SportTechie’s Revamped Weekly Newsletter Will Highlight Newsmakers, Enable Connections

SportTechie’s Revamped Weekly Newsletter Will Highlight Newsmakers, Enable Connections

SportTechie’s Revamped Weekly Newsletter Will Highlight Newsmakers, Enable Connections

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

SportTechie covers the latest trends, products and best practices in the sports tech space, but none of it would be possible without the visionaries, experts, decision makers and influencers who are continually driving innovation forward. To highlight their contributions, our weekly newsletter will now put the focus on the people who appear in our stories and give you a way to connect with them should you have questions or a project that could benefit from collaboration.

Pulling from some of our coverage in July, here’s a sampling that features CEOs, coaches, GMs, team presidents, directors, executives and more. Subscribe to our newsletter below to make sure you stay current with the latest updates, starting with this new format hitting your in-boxes this weekend. As always, thanks for reading and being a part of our community.

— Taylor Bloom, CEO

JOIN US IN CHICAGO: The NFLPA and SportTechie Are Joining Forces to Host an Event on Athlete Health, Wealth and Performance

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Most forgot that Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had sent out a series of Tweets after Kevin Durant’s Achilles’ injury calling for the NBA and NBPA to “invest in research into diagnostic tools that allow for proactive analysis of tendons and ligaments.” But not Will Ahmed, the CEO of WHOOP who says several pro teams are “actively using” his company’s burgeoning injury risk-assessment technology. “We are working on a risk index that we actually share with a number of our professional teams that is able to say that an individual is at risk for injury,” Ahmed told SportTechie. “This is something that we’re going to continue developing and continue to refine. It’s inevitable that over time, with enough data, you’ll be able to help predict injuries.”

Appeared in: WHOOP Answers Mark Cuban’s Call for Injury-Prevention Data

Connect with Will Ahmed on LinkedIn.

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D1 Training was founded by former University of Tennessee fullback Will Bartholomew, who played on the 1998 national championship team and captained the Volunteers in 2001. His former college teammate, legendary NFL quarterback Peyton Manning, is an early investor and franchise owner. While D1 works with a wide swath of age groups, its target demographic is the scholastic athlete seeking to improve skills for high school and college sports.

Appeared in: Zybek Sports Aims to Standardize 40-Yard Dash for Youth Athletes

Connect with Will Bartholomew on LinkedIn.

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Two of baseball’s essential modern technologies, Blast Motion and K-Motion, were developed by Michael Bentley, the son of a PGA pro who set out on his own professional golf career in the 1980s. He grew up in the world of motocross, learning mechanics at a young age from his grandfather, an engineer. This objective, data-driven approach instilled at a young age would prompt Bentley to investigate optical tracking technology. He now operates Paradigm Performance Group, a platform that trains coaches on the use of biomechanics technology.

Appeared in: The Unlikely Origin of Baseball’s Launch Angle Revolution

Connect with Michael Bentley on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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DashTag CEO Epco Berger is a former aerospace engineer who previously managed a helicopter production line at Airbus and a factory line of LED lights for Philips electronics. A soccer enthusiast, he wanted to create a tool that would help nonprofessional players such as himself. His creation, the free DashTag app, will be released this fall for the Apple watch, but the plan is to launch on other smartwatches in the future.

Appeared in: DashTag Turns an Apple Watch Into a Wearable Soccer Tracking Device

Connect with Epco Berger on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

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In teaming with IBM iX, the Columbus Crew MLS franchise is creating a vision for design and technology that will transform the fan experience at its new arena. Team president Tim Bezbatchenko says the deal shows how ownership wants to connect with fans following their campaign to keep the team in Columbus. “We’re partnering with the best digital reinvention partner to reimagine the fan experience at the arena,” he says. “This is our commitment to give back to the community and the fans and give them the experience they deserve in this very digital and mobile age.”

Appeared in: Columbus Crew Fans Will Get New High-Tech Stadium

Connect with Tim Bezbatchenko on Twitter.

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Bat speed, says Eugene Bleecker, the founder of 108 Performance, a player training facility in southern California, is a different metric than time to make contact. And moving the barrel faster usually means a longer time for the hitter to make contact because of the time it takes to generate that speed outside of the kinematic sequence.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Eugene Bleecker on Twitter or via his website.

