Swish Is A Basketball Coach For Your Smartwatch

A new app straps a virtual coach to your wrist to help tighten up your basketball game by up to 60 per cent. Sound crazy? Maybe it is, but NBA Sixth Man of the Year Ben Gordon is a believer.

Gordon signed on with Onyx Motion to help the development of Swish, an app that uses a basketball player’s smartwatch sensors to analyze their speed, elbow position, arc angle, shot consistency and even effort to offer practical tips for improvement on the fly.

Part and parcel to the app’s analysis is Onyx’s AI coach, which adapts to your play and learning style. It offers suggestions based on data drawn from the on-court moves and advice of elite athletes and coaches to give you pro-level results. Does your performance show you respond well to tough love? Brace yourself, because you can customize your workout by changing the tone of its verbal cues to match the heightened intensity you want.

According to the app’s Indiegogo campaign, the team envisioned a virtual coach that used machine learning to constantly improve the quality of an athlete’s workouts. “Swish allows mobile devices to break into physical interaction to a point where it can tell you what to do to get better,” co-founder and CEO Marissa Wu told U of T Engineering News. “Our goal was to create a health and fitness device that would give personal recommendations, not just churn out numbers.”

Those numbers, stored from practice to practice, are then used to create a customized coaching plan that gives you more long-term advice. If you’re having an off-day, for example, it’ll tell you to get back on the court—perhaps even in the form of an inspirational Michael Jordan quote.

But it’s in the then-and-there that Swish shines: all feedback is instantaneous, meaning you’ll be able to improve your shot without delay. Before you even take the shot, proper shooting form is established through the use of a digital level displayed on your smartwatch. If you brick that three-pointer, it will immediately tell you the source of your problem—you’re not bending your knees enough, for example.

Putting your newfound skills to good use goes beyond stomping opponents at the local Y. You can view your progress and your friends’ via the app’s ranked leaderboards for some extra motivation to outdo your buddies, and even create competitive challenges.

The Toronto-based project kicked off its crowdfunding effort at the beginning of this month, and will continue raising cash until August 8. Swish has raised $4,541, almost half of its $10,000 funding goal. The developers expect to release early beta builds of the app as early as September this year if successful.

Until then, check out the app in action below.

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