President's Column

The importance of design in sports competition

Auhtor: Prof. Dr. Peter Zec | 2016-05-16

Unlike other fields, sports activities require the use of technical aid equipment to the point of perfection. In races where a millisecond or a millimetre can influence the result, sporting equipment must help users perform at their best. The ability to set records often depends on the perfect balance between the player and the equipment. In the upcoming 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, we will once again witness a sportswear competition, a war of materials. The basis for success in sports is an athlete's perfect physique. The second requirement for success depends on the use of technical aids . Often, equipment is as important as the state of the athlete's body, which is interdependent. To understand the relationship, the swimsuit is the best example. Since the invention of the swimsuit, it has led countless athletes to set excellent records. This is why the International swimming federation (FINA, shortname for Fédération Internationale de Natation) came up with equipment specifications and a specified list of swimsuits for international competition. But even with these restrictions, the design of the swimsuit is still an important competition that will determine the winners and losers in the water.

Most of the sports equipment used by athletes today was created for specific purposes; From boats, bicycles, cars and other means of transport to poles used in pole vaulting, all are now covered in sports equipment. The quality of technical equipment design will be faithfully reflected in the outcomes of the competition; For example, countries that dominated during the age of navigation were able to produce highly competitive seafaring products because of their rich experience in the field. Design that combines experience and aesthetics is often the best product.


In addition to competition, sports have a social function. This is especially true in the lives of young people; Sports represent activity, youth and success, which are positive traits recognized by society. For this reason, the growth of the market for recreational and professional sports competitions is now in the spotlight.  Among them, the role of design is not only to change the appearance of sportswear or ensure its functionality; The value of such products is no longer measured only by the practicability, but by the experience and emotional elements. Great design is able to deliver product characteristics successfully to the user from the inside out.This interrelationship between emotional elements, efficiency and aesthetics is obvious, such as streamline design.


But in both amateur and professional sports, constant improvement in performance is what everyone seeks. Physique and athletic equipment are the only two variables. However, in the competitive situation, "physical fitness" is not achieved in a fair way. The use of stimulants is a common phenomenon in today's high-intensity sports, which is intensely discussed but not completely prevented. There is an increasing commercialization of sports, coupled with the symbolism of athletes as modern warriors. Except for preserving the warrior image, good design must also ensure that the sports equipment will not cause any physical harm to the athletes, while helping them perform at their best.

※ This article is published on the design column of "uDesign"


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