* * * * *

A number of NBA-themed shooting and dribbling challenges that appeared on HomeCourt are aimed at friendly competition among casual fans and serious players alike. “We’re trying to grow the next generation of fans and we know that kids who play basketball are more likely to become NBA fans,” says Amy Brooks, NBA’s chief innovation officer. “Today we host, in person, elite combines. Now we can do it digitally by testing wingspan, testing vertical leap, quickness and agility. Especially for some of our priority markets where we’re trying to grow, we see so much potential because we can’t physically reach those people very easily.”

Appeared in: NBA Wants to Turn Every HomeCourt into a Global Stage

Connect with Amy Brooks on LinkedIn.

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“Most wearable tracking technology is designed to address general use cases and is typically a single unit worn on the center of mass or wrist,” says Matt Clarke, director of business development at IMeasureU. “Our approach with IMU Step is precise and specific. Subjects wear a high-fidelity, synchronized sensor on each ankle—the source of the running load—to accurately quantify the intensity of every step they take, whether they’re a professional player in rehab from an injury or a school track team looking to improve their times.”

Appeared in: Innovative Wearable Blue Trident—Now the Force Is With You

Connect with Matt Clarke on LinkedIn.

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Tim Corrigan, senior coordinating producer for NBA on ESPN, said the Vegas summer league has enabled the NBA rights holder to test new cameras and flight patterns, while experimenting with supplemental experiences on the ESPN app.

Appeared in: For Tech Innovations, the NBA’s Summer League Is a Jam Session

Connect with Tim Corrigan via ESPN’s Press Room.

* * * * *

How much force a leg exerts when kicking a soccer ball would seem to be a straightforward question that could be easily answered in today’s tech-laden world, but standard accelerometers max out at a force of 16 g, says Vicon life sciences product manager Kim Duffy—and that doesn’t even begin to gauge the full power of an adult’s kick. Finding a way to solving this problem went into the development of BlueTrident, the first inertial sensor released by Vicon since its acquisition of IMeasureU in 2017. Blue Trident includes both a low-g sensor and a high-g sensor, allowing it to capture forces up to 200 g (a limit that far exceeds the 100 g kicks registered in the Australian Football League, for instance).

Appeared in: Innovative Wearable Blue Trident—Now the Force Is With You

Connect with Kim Duffy on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

The Columbus Crew’s former team doctor, Pete Edwards, helped keep the team in Ohio by becoming an owner. And now the Crew are set to open a new arena in downtown Columbus during the summer of 2021. With an estimated price tag of $230 million, which is expected to be sourced from public and private funds, the 430,000-square-foot arena will sit on 33-acres and have a capacity for 20,000 fans. Project plans also include a riverfront park, nearly 1,000 residential units, and office/commercial space.

Appeared in: Columbus Crew Fans Will Get New High-Tech Stadium

* * * * *

Peter Fadde, a professor at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, wrote his Ph.D. dissertation at Purdue on the use of video to aid visual baseball training and pitch recognition. He later developed gameSense, which shows only a pitcher’s release before prompting hitters to discern the type of pitch and whether it’ll be a strike. A few MLB clubs use the program with some encouraging early returns on improving on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Appeared in: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

Connect with Peter Fadde on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

The baseball-swing coaches at 108 performance also collaborate with the 3-D motion biomechanics lab Movement First and its clinic director, Emily Ferree.

Appeared in: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

Connect with Emily Ferree here.

* * * * *

Glenn Fleisig is the director of research at the American Sports Medical Institute in Alabama.

Appeared in: The Unlikely Origin of Baseball’s Launch Angle Revolution

Connect with Glenn Fleisig via ASMI’s website.

* * * * *

The experience of opening up about what had happened to him—and the positive feedback he received from other survivors—prompted NHL great Theo Fleury to start advocating for mental health. He recently partnered with iRel8, a mental health support app, to create a forum for him to talk with the platform’s anonymous users.

Appeared in: ‘I’m Involved in the Biggest Epidemic on the Planet’

Connect with Theo Fleury on LinkedIn or via his website.

