Posted on September 8, 2017 by staff

The Israeli Air Force tech being used to train footballers


Technology which originated in the Israeli Air Force could soon be coming to a Premier League training ground near you.

Playsight is based in the Israeli city of Tel Aviv. Its ‘SmartPitch’ records the action and uploads it immediately to the cloud, allowing coaches to show players instant replays of their contribution.

CEO and co-founder Chen Shachar unveiled football’s version of the tech at the Soccerex convention in Manchester this week and explained to BusinessCloud the advantages it has for clubs.

“A lot of research has found that the sooner you show a player on video what happened, the faster and better progress they make,” he said.

“The technology was used to train Israeli fighter pilots. One of the things we brought from the Air Force was the need to provide an objective system to show what happened during practice or a game. When there is no more argument about the facts, the learning process can begin.

“While the players are drinking water and having a break, the coach can show them what happened on the pitch using a smartphone or tablet.”

Playsight can also live-stream from its HD and 4K cameras, allowing remote coaching or scouting. Shachar says this has media potential for fan engagement.

The firm started out in tennis and basketball and is also working with teams in many other sports, such as ice hockey and handball. Approaching two million hours of live footage has already been broadcast by the system, mainly in North America and Europe.

It is already providing its system to Bundesliga club Hoffenheim in Germany. However the key is making the tech available to everyone, according to Shachar.

“We wanted to bring this technology to sports in the same way that Nike or Garmin brought wearables to the masses,” he said. “[This could be] practice pitches or junior clubs – we want to give them the same opportunities the elite players have.”

The system, which costs from $12,000 to $20,000 a year, incorporates analytical tools and can integrate into third-party sensor, tracking and tagging platforms.

“Take biometric data, tactical breakdowns and analysis – we are trying to fuse all that information by integrating those platforms,” said Shachar.

“One of our key advantages is ease of use: the fact that the coach and players themselves can operate the system is a big advantage for a club.”