As the world becomes increasingly digital, many people are turning to new and innovative ways to get fit. One such way is through the use of smart lacrosse balls. These balls are equipped with sensors that allow players and coaches to track data such as speed, distance traveled and other performance metrics. While many people are hailing the use of these balls as the future of sports, others are questioning their accuracy and usefulness. Is this just a passing fad or is there something more to smart lacrosse balls?
What are Smart Lacrosse Balls?
Smart lacrosse balls are exactly what they sound like- balls that have been equipped with sensors that allow players and coaches to track data such as speed, distance traveled and other performance metrics. They were first developed in 2014 by R1 Smart Lacrosse Ball, a company based out of Toronto, Canada. R1 is partnering with the Ontario Lacrosse Association in order to install a R1 Smart Lacrosse Ball in their high school programs throughout Canada. R1 has signed numerous deals with some of the biggest names in lacrosse, including the Iroquois Nationals and five NCAA teams. The price point on these balls currently rests at $300 for 12 R1 balls. R5 has also recently entered the smart ball market by launching its own app called REPS that lets users track their performance while playing certain sports, including hockey, basketball and soccer using R5 smart balls. While R75 charges $100 per sport, allowing you to track up to three different sports for one subscription fee of $50/month or $150/year.
How Do Smart Lacrosse Balls Work?
The sensors in smart lacrosse balls communicate with a companion app, which then records and stores all the data collected by the lacrosse ball. This data can then be used by players and coaches to track and improve their performance. R1 is currently collecting all data through the R1 App. R5 has also recently launched its own app called REPS which uses R5 Smart Balls to track performance metrics in lacrosse, hockey, soccer and basketball.
Who Uses Smart Lacrosse Balls?
One of the most notable users of R1 Smart balls is Major League Lacrosse player Paul Rabil, who currently sits on R1’s board of advisors. Rabil has won three championships with the Boston Cannons and was just named USILA Player of the Year.
The Iroquois Nationals are an international box lacrosse team that represents the Haudenosaunee confederacy i nBox Lacrosse. They were runners for this year’s World Indoor Lacrosse Championship in Prague, Czech Republic. R1 Smart Balls were used by the Nationals at their training camp to track player performance and share that information with coaches. Rabil worked with R1 in order to develop an R1 lacrosse ball specifically for use during the event
R1 has also recently announced a partnership between R1 Smart Balls and five NCAA teams: Denver, Towson, Drexel, Hofstra and James Madison University. Rabil predicts that more colleges will be using R1 Smart Balls within the next year as well as more high school programs around North America.
What are People Saying About Smart Lacrosse Balls?
The ability to track how far you have run or skated is particularly useful for coaching purposes, as it allows coaches to see which players are putting in the most work. R1 has already started to pay dividends for Rabil, who is seeing his workouts becoming more productive due to R1 Smart Balls. Rabil predicts that these balls will be a popular topic at lacrosse All-Star Games next year and that they will be used by many top programs within five years
“We believe R1 Smart Lacrosse Ball is the future of sports,” said Rabil. “Incorporating performance analytics into lacrosse training empowers athletes with data that helps them train smarter and maximize their full athletic potential.” While some people view smart lacrosse balls as the wave of the future, others are doubtful of their accuracy and usefulness.
Who Uses Smart Lacrosse Balls?
Although R1 Smart Lacrosse Ball first created smart lacrosse balls for use by players and coaches at the club level, their audience has expanded to collegiate, high school and youth organizations. R1 also promotes use of smart lacrosse balls to help train coaches. The company has partnered with REPS Lacrosse, a company that specializes in lacrosse training apps. R1 and REPS have worked together to create an app exclusively for use with R1’s smart lacrosse balls, which is available on both Android and iOS devices. R1 also has a program that allows coaches to receive free R1 Smart Balls if they attend coaching clinics hosted by R1.
In addition to R1, there are other companies who have been developing their own smart lacrosse balls in hopes of capitalizing on a potentially lucrative market. Companies such as STX and Laxly have all designed smart lacrosse balls that they market to athletes at multiple levels, from youth leagues up through collegiate programs.
Lacrosse is also the fastest growing sport in the United States, with over 400,000 registered players across both genders between 2009 and 2016. This number has grown by more than 30% during that time period. The U.S. Lacrosse Association has even created an initiative called US Lacrosse’s Game-Changer Nation which aims to increase participation numbers for girls’ lacrosse by 50% by 2025 (currently, girls make up only 24% of U.S. lacrosse players).
How Accurate are Smart Lacrosse Balls?
There has been some controversy surrounding the accuracy of smart lacrosse balls. R1 claims that their sensors can measure metrics such as speed and distance traveled to within five percent accuracy, but many users have questioned this claim. The R1 app also suffered from significant bugs when it was first released in 2014, which did little to help R1’s reputation for inaccuracy. Due to these concerns about accuracy, R1 no longer allows users to input data manually into the R1 app. Instead, data is recorded automatically by the ball whenever someone uses it on an R1-approved lacrosse field.
Smart Lacrosse Balls and the Coaching Incentive Program
In addition to R1, there is another company that specializes in smart lacrosse balls: REPS Lacrosse. R1 has partnered with REPS to create an app exclusively for use with R1’s smart lacrosse balls, called the R1-REPS Smart Ball Coach App. This Android and iOS compatible app provides users with a number of tools to improve their coaching, such as video analysis tools and playbooks written by R1 coaches who have played at the college level. If you are interested in purchasing R1 Smart Balls for your team or league, R1 also has a coaching incentive program where you can receive free R1 Smart Balls
The use of smart lacrosse balls has a number of benefits for athletes at all levels. For one, they help players and coaches track data such as speed, distance traveled and other performance metrics. This data can then be used to improve their performance. In addition, smart lacrosse balls help coaches train their athletes by providing them with video analysis tools and playbooks written by R1 coaches who have played at the college level. R1 Smart Balls are also made with R-Gel Technology, which R1 claims improves grip in wet weather.
As technology continues to advance, it is inevitable that it will begin to have an impact on sports. One of the latest trends in sports is the use of smart lacrosse balls. These balls are equipped with sensors that allow players and coaches to track data such as speed, distance traveled and other performance metrics. While many people are hailing the use of these balls as the future of sports, others are questioning their accuracy and usefulness. Is this just a passing fad or is there something more to smart lacrosse balls?
As technology continues to evolve, it is likely that we will see even more innovative ways to use it in sports. For example, what if coaches could track data on an athlete’s performance in real-time?
The R1 Smart Lacrosse Ball is a new technology that has been met with some controversy. The R-Gel Technology in the R1 ball improves grip and accuracy when playing sports in wet weather, yet it also costs $99 per ball and an additional $79 for the R1 app after a free trial period of one year. This means if you want to use this product, you’ll have to shell out close to $200 upfront or wait until your free trial ends before making any purchases. >Many people are hailing these smart lacrosse balls as the future of sports given their ability to track data such as speed, distance traveled and other performance metrics while others question its accuracy and usefulness. As we move forward into 2018, there is an ongoing debate whether R1’s products will make a lasting impact in the world of sports, or if R1 is simply another fad that bubble up and burst like so many others before it.