 * * * * *

Dave Fortenbaugh, a former first-team All-Ivy League outfielder at Yale, left sports research in 2013 to become an engineering consultant. But before that he spent the better part of five years collecting data on 43 Double-A players who took batting practice in front of eight 3-D motion capture cameras and on two force plates. His 2011 dissertation for the University of Miami, aptly named “The Biomechanics of the Baseball Swing,” remains the authoritative work on the subject. Every few months another email rolls in from a father, a coach, a reporter, or an MLB executive wanting to know more. “No matter how far I keep getting away from it,” Fortenbaugh says with a laugh. “I keep getting found.”

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Dave Fortenbaugh here.

* * * * *

Baseball hitters, says Blast Motion’s director of MLB sales Justin Goltz, have “a lot of style and flair and individual movement patterns. But … we’re starting to come to some common ground—an understanding of what principles matter—and also measuring those principles so we can do it repeatedly.”

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Justin Goltz on LinkedIn and on Twitter.

* * * * *

C.J. Handron, the CEO of the bat sensor company Diamond Kinetics in Pittsburgh, says the difference between a bat speed of 73 mph and 75 mph “isn’t going to fundamentally, radically change who that player is.” Faster bat speed inherently comes at a cost of worse control and consistency.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with C.J. Handron on LinkedIn.

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* * * * *

Ben Hansen, the VP of biomechanics and innovation at Motus Global, says his company’s lab near St. Petersburg, Fla., tracked some 3,000 swings taken by professional ballplayers in a controlled environment using optical tracking and sensor-laden hitters and bats. The researchers and coaches have found that hip rotation energy—including both hip rotation velocity and body segment mass—had one of the strongest correlations to bat speed.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Ben Hansen on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Steve Hellmuth, the NBA’s executive vice president of operations and technology, says the league has created a “test bed” of innovation and is encouraging creativity and failure during its Vegas summer league.

Fully story: For Tech Innovations, the NBA’s Summer League Is a Jam Session

Connect with Steve Hellmuth on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Zybek Sports, a Colorado-based company that has powered the timing mechanism at the NFL Combine for the last nine years, has struck a new partnership with D1 Training to offer its Standardized Athlete Test (SAT) at franchises across the country. The formalized process will create verifiable results using laser-timing equipment and an automatic data collection system. Beyond informing college recruiters, the times can help parents manage expectations too. “All they know how to compare their times to are NFL times,” says Mathew Kite, D1 Training’s director of education. “They don’t know if Johnny running a 5.7 right now is any good. They’re like, ‘Man, you’re already washed up, and you’re only in eighth grade.’ ”

Appeared in: Zybek Sports Aims to Standardize 40-Yard Dash for Youth Athletes

Connect with Matthew Kite on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Dr. Daniel Laby, a leading sports vision expert, has advocated for the reduction or even elimination of traditional batting practice in favor of more game-like conditions. Vision training has risen in popularity across baseball in recent years. While one’s visual acuity is a static trait measured on the 20/20 scale, other skills related to performance, such as tracking and focus, can be improved with practice. Laby, who has six World Series rings owing to his work with the Red Sox, Astros, and Cubs, employs several technological devices to help players, including the Sports Vision Trainer, a Dynavision board, and uHIT.

Appeared in: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

Connect with Daniel Laby on LinkedIn or via his Sports Vision website.

* * * * *

MLB hitting instructor and self-described “swing whisperer” Doug Latta.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Doug Latta on Twitter or via his website.

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Matt Lisle, hitting analytics instructor for the Chicago White Sox.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Matt Lisle on Twitter or via his website.

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EA head of broadcast, Joe Lynch, is having his team experimenting with new production technologies and forms of storytelling. Previously, EA had produced all of its shows from remote locations, which cost the company both time and money. With new in-house studios, EA Sports has been infused with a new sense of freedom to create.

