Helix, Tablet and co.: TSG 1899 Hoffenheim have not only been one of the big surprises of the German Bundesliga in the current season, they are also a flagship Club concerning the use of digital technologies. On his way to playing for Germany on international level and for Bayern Munich in the season to come also Niklas Süle benefits from the use of innovative software in everyday training.
A 1-1 draw against 1. FC Cologne was enough to ensure a place in a European Cup for the first time ever. So far the biggest success in the club’s history, an achievement which was obtained by the team of Coach Julian Nagelsmann with enthusiasm, passion and team spirit – and furthermore also with the support from digital technologies.
For Nagelsmann and the entire staff technological innovations have become indispensable in their everyday work. The times when a coach just had used a whistle and a stopwatch on the practice ground are over – nowadays smartphones, tablets and the corresponding software have become a crucial part for enhancing the performance of each player in the most different areas. Be it improving the individual power of concentration and the reaction rate, be it the analysis of the performance and the prevention of injuries.
Small wearables are a good example for how technologies are used in the daily work in Hoffenheim. Being attached on the players’ bodies they send all relevant physiological data onto the tablet of the fitness coach who can also identify at a glance if there might be a risk of a player being overstressed. Also the “Helix” has turned out be an essential tool in the Hoffenheim training centre. On its curved 180 degree screen the “Helix” is able to simulate various situations during a match in different levels of difficulty, a stunning new technology with the aim of increasing the power of concentration and perception.
Therefore TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is a modern showcase club for how to push forward the issue digitization in football in cooperation with big technology companies. In addition to the sports and training sector – in which the club makes use of the multifunctional software SAP Sports One – also the stakeholders of other operational divisions rely on innovative IT solutions, in marketing and merchandising as well as in ticketing and catering.
Also 21 year old Shooting Star Niklas Süle who will join Bayern Munich for a transfer fee of 20 million Euro in the summer time, often explains how he benefitted from the use of modern technologies on his way to become an international player for Germany. Yet the computer programs are not only in use for Hoffenheim’s Bundesliga squad but also in the club’s Youth Academy. On the basis of a detailed computer analysis promising talents can easily track their own progress, but in comparison to professional players like Niklas Süle they are also able to see in which fields they have to improve in order to walk into the footsteps of their idols one day and to make their dream of becoming a successful Bundesliga player come true.
As Niklas Süle explains: “Will, commitment and diligence are essential requirements for the career of a professional football player.” Digital technologies alone are not sufficient – but they are a vital companion on the way to the top.