at as little as $10 (6.65) to participate but some cost up to $100 an hour for private coaching.

To make it a career, parents have to be ready to spend serious money, including on travel and hotel expenses.

Delhi resident Jahnavi Mehra says her 12-year-old son Rohan plays tennis at a national level. So she spends a lot of time and effort making sure he is sent to the right tennis camps and is able to travel to various championships around the country.

Her younger son Dhruv is six and also plays.

It’s getting increasingly tough to make sure both boys get enough opportunities, she says.

But the bigger problem is for parents who don’t have this kind of money or access to events. So in a way, it is an elite sport in India.

While there are sports scholarships, they are limited to very few cities and not everyone can get them. But Gayatri Singh, whose son Ishaan plays, feels things are beginning to change for the better.

Tennis Coach with Kids

Tennis mum Gayatri Singh says it’s getting easier for children in India to play tennis

“Things have drastically changed in India,” she says.

“If you want to play tennis here, there is now enough in terms of infrastructure, courts, coaches. There are so many children playing, so you don’t feel like you’re the only one. You can make it big – if you pursue it the sky is the limit.”

But the bigger picture is less rosy. The country’s tennis authorities have been embroiled in numerous controversies over recent years, including player selection issues and accusations of favouritism.

So consistent international success has been elusive and the best performances have been largely restricted to doubles events.

But for top Indian players, the launch of three private leagues is great economic news as its offers them a chance to earn a lot more money.

New opportunities in Tennis Leagues

Rohan Bopanna started young and has done well in various ATP World Tour events in doubles competitions. The 34-year-old thinks the leagues provide an opportunity for players like him to play with imported talent and improve their own skill levels.

So with things improving for the sport, can tennis be financially feasible as a career for young Indians?

Bopanna agrees that the situation has improved compared to when he started playing, but says that India still has “a long way to go to catch Europe or the US”.

Rohan Bopanna and mixed doubles partner Sania Mirza played for the Micromax India Aces in the IPTL

The difficulty for youngsters choosing tennis as a fledgling career is that India does not have enough entry-level tournaments that offer substantial cash prizes.

So financing for a full-time tennis player is hard. Bopanna says he is grateful for the support of his parents, whom he acknowledges had a tough time helping him pay his way.

“Without them I wouldn’t even have gotten here. They made a lot of sacrifices,” he says. “So we definitely need a lot of corporates to come out and help sportsmen in India, that’s the only way sports will grow in India.”

Critics often say players in India make it big because of their individual effort, and that there is no system in place to produce champions.

However, the government is taking notice of the increased interest in sports like tennis, and has increased the budget allocation to develop sports by nearly 50%.

If sport federations and business corporations get behind the sport in the same way as the glitzy private leagues, then it will definitely be advantage tennis in India.

Well done to our Ulster Rugby on their Kit Sponsorship deal

Kingspan to become main Ulster Rugby Kit Sponsor

Pro12 club Ulster Rugby have today (February 18, 2015) announced new rugby kit sponsorship deals with Kingspan and the Bank of Ireland. The new four year deals will see Kingspan become main jersey sponsor, while Bank of Ireland, who are currently on the front of the jersey, will have branding on the back of the shirt.

Kingspan have been associated with Ulster  Rugby since 1999, while Bank of Ireland have been a sponsor for the last 18 years.

The new agreements will bring in record shirt sponsorship revenue for Ulster.

Well done to Ulster Rugby, a  rugby client of SportLomo.

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Ireland beat West Indies in great start to Cricket World Cup

Ireland beat West Indies in a four-wicket Victory.

Posted by Vivek Kumar On February 16, 2015

Ireland yet again took the Cricket World Cup by storm as a brilliant batting display secured a four-wicket victory over the West Indies in Nelson, New Zealand on Monday.

Set a formidable target of 305 after letting their opponents break free from an early stranglehold, Ireland showed the strength of their batting line-up as Paul Stirling (92), Ed Joyce (84) and Niall O’Brien, with an undefeated 79, got Ireland home with 25 balls to spare.

Just like in Bangalore four years ago, Ireland chased down a total of over 300 and yet again it was John Mooney that hit the winning runs after Ireland suffered a little wobble in the sight of the finishing line.

Ireland now own three of the six 300-plus run chases in World Cup history after they also chased down a huge score to beat the Netherlands in Kolkata in 2011.

Paul Stirling scored a century that day at Eden Gardens and the Middlesex opener was again key to the chase against the Windies, with his knock of 92 coming off 84 balls.

Joyce took advantage of the short boundaries at the Saxton Oval to make his 84 runs off 67 balls, while Niall O’Brien was coolness personified in bringing Ireland home, his unbeaten 79 coming off just 60 balls.

Having won the toss and inserted the West Indies, Ireland then reduced their opponents to 87 for five in the 24th over, with left-arm spinner George Dockrell taking three wickets.

A knock of 102 from Lendl Simmons, a nephew of Ireland coach Phil Simmons, helped rescue the Windies’ innings and he put on 154 for the sixth wicket with Darren Sammy to help them finish on 304 for seven from their 50 overs.

