Posted 26/11/2020 in Category 1

Sports Technology: Drones and Sport

Sports Technology: Drones and Sport

There are many examples of technological improvements changing sport for the better (and occasionally the worse!). Examples include the move from wooden to graphite racquets in tennis through to the development of running shoes like the Nike Vaporfly.

One area where recent developments in sports technology are making a difference in sport is in the area of sports drones. For example, the NFL became the first major sports organization to use drones in 2015. One of the American football teams the Dallas Cowboys – then became the first team in 2016 to use use drones for training sessions. It is not suprising that sports drones are used in many sports.  From American Football, to Rugby to Football and everything in-between, intricate tactics and set piece moves are often the difference between winning and losing games, with results and multi-million pound contracts coming down to the finest of margins. As these industries have moved far beyond being ‘just a game’ and into the territory of big business, it’s no surprise that elite teams around the world are beginning to utilise the superior footage afforded to them by drone technology. Even the smallest advantage can have huge implications, which is why coaches at the highest level traditionally sit high in the stands (or have information fed to them at pitch side).


Commercial drone pilots will be acutely aware of the clarity of footage you can achieve with recording resolution of up to 4K. That’s exactly why several leading sports teams and sporting consultants have already invested in drones to help record training sessions. This is where the tactical work is done, and it’s here that being able to see things from a higher viewpoint can be beneficial to coaches. Being able to see your tactics being played out from an almost birds eye view literally and metaphorically gives you the bigger picture.

You can also use drone sports filming to add a new perspective to your sport, or sport product. For example, if you are a sports coach drones can add a new perspective on your work, and can help viewers to see your work from exciting new angles and enthuse them about taking up your services. 

People are also exploring the use of drones to help with injury treatment. For example, during outdoor sports (e.g., fell running, hiking) should someone suffer an injury, or an unexpected health problem (e.g., heart attack, heatstroke and dehydration) getting help may be difficult. A research paper outlined how drones could provide emergency care as soon as possible in cross-country sports competitions, even when the land topography is very rough. The drone would be a first point of contact and carry a first aid kit (e..g, bandages, alcohol, cotton, gauze, water, and other emergency and survival products) and has real-time audio and video communications capabilities to help guide the injured person. 

Finally, while drones can help sport, and sports injury treatment, drones can also be the sport and there is a growing interest in drone racing. The sport support becomes the sport itself!

We hope you have found this brief overview useful and that we have not droned on too much (sorry!). 

You can find out a bit more about the sports products and technology on our site. 

If you are interest in sports injury support you can also find a sport physio near you, and a range of other injury specialists on our local sport directory

This blog was written in collaboration with Matt Popple an expert drone operator who has worked across sport, industry and tourism sectors.