Origin of Hotspot – The story

Posted: October 30, 2011 in Stories
Tags: , , , , ,

I have been asked this on many occasions from friends and colleagues and so I am going to share it with readers of this blog.

I was lucky enough to play college tennis in the USA and the experience was incredible.  If playing college sport is in the grasp of anyone I recommend it!  I went to Stony Brook University under Coach Glassman and played and trained among some fine people.

It was all a bit of a shock to me when I arrived there as players had much more experience than I and the expectations from coaches was much higher and dare I say more professional than what I was used to in the U.K.  For the first time I entered a weight room with a proper program.  Gladly this seems to be more common in the U.K now.

I improved drastically in the USA due to the program that I was following, however, there were still some issues.  In doing conditioning work (speed, agility, plyometrics etc)   there was no way of knowing improvement.  There was the obvious in racing others and the “feeling” of working hard but nothing tangible.  There was also the questions of accuracy, repeatability and cheating!

I was studying electronics and had worked a bit in Motorsport.  I had seen and worked on systems for other sports that were in fact trying to get data on certain things that were deemed important.  The thing was products of this type were expensive and in a lot of cases hard to work with practically and also spat out almost to much data.

This is what was needed in our tennis program.  A way of knowing if individuals were improving, preventing cheating and added motivation and enthusiasm for conditioning training. The other thing that was in my mind was that this system must be simple and affordable to all in sport.  There is the added problem that was added in that it is very difficult to measure multi directional movement drills as we cannot guarantee where athletes are in space and have to added in things such as cones and lines to achieve the accuracy and precision.

Post university I played a few “futures” events in Europe and during this time I was in hotels and on trains or planes when not competing and so had plenty of time to think.  I drew and wrote and the idea of simple trigger points started to formulate.  On my return home I spent any spare moment designing the simple system that is today the Hotspot.

The system consists of Wi-Fi dots that simply send a “I have been hit” message to a base unit that controls simple timing and counting.   The dots or “Hotspot’s” can be positioned where ever to create drills and interestingly have a positive effect on how one moves to touch a dot and the added control forced as athletes know they must touch the dots in order for the drill to count.  With this forced control requirement it becomes increasingly obvious to see areas that can be improved.

Anyway…that is pretty much where the idea came from.  The system remains simple and easy to use but the applications and training options continue to grow.  We are starting to see an increase in specificity in  designing drills etc and the hotspot makes for the perfect tool to monitor these drills.  There is evidence to suggest that by doing this the complete exercise program (strength, power, flexibility, speed etc) can be seen to work and directly influence the overall sporting performance of the athlete.

See the Hotspot System website and the Hotspot in Action

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