Interview: Techie Ospreys rugby player Cai Griffiths on wearables in sport

Wearables are major trend in the tech world right now, with big players like Apple, Samsung, Motorola and Sony all battling it out for market leadership.

Smartwatches and smartbands are particularly popular among sportspeople, providing them with new ways to boost their performance and training.

We speak to Cai Griffiths, who’s a rugby union player for the Ospreys and a self-confessed techie. He recently teamed up with Three UK to test the Sony SmartWatch 3.

TD: How much of a techie are you?

CG: I definitely have an interest in technology and follow brands on social media, especially on Instagram, to keep an eye on what new designs are coming out and who’s wearing them. I’m also a huge gamer and love to play on the Playstation 4

TD: What did you feel when Three approached you to test the Sony Smartwatch?

CG: Very excited as I think that wearable technology has massively improved over the past few years. The Sony SmartWatch 3 looks more fashionable than some brands have in the past, and I was keen to see how I could use it during my sports training.

TD: How have you been using it?

CG: I find the downloadable sleep app to be extremely useful, especially since sleep is very important in preventing injury and infection in rugby. The sleep monitoring app measures how much sleep you get each night and wakes users up with a vibration to the wrist once the right amount of sleep has been reached. I can view the analysis of my sleep on the app which is useful and easy to use.

Also, like most professional rugby players, I wear a GPS during official training sessions. It’s linked up to the club’s computer system. This measures factors such as heart rate to track performance. Where the Sony SmartWatch 3 has come in handy for me is during extra training sessions where the watch can provide live data when I’m not wearing the club GPS.

This means I’ve been able to monitor how long I’ve been running for, how many calories I’ve burnt and along what distance. This is important in rugby because it is essential to not overexercise, and at the same time I have to make sure that I am squeezing in enough practice. I also really like to wear the watch in different environments e.g. along the coast and in a forest to compare performance in different conditions

I’ve also been using the Sony SmartWatch 3 with a pair of wireless Sony headphones to listen to music while exercising and going about my day. The sound quality is great!

TD: What sort of benefits have you noticed while training and in your personal life?

CG: Since wearing the watch, I’ve been training smarter, not longer, as I am putting in less extra hours of training but seeing greater benefits. The watch is also a great asset to have during my social life, and I like to wear it out and about during the day.

As well as being great for professional sports players, I think the watch would also be perfect for beginners, especially since people who are just starting out don’t know when they have run a mile, or two miles for example, and how many calories they have burnt during their training.

TD: What do your team mates think of you with this piece of kit?

CG: The rest of the boys have commented that the watch ‘looks cool!’, although some of them make the assumption that it’s an Apple product rather than one of Sony’s. They definitely notice when I am wearing it, especially since I have a bright yellow strap so you can’t miss it!

TD: What sort of future do you see for sport combined with tech?

CG: Given that technology already plays a huge part in my rugby club, I think more and more players will soon start wearing technologies such as the Sony SmartWatch 3 – especially since I’ve seen so many great benefits during my time wearing it. I wear my watch every single day and won’t be taking it off!

Image credit: Chris Jobling/Flickr