Ireland Cricket Team now bid to make Quarter Finals.

Ireland will now target victory over fellow Associate side UAE in Brisbane next week as they bid to make the quarter-finals.

The 5 Deadliest Kettlebell Sins

Andrew Read Contributor – Master RKC, Athletic Adventurer

When it comes to lifting things to get stronger, there is little difference between one tool and another. The body doesn’t recognize the tool, only how hard it has to work to lift whatever it is you’re holding.Therefore, a solid strength-training plan for a barbell should be transferrable to kettlebells and vice versa. Having said that, there are some things a kettlebell is extremely good for, as well as some smarter ways to put them in your programming.

Here’s a list of the top five sins of kettlebell programming and how to counter them in your own training.

Doing Isolation Movements

Nothing makes me more infuriated than when I see someone doing a “kettlebell” workout that includes triceps kickbacks, bicep curls, and lateral raises. Yes, you can use a kettlebell for those movements, but they’re not good choices. Far better choices for kettlebell exercises are whole-body compound lifts such as the clean and press or clean and jerk, or higher-rep ballistic movements like the swing or snatch.

“For some gym skills, YouTube will work just fine, but for kettlebells? Not so much.”

The real goal when training kettlebells is to work movements and not muscles. Every single exercise in the RKC system (done correctly) is a whole-body exercise. By teaching the body to link together and become one piece, rather than act like a Frankenstein-like assemblage of multiple parts, you will be far more suited to many athletic tasks than if you spend your time doing isolation training. Many big names in training science such as Stuart McGill have done some amazing research pointing out just how incredible kettlebells can be for whole body training if used correctly.

Using Two Kettlebells for Everything

One of the great things about kettlebells is the way they allow people who may not have the mobility to use barbells to still do pressing in their workouts. Two kettlebells give you more space to move around and find a position that suits you than a barbell does.

The 5 Deadliest Kettlebell Sins

But if you’re like most people, and you’re more than just a little stiff or tight, one kettlebell works even better. Training on one side provides a lot of wiggle room to fit your body around the bell. This allows even those who might not be able to train bilaterally at all to still get in some decent work.

“The real goal when training kettlebells is to work movements and not muscles.”

If you look at all the main kettlebell certifications – RKC, SFG, and the new Strength Matters certification – they are all single bell at level one. While you may think that is too easy, a single bell forces you to constantly work hard to fight rotation and prove you are stable and in control. Many find some movements even harder with a single bell – for example, squatting holding the bell in the rack on only one side – than they do working with doubles, which tend to balance you out.

The single bell ties in well with what I think of as the dual goals of kettlebell training – strength and movement. While you may gain more strength by training with two bells, the single bell forms a solid platform for FMS-based strength training. In fact, single-bell training is the quickest way I’ve yet seen to address the four fundamental patterns of the screen (active straight leg raise, shoulder mobility, trunk stability push up, and rotary stability).

Doing Your Strength and Conditioning Separately

One of the great things about kettlebells is the ability to combine strength and conditioning into the same routine. But I often see bad programming that has strength work performed first and conditioning work done last. The idea behind this is that you aren’t too fatigued for the strength part of the workout.

A well-programmed kettlebell workout ties both these facets together, though. Much like how the body works. There is a seamless interaction within the body from lifting something up off the ground once and continuing to move it for a period of time. The systems of the body just do what is needed to allow you to do the work.

A great example of this is a workout like Dan John’s 10,000 Swing Workout, which combines hundreds of swings per session with low-rep strength moves like pressing or squatting. For time-poor people this approach can help them achieve a lot with a relatively low time investment.

Kettlebell Squats

Learning Off YouTube

The information age is amazing. Like many, I have spent my share of time on YouTube trying to learn simple tasks. For some gym skills, YouTube will work just fine, but for kettlebells? Not so much.

The kettlebell doesn’t move like a barbell or a pair of dumbbells. Those pieces just move in a single plane. Kettlebells move up and down, but also in and out, and many exercises have a strong anti-rotational component to them, too. Trying to learn kettlebells off YouTube is about as successful for most people as trying to learn martial arts the same way.

“Worry about movement quality before you worry about movement quantity.”

A much smarter first step would be to book a few private training sessions with an RKC or SFG or to attend one of the one-day courses developed to teach people how to use kettlebells the right way. Don’t be fooled by some of these courses, either. In Australia, there are a few that attempt to teach every kettlebell movement under the sun in one workshop and the end result is you’ll see a bunch of things but walk away barely able to do any of them well.

It is far better to learn a few of the big exercises well. Focus on learning the big six – swing, get up, squat, clean, press, and snatch. As Bruce Lee said, “I don’t fear the man who has done a thousand techniques once. I fear the man who has done one technique a thousand times.”

Expecting Quick Progress

Barbells allow you the opportunity to micro-load and add small percentages of weight at a time. You can easily find 0.25kg plates to use for Olympic bars, making the smallest jump only 500g at a time. But with kettlebells, the smallest jump available will be 2kg. On a smaller kettlebell – like an 8kg – going to the next size up may seem like “only 2kg,” but if you do the math that represents a 25% increase in load. That’s a huge leap.