Athletic Technology Gets a New Coach in Cognitive Computing

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By: Larry Loeb|

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Since its beginnings in 2009, ORRECO has offered athletic technology services that provide biomarker analysis for professional athletes and other international sports competitors. And although they’ve done well operating within the parameters of this niche by themselves, they more recently found that Watson can take their performance to the next level.

ORRECO has been part of IBM’s Watson Ecosystem since 2015. Not content to rest on its laurels, the company has developed a Watson-powered mobile app whose goal is to provide personalized strategies to help optimize an athlete’s performance.

Coach Watson Beefs Up Athletic Technology

In a partnership with the Nike Oregon Track Club Elite, ORRECO is deploying the “Coach Watson” initiative, which will use the power of cognitive computing to individualize an athlete’s training load by learning and analyzing the specific physical tasks he or she performs. Variables such as an athlete’s competition dates, travel schedule and recovery times will also factor into the data set for Coach Watson to analyze when it starts on an athlete’s training regimen.

Only with cognitive computing can this type of effort be achieved. Cognitive capabilities allow the app to draw insights based on a programmed expertise in sports and a deep analysis of an athlete’s data. The app’s developers see individual athletes, coaches and teams using Coach Watson to leverage critical information that will allow athletes to make better-informed training decisions.

They also want the app to share expertise in a specific area among a user base, and Watson does that quite well. Coaches may need to find answers quickly about specific topics such as athlete hydration, nutrition, altitude training, travel stress, jet lag, compression, recovery and sleep. Watson will aid them in their efforts by taking a wide range of searchable sources into account when making recommendations.

Predict Outcomes

The Watson Q&A APIs enable the Coach Watson app to predict the likelihood of an athlete’s injury or underperformance. Not only that, but it can provide direct prompts to athlete’s to help improve recovery rates, optimize the training response and protect the athlete against excessive fatigue and overtraining. Such capabilities should be especially attractive to large sports franchises that depend on the health of their star competitors to drive ticket and merchandise sales — and win championships.

“ORRECO is committed to providing holistic solutions to athletes as quickly as possible in order to help them excel while protecting them from potential illness and injury,” said Dr. Brian Moore, co-founder and CEO of ORRECO, in a press release. “With IBM Watson, we’re able to put real-time sports science in the hands of performance teams. This partnership greatly enhances the speed at which our insights can be delivered to our clients, thereby improving the power, potential and competitive edge of the athlete.”

With ORRECO’s proven track record, and the Oregon Track Club Elite counted among the company’s evangelists, there’s no doubt word of Coach Watson will make the rounds in record time.

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