Basketball HomeCourt App – A Detailed Autopsy of How It Helps
Homecourt is a revolutionary new application that can help anyone get better at the game of basketball. Not only it is cheap (in fact it is free), it is also easily accessible. All you need is an iPhone, and you can download this amazing app onto your device.
The application will then make use of the iPhone’s camera to record a practice session. It makes cutting-edge analyses that you could previously have access to only if you were playing for an elite basketball team.
This app has gained such a large fandom that even college basketball teams and some NBA teams are adopting it as part of their training regimes.
So, what is Homecourt and how does it work? Homecourt is an app that was designed by NEX Team Inc., a Silicon Valley startup that is comprised of former engineers and developers from Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and Google. The CEO and co-founder of NEX, David Lee, is an ex-Apple employee.
David Lee himself was the one who initially came up with the idea for Homecourt at a family vacation. During the vacation, he participated in a friendly game of basketball with his family as his audience.
To his frustration and embarrassment, he kept missing shot after shot after shot. The humiliation of having his family watch him like this was too hard on him, and he decided that he would put a fix to this by doing what he did best- building an app.
How Does Homecourt Work? (add subheads)
Homecourt uses AI to record and track basketball shots, and identify misses from takes. The way Homecourt works is that you set up the camera and let it record your practice sessions.
The software inside the app uses AI and image recognition technology to create on-the-spot analyses and then produces results in the form of graphs and charts.
The results are produced instantly, and you don't need any sensors and fancy equipment. All you need is an iPhone and its camera to record your practice sessions.
Initially, Homecourt was just a means for NEX CEO David Lee to show his family that he could shoot a basketball and score. The app would take a video recording of a basketball practice session and turn it into a continuous reel of highlights showing every single successful shot.
It was certainly not a very groundbreaking concept, but the idea has evolved in magnitude and complexity, and it now makes use of AI and machine learning to make video analyses and instant reviews.
Homecourt uses a type of machine learning called neural networking. The process of neural networking is modeled after the processing inside the human brain. It takes thousands upon thousands of images to create a knowledge base that allows it to be able to recognize different things and patterns and to be able to differentiate one thing from the other.
In the case of basketball and the Homecourt app, the AI programs inside the app take hundreds of still and moving pictures of basketball courts and able to tell the 3-point line, the ring, the center line, etc. apart. This allows the app to detect locations within the basketball court, and identify the position of the player and the ball, even as they move.
Initially, data for the application was mined manually. For this, the Homecourt development team had to go to nearby local teams, mostly non-professional, to record their practice and playing sessions to help make the software grow.
But over time, the developers realized that it would be a nice idea to have the system automated, and let the machine self-learn instead of memorizing a chunk of data. This meant that there was a slow and methodical progression towards the use of AI and machine learning in the functioning of the Homecourt app.
The idea for Homecourt was pitched before NEX was established. Two years into developing the idea, which started as a personal project for Mr. David Lee, the app was released in July 2018 for iOS devices.
Recently NEX launched the new Shot Science feature in Homecourt with the help of NBA legend Steve Nash. Steve Nash was present throughout the whole development process of Shot Science, and he was also present at Apple iPhone XS keynote event to promote the app's updated features.
The shot science feature allows the app to make a variety of measurements, including shooting height, ball release speed, the angle of shooting etc. You can also zoom-in on recordings to get a closer look or watch it in slow motion to catch details that the naked eye miss.
With these updated features, the app takes note of your location and assesses the quality and accuracy of your shot by all the various metrics. The app also differentiates shots that were missing from ones that were not.
A shot-by-shot analysis is another thing you get as a result of the updated Shot Science feature. These which show you the different stats associated with every individual shot gives you an understanding of how to fire your shots for better scoring probabilities.
You get instant feedback in the form of session summaries, session charts, and graphs, etc.
Dribble Workout Games
Dribble workout games have been included in the app to add a bit of fun and interactivity. The games are designed to improve your dribble skills and your overall hand-eye coordination.
You are given virtual targets to reach out to while you have the ball dribbling in your hand. You can do more advanced dribbling training by unlocking Homecourt Pro, which allows you to practice doing feats such as crossovers, 360 degree turns, etc.
What Makes Homecourt So Good?
This is one of the best aspects of Homecourt. You don't need sensors or other equipment that are both expensive and uncomfortable to wear.
You want something that creates much less of a hassle and is also cheaper and easier to access. For Homecourt, an iPhone's camera is all you need.