Appeared in: Love, Hate and the Engine Driving New Growth at Electronic Arts

Connect with Joe Lynch on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

* * * * *

“The new [Columbus Crew] owners came in and said, ‘We want to do things the right way and really connect with fans,’ ” says Shannon Miller, the North America sports and entertainment lead at IBM Global Business Services. “To me, this just shows the commitment they have to the community.” IBM will pull from the work it has done with other venues and sporting events, such as Wimbledon, the U.S. Open and the Masters, to build personalized experiences for Crew fans both in-stadium and at home. IBM served as the lead technology partner on the $1.6 billion state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home to the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and MLS’s 2018 league champions Atlanta United.

Appeared in: Columbus Crew Fans Will Get New High-Tech Stadium

Connect with Shannon Miller on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

The Portland Timbers are collecting so much data that they’re not even sure what to do with it all, says Nick Milonas, the team’s director of sports science and performance. The next phase of the Timbers’ analytics overhaul will include the adoption of artificial intelligence, algorithms and predictive models that will scan and analyze mass quantities of data and automatically surface areas of interest and concern. Says Milonas: “What we’re trying to do is basically get as much automatic feedback as possible so that the data serves, essentially, as another set of eyes that allows us to pick up on things that we might not have noticed as quickly.”

Appeared in: How the Portland Timbers Are Reorienting the Franchise Around Sports Science

Connect with Nick Milonas on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

About 45 minutes north of Atlanta, LakePoint has eight baseball diamonds, three fields big enough for soccer, and 170,000 square feet of indoor space, including 12 hardwood courts for basketball (which can be converted to 24 volleyball courts). PlaySight will install more than 100 cameras and provide the tech platform for youth players, parents, coaches, scouts, and fans to watch live streams of all competitions, access performance analytics, and compile highlight reels. “We will establish ourselves as the leader in connecting high-performance data analytics and video content aggregation with athletes,” Mark M. O’Brien, president and CEO of LakePoint, said in a statement. PlaySight collaborates with the NBA’s Warriors, Hawks, Celtics and Raptors, MLB’s Cardinals and Marlins, NCAA Division I powerhouses Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina, and the USTA’s National Campus.

Appeared in: PlaySight Cameras Will Give a Youth Sports Campus a Pro Tech Overhaul

Connect with Mark M. O’Brien on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

* * * * *

WinR CEO Chris O’Dowd, a former minor league player, has created a baseball virtual reality program that simulates an opposing pitcher’s repertoire. The Mets’ Todd Frazier says the virtual Max Scherzer is 90 to 95 percent accurate, if not an exact replica of the Nationals’ three-time Cy Young winner. O’Dowd says the program adds another dimension of preparation to a written scouting report. “I already feel like I’m in sync, and I know the information about this pitcher and his pitch shapes and his usage probabilities,” O’Dowd says. “I can now just react.”

Appeared in: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

Connect with Chris O’Dowd on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Greg Rose is a co-founder of golf’s Titleist Performance Institute and baseball’s OnBase University, an innovative coaching seminar that has worked with more than a half-dozen MLB clubs. OnBaseU is designed to bring a holistic approach to player training. Its premise is that no athlete should have just one coach serving as a general practitioner. Instead, the medical, fitness, and coaching staffs should all collaborate to meet the specific needs of individuals.

Appeared in: The Unlikely Origin of Baseball’s Launch Angle Revolution

Connect with Greg Rose on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Monsterful CEO Jarett Sims says foveated rendering—a new tech feature that renders the pixels a user is focusing on with the highest graphic fidelity at the expense of peripheral areas—is a key step forward in the advancement of sports VR.

Appeared in: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

Connect with Jarett Sims on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

uHIT is cognitive gaming software for batters made by the neuroscience company deCervo, and it challenges hitters to recognize pitch types and locations. EEG technology is an optional add-on feature to provide additional context about the decision-making process. By affixing electrodes on a hitter’s scalp, coaches can monitor a player’s brain waves and identify when he chooses whether to swing or not while using the uHIT app. Says deCervo founder and CEO Jason Sherwin: “Was there any fundamental cognitive change under the hood, so to speak, in terms of making decisions on pitches? Across the board, you saw the impact on a brain level: it was deciding faster for pitches in the zone. They were deciding more efficiently.”

