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A Look At Shot Tracker To Create Data Driven Coaches

Using Basketball Analytics to help train tomorrow's NBA stars

11Dec

Shot Tracker is wearable tech designed for basketball. Davyeon says; ‘we tried to deliver the product in materials that are already utilised in games like sweatbands’ . From my experience, wearable tech often lives and dies by its ability to function unnoticed when sport is being played and this was a view shared by Davyeon, he says; ‘we knew we had to build something that was light and almost invisible, the wrist sensor weighs less than 0.4 ounces, you can finish your workout and forget you’ve got it on’.

With wearable tech still being in its infancy, a wrist sensor that weighs 0.4 ounces could only be the start, a prototype almost. In the words of Davyeon - ‘It’s at 0.4 ounces now, but we feel this version is like the 1999 iPod, it’s huge and we have a ways to go’ . Ideally, Davyeon would like to see the Shot Tracker chip be so minute that it can fit into a ‘lance armstrong band’ - then it really would be unnoticeable.

Gamification is central to Shot Tracker with the product tapping into most teenagers love for computer games, Davyeon says; ‘When you can play against your friends it’s a game changer, really’ and that ‘the process is very addictive and it drives usage - it’s like Xbox Live’.

There are a whole host of different games you can play, and like Xbox Live, there’s a global leaderboard where you can challenge people from all over the world. As Davyeon says; ‘as it drives usage, they’re going to practice more which means they will get better’.

Progression will be easy to document - as you start beating people you can be sure that you’re improving that shot and if you make the effort as a kid, if you practice for the day consisted of taking 100 shots by yourself, this process could become tedious very quickly - add the competitive element and everything changes, enthusiasm will be heightened as will the desire to improve so that you’ll be able to beat your challenger next time. To add to this, the same principal can be applied to movements around the court.

As Shot Tracker is targeted at a relatively youthful group, data visualisation is key. It has to be simple so that users aren’t put off by complexity or overly numerical findings. Davyeon says; ‘everyone’s data is their own so it’s extremely accessible- the visualisation techniques that we have used are very traditional because we wanted to make sure people were seeing what they’re accustomed to’.

Bar, Pie and Shot charts are commonly used, but the most exciting element is the location technology. Davyeon explains the system by saying; ‘we have split the court into small grids and we can tell within 10 cm exactly where on the court you are - we can plot a very precise shot chart and the amount of shots you have done and the colour of the grid determines whether they’re hot or not’. These insights are incredibly valuable as it will allow young players to determine where they need to improve their game and perhaps more importantly it will show their coaches how their team is shaping up and what areas need to be looked at. Davyeon says ‘there are so many different forces in the game of basketball for us to be successful we had to eliminate false positives like the pass and the dribble while accurately identifying when a shot was taken and made, which is now included in the analytics.’

It was really interesting to speak to Davyeon about Shot Tracker. It’s a product that’s looking to break into a sport where analytics programmes at the amateur level are few and far between. With the gamificaction aspect added to it, young players will have a feedback mechanism that will allow them to measure their progress, because as Davyoen says; ‘without metrics you really don't know how you're doing and it’s hard to improve what you don't measure’ .

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