Wednesday, 25 August 2010

It's all in the wrist action

In the wake of this summer's World Cup, talk of technology in sport is more rife than ever before. As the goal-line technology debate rages on (and on and on...), as both the tennis and cricket worlds embrace the concept of 'challenges' and with the new Nike football replacing the discredited Jabulani, a new game-enhancing concept has shot its way into the sporting arena almost completely unnoticed.

Introducing the Power Balance wristbands. Boasting a stark similarity to the so-last-year Make Poverty History bands and the Livestrong bands enhanced by sporting great Lance Armstrong, these new additions to the sporting world are making waves across the pond.

NBA giants the Phoenix Suns were the first to sport the new wristbands, designed to enhance balance, strength and flexibility due to their hologram technology and they seem to be an increasingly big hit with basketball players, mountain bikers and surfers alike.

Power Balance's official website claims, "Power Balance is Performance Technology designed to work with your body’s natural energy field.

"The hologram in Power Balance is designed to resonate with and respond to the natural energy field of the body."

But can they really do what the promoters claim? Manufacturer after manufacturer believe they have the latest technology to enhance sporting performance. Adidas seem to incorporate some form of new gizmo into Chelsea and Liverpool kits every season (remember when a new home shirt used to come out every other year?!), with their current techy addition being ClimaCool - supposedly keeping players cool and sweat free. It certainly worked for Michael Ballack! But it's surely all just a load of old tosh?

Certainly, the way Power Balance has grown in the US with very little promotion and marketing is not to be sniffed at and may even suggest that there's something in the company's assesment of the product. But at the end of the day, it's a hologram - a shiny, funky piece of plastic. Nice to look at, yes. Improving human talents and abilities, unlikley.

So could sporting success soon be all about the wrist action? I'll let you decide.

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