A view on sports technology from the perspective of a sports and sport psychology consultant:

I currently work as a physical exercise and sport psychology consultant and I am pursuing my doctoral studies at the Faculty of Information Technology as well. At first it felt a bit funny to combine information technology and sport psychology in the same research. First off, it felt strange to be a researcher since I consider myself more of a practical person.

Thinking afterwards, it has been a great opportunity to be able to combine two different fields. I have also noticed that the connection between science and practice is stronger than I had thought.

Encouraging people to engage in a more active and healthy lifestyle is a topical issue. Nevertheless, many users of sports technology find that the information they receive from sports technology should be more personal and directive, not only facts about their performance.

Sports technology companies’ response to the issue is a digital coach, which not only shows facts about training but also creates a personal plan for the user based on the collected data and modifies the plan according to progress.

How can a digital coach improve users’ exercise motivation and self-confidence in physical exercise?

A digital coach seems to offer a more affordable option and you can always carry it with you. However, users still want comprehensive insight and interactivity.

Lately my research has focused on secondary school pupils’ opinions of sports technology. This target group is very important because it is the age when exercise behaviour for adulthood is created. Based on my earlier studies, sports technology has a great potential to affect the exercise behaviour of adolescents.

Sports technology helps young people become aware of their physical abilities.

Of course, the use of technology only is not enough, but there is plenty of enthusiasm and confidence about sports technology.

Just creating theories and science does not motivate and encourage me to continue my research. What makes all the work worthwhile it is that my research can promote people’s wellbeing and health and be part of their everyday life and learning. The importance of the subject is demonstrated in comments such as how teenagers have become more confident in physical exercise after being positively surprised of their skills through sports technology or how technology has increased athletes’ perseverance and confidence.

My own motivation for the research may be selfish. If we can learn how sports technology is able to affect people’s motivation and self-confidence in physical exercise, we can develop even more personalised and motivating devices and applications. At the same time we, as professionals in the field of physical exercise, are able to improve our insight of how to integrate technology in our own work and help ordinary people engage in a healthier and more comprehensive lifestyle.

Science is useful when you can impact concrete matters such as people’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Eeva Kettunen
Project researcher
Faculty of Information Technology

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