Passing Grades: Wilson’s Connected Football Aces the Data

Wilson Brand Manager Blake Rus and Advanced Innovation Sr. Engineer Daniel Hare talk about the Connected Football system on the FBU Huddle.

 

Football University is an industry leader in training high school and college athletes to maximize their skills and develop their abilities on the football field. The academy runs camps and showcases across the U.S. and is always looking for new and better ways to enhance their training resources. One of those enhancements is the use of Wilson Sporting Goods’ Connected Football System.

During Episode Five of the FBU Huddle, Wilson Brand Manager Blake Rus and Advanced Innovation Sr. Engineer Daniel Hare spoke about Wilson’s sports equipment innovations such as Evoshield, and how the company has been affected by the novel coronavirus. Lauer also urged Rus to talk about Wilson’s DayOne Football efforts, that focus on grass-roots youth players across the country who are using Wilson equipment.  The team then answered Matt Lauer’s questions about the connected football system.

What is a Connected Football System?

Daniel Hare describes Wilson’s connected football as a data acquisition system “that is a way to evaluate and quantify your performance as a quarterback as you’re throwing the ball.” The company designed small sensors—that go in the center of the football—that don’t interfere with the balance, spin, or any other aspect of ball behavior.

These sensors pick up key features of the pass like ball velocity, ball spin rate, spiral efficiency (how tight the spiral is), release time, and others. The sensor delivers data via Bluetooth to a laptop after the practice. This data allows players to take a snapshot of their current level of performance, identify benchmarks for improvement, and measure their progress over time. This feedback is an excellent tool for player evaluation and can be measured year over year at annual Football U events such as Top Gun. 

How Do Teams Use the Data?

Lauer then asked Hare to explain how some professional players and teams use the information. Interestingly, football coaches can use the data to adjust their play sheets and maximize the best characteristics of their quarterback’s abilities. These coaches can call plays that consider the quarterback’s spiral efficiency, side of the field, and typical spin rate to create more effective strategies. 

Hare also mentioned how teams use the Connected Football data differently. For instance, even though NFL players are the best in the world, the throwing data is still useful for them to improve by identifying areas that might need attention. Additionally, after an injury, the information can indicate healing progress and recovery benchmarks. NFL teams also run player comparisons for the draft using the insights from the system. 

Wilson’s sponsored college teams also use the throwing data to pinpoint which football is best for each quarterback on their roster. Since college football allows for variations in ball size, laces, and leather, the data is instrumental in optimizing a quarterback’s abilities. 

Which Events Showcase The Connected System?

From a visibility standpoint, this system is used widely among teams from middle school to the college arena. Blake Rus talked about some of the events that Wilson attends to share the technology with younger players. Some of these events include:

  • The Football University Top Gun Football Showcase
  • The East-West Shrine bowl
  • The Reese’s Senior Bowl
  • The Opening College Football Recruiting Event
  • Elite 11 High School Quarterback Competition
  • The Manning Passing Academy
  • Rivals Camp Series
  • Jordan Palmer's QB Summit

And because Wilson is always interested in improving the quality of their products, they enlist the help of elite quarterback trainers to help identify additional data points. These trainers can deploy the Connected Football system at numerous football camps and track real progression in the players using it.

The show wrapped up by Rus answering a few questions in the comment section, talking about what to expect from Wilson at the Top Gun Showcase, and urging people to sign up for a chance to win five Wilson GST Prime footballs.

You can learn more about the Connected Football System here, and watch for more Wilson football news by checking back with us often.