Back on track: load cells and sports

Published On: July 16 2020


It’s sport, Jim, but not as we know it… The coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of UK sport, with most sporting fixtures cancelled and the few remaining held behind closed doors. So, to celebrate a cautious and staged return to sport, we’ve been looking at the continuing role load cells play in various beautiful games!



Football is back, albeit in empty stadiums and on TV channels where you least expect it! Load cells play an important role in testing and assessing the kit used by professional footballers, from boots to shin pads. Footballs go through rigorous testing and are also studied in terms of their impact on the human body, as with the findings around headers and young players.

Load cells are also used to help footballers achieve optimum fitness levels and develop their skills, such as their vertical jump height. Find out more at our blog on football and load cells.


Horse racing

Horse racing has resumed, although the riders do miss the roar of the crowd as they come around the final bend, according to top jockey Frankie Dettori when he was discussing a crowd-less Royal Ascot.

“It will be weird if you do win a race and there is only yourself and the trainer and not thousands cheering you on as you walk back… As far as the competition and racing goes it will be exactly the same. I thrive on a big crowd so I will miss it, but I can’t change it.”

Frankie Dettori

Load cells play an important role in testing the effectiveness of horse riders’ kit, including impact on the rider’s helmet as our recent article explained.

Load cells also help keep horses healthier, from measuring girth tightness to hoof health and the causes of lameness.



The PGA Tour is currently going ahead in the US, with the Memorial Tournament in Dublin OH, with special precautions, and an awareness of the risks involved by players such as Tiger Woods. A massive purse of $9,300,000 probably helps too…

Load cells can help golfers improve their swing and analyse their play data.



A return to tennis suffered a severe blow when a lack of social distancing on the Adria Tour hosted by Novak Djokovic resulted in Djokovic and several others testing positive for COVID-19.

Hopefully there will be no such issues for The Progress Tour Women’s Championships at the LTA’s National Tennis Centre this week (14 and 18 July). This women’s singles and doubles event features the top British women tennis players. and doubles team.

Load cells have helped put tennis players on the right foot on court by helping how they shift their body weight when on court.


Formula One racing

GB driver Louis Hamilton must be delighted to be back behind the wheel, coming in fourth at the Austrian Grand Prix and first in the Steiermark (Styrian) Grand Prix. The circuit continues with the Hungarian GP this week, before Silverstone welcomes the best drivers in the world for the British Grand Prix and the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at the historic circuit.

Load cells have long played a part in the testing of racing cars, and it’s something that the team here at Richmond Industries have been personally involved with.

We also helped Mikko Ahola and Team Finland with load cells for push-rod force measurement in his Audi R8 at the Yokohama World Time Attack Challenge 2019 in Australia.



Many people took up running during lockdown, with the NHS running app Coach to 5K clocking up an 858,000 download between March and June, a 92% increase on the same period last year.

Load cells have helped develop and test running shoes for many years.


Is your sport back on track yet?

For more information on sports that are currently allowed, see the latest guidance from the Dept. for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.

If you need load cells for testing any type of sporting kits or set-up, call us. We’ve been working throughout the lockdown period, and with our manufacturing base here in the UK, we can offer a speedy turnaround and efficient UK delivery. Call us for more details.