Coaching apps
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Just as the 2014 Chevrolet Volt’s intuitive technology assists drivers, these digital coaching apps can help athletes improve their performance with virtual feedback

By Tracey Savell Reavis

 

First it was music, then books. Digital coaching is gaining popularity as a convenient alternative to deliver remote instruction easily at affordable prices. Virtual feedback is replacing the need for traditional live coaching, allowing athletes to go from novice to pro, in a variety of sports, and to receive services via mobile devices and the Internet.

Check out the Volt’s interactive LCD screens that break down your driving style, so that you can switch to the best mode for you. Just like for your car, this cutting-edge intuitive technology can help you to go the distance and provide feedback on your performance out of the car and on the playing field or at the gym.

Soccer: miCoach Smart Ball

Got World Cup fever? Fans of this beautiful game can train to become better players by tracking their workout progress and getting coaching feedback. A sensor package and magnetometer encased inside a soccer ball allows miCoach to analyze forces on the ball flight after it’s been kicked. The tracked data gives measurements that can determine the speed, bend, foot to ball impact location, and trajectory of the kick.

All your information is instantly downloaded and stored with the smart ball app. A quick review of your performance can help you see what aspects you need to focus on to improve your skills. Added videos, tutorials and challenges are easily available when you want to perfect your technique, power, spin and accuracy on the football pitch.

Golf: Swingbyte

Instructional gadgets for golf abound, as amateurs are unrelenting in their quest for the perfect swing. Swingbyte, a new 3D golf swing analyzer can provide the coaching needed to get them there. It works by clipping a small (about the size of a pack of gum) and lightweight (only one ounce) gadget to any golf club just below the grip. When you swing, a wireless sensor automatically sends data to an app on your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth. On-screen visuals include a 360-view of your swing that can reveal things like the clubface angle relative to swing path, club head speed and acceleration and swing tempo.

Recording and then reviewing in real time or archiving it for later, can help athletes adjust the speed on their downswing or correct the angle of the clubface. And Swingbyte even works on putters, so you can be coached to improve your putting game, too.

Basketball: The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball

Dust off that ancient hoop in your backyard and lace up your high tops—the coach is putting you in. The 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball digital coaching system uses nine sensors, three accelerometers and three angular gyroscopes to record and send data and help raise your skill level and put you on the court.

The 94Fifty skills training program will give you the degree of the arc you need to make better jump shots and hit more free throws. Force, control and speed are monitored to perfect dribbling. There’s even a digital host, offering voice commands in an encouraging tone. The outfitted basketball looks, feels and acts the same as a regular basketball. The “smart” basketball takes each individual’s stats, customizes based on strengths and weaknesses, and then adapts to provide a strategy that can improve players from beginner to advanced level.

The trademarks mentioned in this story are held by their respective owners.

Tracey Savell Reavis is a freelance sportswriter who has worked for Sports Illustrated, the NBA and CBS Sports. Her book, The Life and Career of David Beckham, Football Legend, Cultural Icon, will be available this summer.

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