Sports Wearables

You got game with Hoop Tracker wearable training system

As key as making consistent shots are in basketball, for most players it isn’t the easiest thing to practice. Sure, players can shoot around from all over the court and do so for hours, but that gets old really quickly. And even if someone has the motivation to put the practice in, there’s no way to really track sessions.

Hoop Tracker combines the training regimen for basketball players with technology to provide in-depth statistics like shooting percentages and locations, for example. A shot detector magnetically mounted to the inside rim of a basketball hoop works alongside a downloadable app for Pebble, Android Wear, Apple Watch, and popular smartphones. All of these stats can be uploaded for review to track strengths and weaknesses over time, or to be shared on social media.

To keep motivation up, training programs and games like Score 100 and Three Point contest have been incorporated, and an open API will ensure a steady stream of new ones. A coach mode allows the simultaneous tracking of up to 15 players. Basketball players are getting a lot of love with training products like this and the Shoot Natural Glove, so in combination they should all be a positive influence on their game. A donation of $50,000 gets Hoop Tracker out of the door and onto the court for a $39 early bird backing.


TorrX pumps up your sports balls, won’t burst them

Balls used in sports need constant pumping to keep them firm enough to play with. They’re constantly losing air and, if too soft, can ruin any football, basketball or soccer game. The only problem is that traditional air pumps leave you guessing. Either the ball isn’t as firm as it should be or too much air is pumped in causing the ball to burst.

TorrX is a digital air pump that takes the guesswork out of breathing new life into sports balls. To use, just turn on and select whether the ball should be pumped manually or automatically. For the manual mode, it’ll display the ball’s psi. For the automatic range, input the optimum psi and it’ll fill it to that level. TorrX is long and skinny, perfect for throwing into any sports bag.

This is a great product for any sports enthusiast, athlete or coach who constantly find themselves with weak footballs, basketballs, soccer balls or any other kinds of ball. The battery lasts long too, boasting the ability to fill up 50 soccer balls on a full charge. For their own, backers can donate $45 to receive by June 2015. TorrX is looking to raise a whopping $100,000 on Kickstarter.


Court Grabbers keep players from slip slidin’ away

There’s little that’s more annoying on a basketball court than when a tight score is making the game “up for grabs” and a dirty court is making getting traction a near impossibility. Anxious players lick their hands, rub the bottom of their shoes, and hope they don’t get sick later.

Court Grabbers restore traction to shoes in a quick, easy and safe way. Before the game or practice begins, the player laces the base strip onto their shoe once, applies traction gel to the traction pad, and slides it onto the base strip. It clicks in place and stays secure throughout the game or practice. Then whenever traction is needed, the player wipes the bottom of their shoe across the traction pad on the top of their other shoe, and dust, dirt and traction is restored to shoes. This means players have traction available at all times when on the court. When the traction pad gets dirty, just toss into the washer and dryer. It’s not clearly indicated how frequently the product should be washed for optimum game traction results. The product has been declared “permitted for play” by NCAA and NFHS, and is presently being used by players in 42 states and 11 countries.

This product’s appeal will be pretty much limited to its niche market of basketball enthusiasts, aspiring professionals and pro ball players. Backers looking for an easy way to tote all their sports gear might want to check out the Zondo Firefly Backpack campaign, and those looking for a way to monitor and improve their game might want to check out the LUUV campaign. For $15, backers get one product with an expected delivery of February 2015, if the campaign can raise $20,000.


Live Lids caps off your game with a screen to display logos

The Premise. Over the last 100 years, the baseball cap has become an icon. From its humble origins on the diamond to its current place in almost every facet of popular culture, its countless iterations have proven its staying power. Unlike most other classics that eventually adapt to a new era, there aren’t very many examples of a hi-tech baseball cap.