Although iPhones are pretty expensive, they are much less costly than what professional and elite level basketball players and athletes often have to use to better their game.
The Homecourt app is free to download on the Apps Store. A free option is available which allows you to record a maximum of 300 shots per month, which is ten shots on average per day.
With the premium option, which costs around $6.99, you can make unlimited shot recordings.
It Is Leveling the Playing Field (Somewhat)
Nowadays there seems to be an app for almost everything. Whether you want to start a new business or get a ride to get you to work quickly, there is technology that can help you do just about anything.
Therefore, it is not surprising to find that there is an app now that you can use to improve your basketball shooting and dribbling skills like a pro.
According to David Lee, Homecourt has managed to take the first step in democratizing the level of opportunities available to basketball players, whether professional or non-professional.
Something that was only available to elite level pro basketball players is now even accessible to a 12-year-old middle-schooler with an iPhone in his pocket.
This levels the playing field as now; you can train yourself and get the same form of help and advice that someone like Steph Curry or Lebron James would get too.
Even college basketball teams are now using Homecourt as part of their training programs, and it has only been mere months since the app was released (in July).
It Has Solid Backing from The World Of Basketball
The homecourt app has not only been a hit among casual basketball fans, but it has also received strong approval from a list of people associated with the NBA.
Names such as Mark Cuban, owner of Dallas Mavericks; Atlanta Hawks point guard Jeremy Lin, a former executive at Philadelphia 76ers' Sam Hinkie, and 2-time MVP and Hall of Fame Point Guard Steve Nash are amongst the strongest patrons of this tech.
Steve Nash himself was present at the Apple 2018 Keynote event to present Homecourt app with its latest Shot Science feature.
Don’t Work Hard, Work Smart
Jeremy Lin, one of the patrons of Homecourt, has recounted the load of questions thrown at him by youngsters who were trying to improve their game.
When asked about possible ways to develop and improve one’s game, Lin said that people tend to overestimate the value of working hard, thinking that more work and longer means would yield better results.
He stated that it is also important to work smart. By working smart, Lin was, of course, referring to using Homecourt as a means of developing your overall game.
He is a fan of the Homecourt app and is one of its strongest patrons. He even admits to using it for his training sessions.
Community and Social Networking
The features of social networking have been added to Homecourt to give it a more communal feel. Yes, you can share your recordings, even live, with other people using this app.
Others, mostly your friends and family, can observe your progress and give you positive support for your hard work.
Currently, Homecourt is being downloaded onto iPhones in around 100 countries around the world. That has essentially created a large international network of Homecourt users who can all share their workouts and interact with one another as if they are playing together in the same court.
The developers of Homecourt have added competitions and leaderboards to the app. This encourages users to engage with each other competitively and have fun doing that.
You can put yourself against your friends and family, and you can also compete internationally. There are prizes for winning competitions, and you can unlock achievements too if your scores are high enough.
And this is only going to get bigger. More and more people are getting this app onto their Apple devices, and this will serve to improve the app as a social platform specifically for basketball junkies.
Cons, Limitations, and Areas of Concern
While there are so many useful features and pros to point out about Homecourt, not much can be said when it comes to its lacking and limitations. After all, it is a new concept, an innovation.
And when it comes to innovations, the parameters for criticism are low, if not non-existent. Since it is the first of its kind, there is nothing you can compare it to and no areas where you could have hoped for better.
Not Useful for Team Practice
All that being said, this groundbreaking mobile application does have a few limitations, areas where we like to see improvements on in the future.
For example, the technology is still not practically applicable in situations involving multiple players, or an entire team. The app is designed to only work for one player and his/her activities.
It cannot account for the overall and combined action of the entire team. In the future, we can hope to see technology that can aid in the development of not only one player, but an entire team of players.
The Concerning Rise of AI
Homecourt is almost entirely AI-based. AI is one of the most highly sought-after and invested-in technologies right now, and in the next few decades, massive improvements in Artificial Intelligence will see the world go through some unimaginable changes.
In theory, more AI should mean more comfort and ease, but it can also cause all sorts of problems and disruptions in the world.
In the case of basketball, what if this invention eventually leads to a state where coaches are not needed anymore, and people rely on this technology instead?
Homecourt is a piece of technology that will likely start a chain of tech releases geared towards sports development.
David Lee said that he hopes to expand this sort of technological developments into other sports.
As of now, Homecourt is the only one of its kind, but soon we can expect to see such apps designed for training in baseball, football (American), tennis, association football (soccer) etc.