LABS DECLASSIFIED INNOVATION STORIES FROM WILSON LABS: GST PRIME

LABS DECLASSIFIED INNOVATION STORIES FROM WILSON LABS: GST PRIME

The best players in the game need the best equipment. But sometimes that equipment doesn’t yet exist. That’s where Wilson comes in.

The best players in the game need the best equipment. But sometimes that equipment doesn’t yet exist. That’s where Wilson comes in.

Over the last 15 years, the game of football has changed. The ball, however, has not. Until now. The rise in up-tempo offenses like RPO means every millisecond the ball spends in a QB’s hands counts. Gone are the days where one-trick-pony QBs could take their sweet time finding the laces before throwing the ball—today’s game means players have to be able to grab it and go. Flag football and 7v7 have also grown in popularity, creating a diverse pool of QBs who need a more versatile skill set than ever before. Wilson LABS set out to create a ball with that same versatility—a ball that is optimized for every QB regardless of their hand size or where they grip the ball.

GETTING A GRIP

The Wilson LABS team hit the field with hundreds of quarterbacks and studied how each one held and threw the ball. They marked each player’s finger placement on the ball and utilized pressure sensors to determine the “hot zones” where more grip points would be especially helpful.

EXTREME GRIP DESIGNS

The team knew it was against regulation to put anything on the bottom two panels of the ball, so they had to get creative. Leveraging the grip zone data they collected from QBs and using a variety of different materials, cutting patterns, and burning techniques, they designed a variety of new stitch patterns to maximize grip interaction. Each iteration got them one step closer to creating an optimal throwing experience.

THE SECRET'S
IN THE STITCHING

Ultimately, the team decided to add significantly more grip points with double lace reinforcement and extra stitching near both the nose of the ball and where the middle finger rests. The added stitches make the ball easier to grab by providing a ccessible grip points for any QB’s hand.

IF WE PROVIDE JUST ONE MORE GRIP POINT TO A QB, THAT’S A WIN – DREW TRYNER, WILSON INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER

PREPPING THE BALL FOR BATTLE

PREPPING THE BALL FOR BATTLE

From our conversations with equipment managers, we learned that ball prepping is tricky and time-consuming at best, and a total mystery at worst. Most players feel they get the best performance out of a ball once it is broken in, but because break-in time varies based on many external factors (like weather, altitude, moisture, etc.), it’s often hard to tell when the leather has reached its peak.

NEW GAME BALL

PRACTICE PREPPED

GAME PREPPED

Luckily, at Wilson we know a thing or two about leather. So to help players and EMs know when a ball is battle-ready, the team created a prep gauge on the leather that fades once the ball’s natural tack is optimal. This color-changing technology means a player can know their ball is broken in just from looking at it. By eliminating the guesswork, players can be sure they’re always getting the best possible grip and handling from their ball.

IT'S PRIME TIME

IT'S PRIME TIME

INDEX FINGER STITCH: Stitch line gives QB better feel and ‘flick’ when releasing the ball

MIDDLE FINGER STITCH: Provides better ball security and leverage while handling / throwing

2X LACE REINFORCER: Double stitched lace reinforcer increases grip interaction of ring and pinky fingers, which are critical to QB ball security

ACL LACE: the preferred lace of High School / College

SEWN ON STRIPE: Composite stripe increases grip and durability

PREP GAUGE: Lets QBs / Coaches / Equipment Managers know when their ball is ready for gameplay

HIGH VISIBILITY FOIL: Customizable foil accents increase visibility for more game-changing catches

PUTTING IT TO THE TEST

PUTTING IT TO THE TEST

NO BALL IS FIELD-WORTHY UNTIL
IT’S PUT THROUGH THE RINGER

Like every Wilson Football, the GST Prime was tested in the field with real athletes.The LABS team hit the field with local camps and high school teams, and then with college teams like Ohio State, Ohio Northern and Findlay University. Between each visit, the engineers used the feedback from players to inform or inspire the next iteration of the ball.

Once the LABS team felt they were closing in on perfection, they took PRIME for another spin at the Manning Passing Academy. There, they worked with roughly 750 QBs to validate the ball’s design and make sure all of its details were engaging the players the way they intended.

MADE, TESTED & PERFECTED IN OHIO

Handmade at our factory in Ada, Ohio, the GST Prime will take the field for the first time in our very own backyard at The Ohio State University.
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