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Computers in Games and Sports Practically everybody has played sports video games on a computer. It’s fun to pick a team and see how well you can play against a “virtual” rival. However, the uses for computers in various games and sports go far beyond video games. If you ask a cricket bowler how he throws a ball, he may not be able to tell you. He may say it’s just “instinct. ” It’s something that comes naturally to him.
The fact is that there are ways to help bowlers become better bowlers and batsmen become better hitters.
And computers are important in making this happen. Cricket players from the major leagues down to city and school teams can now have their batting and pitching analyzed. First, the player’s movements are videotaped. Then, these videotaped images are transferred into a computer. Special application software analyzes the images. It measures the exact angle at which the player is holding his arms and legs.
The speed and efficiency of each body movement is measured. This process is called motion analysis. One pitch can be compared with another.
This can be useful because the bowler can see how changes in movement affect the result (such as how fast a ball travels). Some systems can even measure pitching and hitting motions during an actual game. This allows coaches to give immediate feedback to players. These computer applications also can be used to compare the movements of two different players. These comparisons, for example, can help explain why different players tend to hit the ball in different directions.
There are also computer applications that help coaches keep track of exactly where each ball crosses the pitch.
A radar gun can be attached to the computer to measure a pitch’s speed. This information is stored in the computer so that the bowler and coach can study it later. While motion analysis applications are important tools, it still takes a good coach to know how to interpret the results. The coach must look at the information the application provides and then use it to help the player improve. Everybody knows how important statistics (or stats) are in sports. How many games has your favourite batsman played this year? Which player on the Kolkata Knight Riders has the best batting average?
The quantity of statistics used in sports is enormous. Without computers, it would be very difficult to keep these statistics up-to-date. Not only are there team statistics, but there are also statistics on each individual player. For example, statistics on an individual cricket player might include times at bat, batting average, and number of runs scored b him. Spreadsheet applications are often used to keep track of statistics. Spreadsheet applications are computer programs that can store and manipulate numbers. For example, they can find the average of a list of twenty numbers.
Even small league teams often use spreadsheet applications to keep track of player statistics. Going to a cricket stadium is almost like going to the circus. There are hotdogs, popcorn, and a scoreboard complete with a gigantic TV-like screen. Stadiums, such as the Eden Gardens Kolkata, have very complex scoreboards. The new scoreboard is 56 feet tall and 180 feet wide. It includes a giant screen to add to the excitement. The best-known type of giant screen is the Sony Jumbotron. The pictures on these screens move from the players to the crowd.
They show cartoons of the team’s mascot. They may display the words to “Time Is Up” so that everybody can join in the singing. These scoreboards and giant screens are controlled by an entire group of computers. Each computer supplies the scoreboard with different information. One computer might keep track of statistics on particular players, while another might contain commercial advertisements. These giant screens can even be used for educational purposes. In 2000, the University of Tennessee’s athletics and physics departments joined together to create a group of 60-second videos.
These videos were shown on the school’s Jumbotron during home games. The purpose of the videos was to teach fans about the science of football. This was a fun way to join together sports and education. Athletes who depend on speed to win will stop at nothing to reduce their times. Some Olympic swimmers wear full-body “skinsuits” so they can glide through the water more easily. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that they use computer applications to improve their speeds. At the U. S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, coaches use a computer application to develop perfect swimming strokes.
This simulation software attempts to copy the way water flows around parts of the swimmer’s body, such as the arms and hands. The swimmer’s goal is to move through the water as smoothly as possible. Water turbulence can slow a swimmer down. The application allows the user to change the positions of the swimmer’s hands and arms. The user can then see how these changes affect the amount of water turbulence. This information is used to design the best swimming stroke. Coaches can then teach swimmers to use this stroke to obtain their greatest speed. Simulation software has also been used to design racing yachts.
It can help in determining how to shape the yacht’s hull so that it moves through the water with the least amount of resistance. Computers have many other uses at the Olympics. At the 2010 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, Utah, tiny computer chips were used to track skiers. A chip was strapped to each skier’s ankle. Electronic devices were buried in the snow along the track. When a skier passed over one of the devices, his or his chip sent information to the device. This information included the skier’s location, speed, and number. This information was sent to a central computer. Judges and other Olympic officials could then look at it.
Do you want to know if the Kolkata Knight Riders have a home game on July 14? Or who the Sri Lanka is playing next Wednesday? Just go to their Web site. Professional, college, and even some high school sports teams have their own WEB SITES. The information available on sports teams’ Web sites is amazing. Some of it includes: • Schedules. Game dates and locations are available. • Statistics. Up-to-the-minute information on teams and individual players is ready whenever you want it. • Team News. Web sites contain coach and player interviews, information on injuries, and so forth.
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