Like baseball, statistics and basketball have been fused into the data analytics movement. Teams are looking for any edge they can get to win more games. On the individual level, players are doing the same by using wearable technology to improve their skills.
The three most popular wearable devices for basketball are the Shot Tracker, Hoop Tracker, and SOLIDshot. Each device has their own approach to improving players shooting skills, making it useful to review and compare so players buy the best device for their individual training program.
Shot Tracker vs Hoop Tracker vs SOLIDshot
|Shot Tracker||Hoop Tracker||SOLIDshot|
|MSRP: $99.99||MSRP: $149.99||MSRP: $499.99|
|Sensor 1: Wristband||Sensor 1: Wristwatch||Sensor 1: Arm Sleeve|
|Sensor 2: Net||Sensor 2: Rim||Sensor 2: N/A|
|Battery: 3 hrs||Battery: 7 hrs||Battery: 3.5 hrs|
|App: Required||App: Required||App: Required|
|Tracks: Shooting %||Tracks: Shooting %||Tracks: Shooting Form|
Shot Tracker Review
The Shot Tracker system was the first wearable device to be successful in the basketball market. It’s even endorsed by NBA All-Star sharpshooter Klay Thompson. The success of the Individual device has led to the development of the Team real-time analytics system.
How it Works: The system works using two small sensors and a smartphone app. The sensor in a wristband senses each shot attempt and the net sensor records each one as a make or miss. Each data point is saved to the smartphone app.
The app allows players to track improvements in their shooting over time. The data helps players see weak areas in their shooting, whether its midrange, 3 pointers, or a certain area on the court. Challenges and workouts are a bonus.
The sensors are small and unobtrusive. The main drawback is attaching the net sensor. Unless it’s in your driveway, you basically need to drag out a ladder each time you practice in the gym. It’s probably a good idea to get a shooting partner for this and hoist each other up to the net to set the sensor.
Hoop Tracker Review
Hoop Tracker is targeted as an alternative and competitor to the Shot Tracker. The device is still in development, but the differences are intriguing enough to warrant a deeper look.
How it Works: Hoop Tracker is also a 3 part system for tracking shooting efficiency. You wear a smartwatch on your non-shooting hand and the main sensor sits on the back of the rim magnetically via a metal bracket. Your shooting data is collected on the smartphone app for review after the practice session.
The main differences here are the smartwatch and rim sensor. Hoop Tracker aims to make your data more immediately visible and real time via the smartwatch display. The other difference is the rim sensor. The most difficult part of Shot Tracker is getting the net sensor attached. The Hoop Tacker can be set in place with a simple pole.
The idea of seeing your session shot chart with percentages in real time seems like a good one. The problem is why they decided to implement with a proprietary watch design. It kind of looks cheesy, and doesn’t make sense when there are numerous smart watches already on the market. Hoop Tracker could simply be displayed via a smartwatch app.
Hoop Watch could be a contender if they focus on development of the rim sensor, and implement a smart watch app. The drawback of course is the player is then required to purchase both a watch and Hoop Tracker sensor, where Shot Tracker is already a complete system.
Note: Hoop Tracker appears to have failed to reach funding goals, and it’s unclear if it will be available anytime soon.
SOLIDshot is a totally different device than the Shot Tracker and Hoop Tracker. Rather than focus on shooting percentages and analytics, the device aims to improve your shooting mechanics and form.
How it Works: The SOLIDshot embeds three sensors into a shooting sleeve. One sensor is in the bicep, another on the forearm, and the third on the back of the shooting hand. The sensors track, record, and analyze your shooting form over the course of a workout and over time. It tracks 6 phases of a jump shot, as well as 50 other metrics.
First, you match your shooting stroke to one of 8 predetermined styles. The data collected from shooting sessions can help identify the shooting mechanics that need correction. You can even see how fast your shot release is.
Out of all the devices, the SOLIDshot is the most interesting, with the most potential for improving a player’s performance. Yes, the sleeve with sensors looks a tiny bit bulky and intrusive, but sensors are constantly improving and getting smaller. In the future, the sensors will be part of the sleeve fabric itself. The price is prohibitive at the moment, but that too should come down over time.
Which Basketball Wearable is Best?
The wearable basketball device market is still very young. New and better technology is on the horizon, but for the moment our choices are simple. If you want to track your shooting data over time to improve your efficiency, you’ll want to get the Shot Tracker individual system. At the price of $99 it’s hard to beat. If you find more value in fixing and reinforcing proper shooting form, there is nothing better than the SOLIDshot shooting sleeve.
Photo Credit: chillihead/Flickr