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Sports involve dynamic motion and strategy. That boils downto engineering and mathematics, two enasin which computers always win.

Sky Delta Air Lines Magazine

Published on Tuesday, May 1, 1984 by Unknown

Managing sports information and scats will be one o1 the computer’s jobs at the upcorninci U mprc ; sports media representatives are pictured at a meet receiving “hands-on” experience prior to the Games.


Sports involve dynamic motion and strategy. That boils downto engineering and mathematics, two arenasin which computers always win.

A s long as we keep the current definition of “sport” in our dictionaries, sports and athletics will always be human, first and last.

It’s between that “first” and “last” that computers get into the act. And getting into it they are- in a big way.

Granted, the final determinant of a

sporting contest may be something utterly uncomputable and human – like will, drive, determination. But sports involve dynamic motion and strategy. That boils down to engineering and mathematics, two arenas in which computers always win.

Take football, for instance. Bone

crunching tackles aside, any footbz player or fan will tell you this is a ment+ sport, one of strategy and the meshing c hundreds of variables at any momen That’s a lot of information. That’s wi” most National Football League tearr have now brought their computers fror the front office (where they have bee used for bookkeeping since 1960) into th planning rooms. The Philadelphia Eagle: Qantel Business Computers unit an Sports-Pac software helped put sever touchdowns on the scoreboard in th 1983 season. “We can identify form, tions, draw pictures, define pass pattern! who caught the ball, yardage, what ever receiver was doing, and how the blockin was,” says Chuck Clausen, the Eagle: defensive line coach.

Moreover, computers can rub thos bits of data together and produce ne, flashes of insight – like the probability c a given player or team doing a particul~ thing in a given situation. Continue

At the U.S. Olympic Committee Elite Athlete Training Program, the computerized biomechanic platform system measures how steadily the archer stands while shooting.



For example, when the San Diego Chargers were preparing to play the Kansas City Chiefs in 1980, the Chargers’ computer pointed out that the Chiefs used one formation 70 percent of the time be

tween the 20-yard line and the goal. Then the computer designed a special play just to take advantage of that formation’s weakness. The New York Yankees, Oakland A’s and Philadelphia Phillies all use strategy computers to similar advantage. The Chicago White Sox, who haven’t won a title in 25 years, used their computer to capture a division title last year. Basketball, soccer, hockey and rugby teams

have also caught on to computerizes coaching.

Computers are doing a lot when i comes to less strategy-laden individua sports. Computers can translate film im ages of an athlete in motion intc mathematical formulae, then apply en gineering principles to show the athlete 3 more efficient way to move.



Cable connects the catcher’s feet to the computer at Ithaca College to improve the game.

Weekend athletes can develop a personal, flexible exercise program for training and. or rehabilitation with professional guidance on the Ariel 4000 series.

S-32 SKY May 1984

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statistics and generate the graphics yon see on the screen.

The Los Angeles Olympics will use 1: room-sized computers attached to 1,80′ remote terminals to keep schedules, re( ords and performances straight for th August games, which will sprawl over 6′ sites in three counties.

And for you? You might find yourself o; the golf course consulting your pocket sized computer and range finder for th right club. Or attending a tennis clini equipped with game and stroke analysi computers. Or sailing in a boat designe, by a computer like the ones North Ste Sails Inc. used to cut more efficient sail for America’s Cup racers – or the on� used to design the Australia Il that too the Cup away.



Johns Hopkins Univ. Levi Strauss Marriott

Marsh & McLennan Mass. Mutual McGraw-Hill MCI

U.S. Navy NCR NYU Owens-Illinois Owens-Corning


Royal Cup Coffee ‘Sentry Insurance Singapore Embassy Stone & Webster St. Regis Paper Tampax

The Nestle Co. The Rouse Co. 3M Corporation TRW

Univ. of Illinois United Parcel Service United Wav Univ. of Mass. Westmoreland Coal Westinghouse Corp.

Football and high tech have teamed up; pictured are Don Coryell and the San Diego Chargers’

coaching staff. ‘



An experimental system using pressure sensors placed in track shoes, and a remote transmitter in a belt are helping race-walkers analyze and perfect their strides for the Summer Olympics. Its developers hope they will also be useful in teaching the handicapped to walk.

But as sports grow more complex, the main job of computers has become the management of sports information and statistics. No sports TV crew could function without computers now. Besides handling the logistics of up to 20 cameras and 150 technicians, computers retrieve the

SKY May 1984 S