The Product. Live Lids is swinging for a home run with its modern take on the classic cap. Its version flaunts an embedded 2.8 inch LCD screen on the front panel. Although the screen can display any image, the company is banking on the wide variety of athletes and team logos available thanks to deals struck with the MLB, the NBA, and the NFL. These images can be downloaded online from Live Lids’ own Web site for a reasonable 69 cents each and synced to the cap the using CapSync software. The hat holds up to 100 images which can be displayed one at a time or as a slideshow for up to 11 hours on a full charge.

The underside of the brim looks more like the sides of an MP3 player, including a microUSB port for transferring and charging duties sit opposite controls to turn the product on or off, move to the next image, toggle hat modes, or explore files.

The Pitch. Live Lids’ campaign page is chock full of information, high quality photos modeling some of the many cap combinations, and a few videos. Understandably, the videos are all about the fashion appeal and show off the product’s LCD screen in all its slideshow glory. Live Lids is seeking an influx of $50,000 from the Kickstarter community to begin mass production.

The Perks. $75 nabs you a Live Lids cap while $99 gets you one with personalized stitching, which is at most $44 cheaper than the listed price on Live Lids’ Web site. Bigger pledges  offer you the opportunity to buy up to 10 Live Lids caps with a discount.

The Potential. Live Lids injects some modern flair into a sports staple, but perhaps not quite modern enough. Bluetooth support would allow updating the hat on the fly, which could be a great way to honor an athlete who just made a great play — that is, if you can see it. LCDs are notoriously tough to see in the kind of sunshine that ideally accompanies a baseball game. On the other hand, it could be distracting at indoor sports such as baseball and basketball.

While it’s great that Live Lids is seeking officially licensed logos and other graphics, community-generated content could also be fun to display. The product embodies some good ideas, but needs better connectivity and display technology.


Jump Shot Pro puts some thunder in your jumper

Jump Shot ProCoaching only gets basketball players so far. At some point, they won’t know what a good shot feels like until they experience it for themselves. In the spirit of basketball shot trainers such as the Shoot Natural Glove, the Jump Shot Pro is a worn constraint that people wear to allow them to perfect their jump shot. This sleeve is worn on the shooting arm and helps to spring load the forearm to shoot the ball with more power. One Pro costs backers $80 with an estimated delivery date of August 2014. The Jump Shot Pro sleeve has a $50,000 Indiegogo goal over a 60-day campaign.


Shoot Natural Glove helps make basketball players straight shooters

The Premise. Perfecting the one-handed shot in basketball is essential to honing a player’s game. It’s difficult to learn this shot, however, and most make the mistake of using two hands which can mess up the accuracy of the shot.

The Product. The Shoot Natural Glove is a basketball shooting training tool that allows players to feel what it’s like to shoot a proper one-handed basket. It is simply a glove that shapes the hand in the correct way for a one-handed shot by eliminating “thumbing”, one of the biggest problems in basketball shooting according to the campaign. The glove is black, fingerless, reversible and keeps the thumb rigid with a piece of built-in plastic.

The Pitch. Shot in a gym and accompanied by a number of demos as well as a cameo by a former NBA pro, the video for the Natural Glove tells the story of how the creator came inspired to create the glove. After breaking his thumb and ignoring doctors’ orders about staying off the court, he discovered that his cast helped his game. It was this incident that gave him the idea for his product. This shooting aid hopes to raise a relatively modest $5,000 in a 30-day run on Kickstarter.

The Perks. One Shoot Glove goes for $30 on Kickstarter with an estimated delivery date of June 2014. Reward tiers go up to $250. A stretch goal of $15,000 has been set to allow for more options for glove colors in the future.

The Potential. Other products don’t seem to offer the flexibility that the Shoot Natural Glove does. For instance, the J-Glove isn’t ambidextrous like the Natural Glove is and can only be bought either for the left side or right side. The Shotloc aid is quite rigid and doesn’t really teach the player what a good shot feels like, but only really works when worn with few lasting effects. It seems that the Shoot Natural Glove is one of the few out there that focuses on the guide hand alone, teaches muscle memory and doesn’t constrict the hand like other aids do. In addition, the price isn’t bad either, especially for a glove that fits onto both the left and right hands.