Appeared in: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

Connect with Jason Sherwin on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Don Slaught is a former MLB catcher who had a dugout epiphany in 1989 about swing mechanics. After his playing days, he launched the video analysis platform RightView Pro. “After about three years [of coaching],” Slaught says, “I realized kids learn about 20 percent of what I say, 50 percent of what I show them, and 70 percent of what I get them to feel or experience.”

Appeared in: The Unlikely Origin of Baseball’s Launch Angle Revolution

Connect with Don Slaught on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

MLB SVP Morgan Sword is overseeing the implement of the “robot umpire” in the independent Atlantic League, which will see expanded use over the second half of the season. “The system has been up the entire game and has worked well from our vantage point,” Sword said at the All-Star Game in Pennsylvania. “Once it’s operational in all eight ballparks, we’re going to have a lot of data to work with to evaluate its effect on the game. But no red flags tonight … we’ve already seen some players recognize the difference between the rulebook strike zone and the strike zone that’s traditionally called, which we’ll have to work through.”

Appeared in: The Strike Zone of the Future: You Can’t Argue with Technology

Connect with Morgan Sword on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Independent hitting coach Bobby Tewksbary wrote Elite Swing Mechanics, a 120-page tome that’s supplemented by tutorial video. It emphasizes facts and physics in place of baseball truisms such as “stay inside” the ball and “swing down”—imprecise phrases that can mean different things to different players.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Bobby Tewksbary on LinkedIn or on Twitter.

* * * * *

MLB hitting consultant Craig Wallenbrock.

Appeared in: Major League Baseball Will Be Decided by Swing States

Connect with Craig Wallenbrock via his website.

* * * * *

“We’re really giving the athlete something tangible—goals he should be setting,” says Zybek founder Mike Weinstein. Zybek’s Standardized Athlete Test includes a 40-yard dash, shuttle run, vertical jump and broad jump. The results of the 40-yard dash include split times in 10-yard intervals, which can guidetraining programs to focus on early explosion, acceleration, or top speed. Zybek can also measure other sport-specific metrics, such as the 60-yard dash or catcher pop time for baseball.

Appeared in: Zybek Sports Aims to Standardize 40-Yard Dash for Youth Athletes

Connect with Mike Weinstein on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Biomechanics guru Chris Welch works with a half-dozen MLB organizations through his current venture, Zenolink.

Appeared in: The Unlikely Origin of Baseball’s Launch Angle Revolution

Connect with Chris Welch on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

The TrackMan device, which uses a 3-D Doppler radar and powers Statcast’s pitch and batted-ball tracking in all 30 big league parks, is being used to call balls and strikes in the independent Atlantic League. “There’s no question that it is more accurate than any human being,” league president Rick White says. “It is within a matter of degrees—not a matter of inches, not a matter of half an inch, [but] a matter of an eighth of an inch.”

Appeared in: The Future of Baseball Has Finally Arrived: Robot Umpires

Connect with Rick White on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

Don White is a co-founder and the CEO of Satisfi Labs, a NYC-based software company that has built artificial intelligence engagement platforms to help sports fans answer virtually any question at stadiums. MLS club Los Angeles FC, whose virtual assistant was built by Satisfi Labs, recently announced that fans can now order food and drinks on their iPhones via Apple Business Chat. According to White, Satisfi Labs is currently working with a few MLB teams on deploying Apple Business Chat activations over the remainder of the season. He also says that other leagues that Satisfi Labs works with—the NFL, NBA and NHL—will also see teams adopting Apple Business Chat over their upcoming seasons.

Appeared in: The AI Tool That Can Answer Any Fan Question

Connect with Don White on LinkedIn.

* * * * *

“With HomeCourt, it no longer will be required for scouts to discover kids. Kids will be able to discover themselves,” Andrew Yaffe, the NBA’s vice president of global strategy and innovation lead, says of the shot-tracking app the league has invested in. “We’ll be rolling out features that will enable kids to measure their height, their wingspan, their basketball skills. And we’ll be able to evaluate and hopefully find the next generation of global superstars.”

Appeared in: NBA Wants to Turn Every HomeCourt into a Global Stage

Connect with Andrew Yaffe on LinkedIn.

Question? Comment? Story idea? Let us know at talkback@sporttechie.com

Published at Thu, 01 Aug 2019 13:14:18 +0000

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