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AIS technology paving the way for future basketball stars

02 February 2024

The nation’s brightest basketball talent have been honing their shooting skills at the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) as part of Basketball Australia’s annual National Performance Camp.

A group of young basketball athletes shooting a basketball into the hoop on the AIS basketball courts.
Rising basketball stars took to the AIS basketball courts to practice their shooting skills during Basketball Australia’s National Performance Camp.

Designed to be a gateway into Basketball Australia’s national teams, the camp invites a group of 16- and 17-year-old rising stars to gain an insight into what is involved to become a future Australian Boomer or Opal.

This includes not only having access to a selection of high-performance and Basketball Centre of Excellence (CoE) coaches in an elite training environment but also to some of the AIS’s next-level technology designed to improve performance.

One new piece of technology used by players and coaches at this year’s camp is the RSPCT system which tracks the flight of the basketball to improve shooting accuracy.

An optical camera is positioned on the backboard which detects the basketball and tracks its flight towards the hoop. The data is then immediately displayed on a phone, iPad or as is the case at the AIS courts, a Smart TV positioned behind each ring.

As Head Coach of Basketball Australia’s women’s CoE program David Herbert explains, the benefit of using this system during training sessions means that players and coaches have immediate feedback about a shot, including where on the court the athlete took the shot, where the basketball hit the hoop and the arc of the basketball into the hoop in degrees.

“To have everyone tested has been amazing. It gives us direct feedback to compare the CoE athletes that are here and make sure what we’re doing right here in Canberra is state of the art,” Herbert said.

A smart TV displaying data from the RSPCT System tracking the flight of basketball shots.
The RSPCT System displays immediate feedback about a shot, including where on the court the athlete took the shot, where the basketball hit the hoop and the arc of the basketball into the hoop in degrees.

Manager of Research and Innovation at the Australian Sports Commission Tim Kelly said the system also provides reports at the end of a shooting session about how many baskets an athlete shoots, but importantly where missed shots are missing.

“This information provides coaches with the opportunity to consider interventions to tweak the athlete’s shot.”

Having had a training session using the RSPCT system, athlete Zara Russell added that it’s been “really good for self-development”.

“I’ve never used any high technology before coming here so it’s been so cool. Coach feedback is great but seeing the numbers on the screen is straight hard evidence which really helps, and you can sort of coach yourself in that way,” Russell added.

And according to Herbert, it’s “absolutely” improved Russell’s shooting abilities.

“In the camp she shot at nearly 74% from the three-point line when taking 56 three-point shots. That’s amazing,” he said.

“I think she’s really progressed and having the technology… allows us to keep a record and to see that progress over time.”

A group of teenage basketball athletes being coached during a shooting practice at the AIS basketball courts.
The RSPCT system is proving to be beneficial for both coaches and players looking to improve shooting technique during training.

The camp itself has been running at the AIS for more than forty years and has seen many Opals and Boomers attend as junior players including Lauren Jackson, Penny Taylor, Steph Talbot, Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut and Aron Baynes.

Shooting has been a key focus area for Basketball Australia and with the RSPCT system now in play, the future of Australian basketball is looking bright.

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