Can ‘Athletic Intelligence’ Be Measured?

Teams in the NFL and other leagues believe performance on a tablet can predict success in the real game. 

Two N.F.L. draft prospects sat on a couch on the shaded patio outside a hotel room in St. Petersburg, Fla. They were waiting to take another test. They had only been in town a couple of days, and already this was their sixth test. Each time it was the same routine: Go to this room at this time, ask for this person, do whatever he tells you. No one said what the tests were for, and so far the prospects had never been told how they did.

READ HOW gameSense’s own Dr. Len Zaichkowsky is helping bring cognitive skills to the forefront of sports.

gameSense Sports Selected to Join Techstars SportsTech Melbourne

gameSense Sports is pleased to be part of the Inaugural Techstars SportsTech Accelerator class. 

To read the full press release, visit:

To learn more about the
SportsTech Accelerator Program visit:

The Techstars SportsTech Melbourne Accelerator
Inaugural Class

April 2,

By Todd Deacon, Managing Director of Techstars SportsTech Melbourne

SportsTech Melbourne Accelerator focuses on early-stage sports technology
companies that aim to disrupt and drive innovation in high performance sport,
grassroots participation, as well as event and media technology.

Our 2020
cohort is truly diverse. It boasts a global list of companies, ranging from
Australia, Spain, Germany, Austria, India, USA, and Canada. On top of this, our
founders hail from various backgrounds including sports science professors,
automotive engineers, film production, ex-athletes, photographers and
previously successful startup entrepreneurs.

Amidst the
current global climate, Techstars’ top priority is our network’s health and
safety. We will continue to do all we can to minimize the risks of COVID-19 and
work together to get through this worldwide crisis. We are actively adjusting
how our organization is operating, working hard to minimize disruption to our
programming and events. As part of these adjustments, we’ve decided to take the
necessary and responsible measure to ensure the safety of our founders and
mentors by delaying the official start of Techstars SportsTech Melbourne
Accelerator to June 1st.

At the same
time, we’ve selected the 10 companies that will be joining us for the inaugural
year of our program and we are thrilled to begin our work with them. Over the
course of the next 2 months we will be working with these companies to provide
programming, mentor connections and other resources between now and when
officially begin our program.

Like all
Techstars accelerators, our goal is simple – we will turbocharge our
companies’ development with their customer growth, fundraising, and other
fundamental business functions. Our corporate partners – Tennis Australia,
Victoria University and LaunchVic – share this vision, and we’re excited to
collaborate our resources together in helping build ten world class SportsTech
companies. Join us in welcoming the following companies to the Techstars
worldwide network.


creating the first immersive network for visual and audial media. Captured and
created from any camera-enabled device in the world.


the largest e-learning sports app for children where they learn, share and
compete in fun physical activity skills each day. With over one thousand videos
produced by professional Olympians, athletes and coaches spanning 15+ sports,
daily fitness competitions, sports-watch integrations, weekly leaderboards,
social video sharing, health data and analytics, e-shopping and more.

Swing Vision 

Swing Vision
is a mobile A.I. platform for athletes, providing real-time video analysis and
coaching using proprietary machine learning and computer vision on just a
single smartphone.

Snapscreen Have you ever tried sharing what’s on
TV? Snapscreen is the sharing revolution for TV and streaming services,
enabling viewers to take a photo (or snap) of a TV with their mobile and
instantly get a broadcast quality clip to rewind, personalise and share


A-Champs is
getting people of all ages and fitness levels to move with engaging training
solutions that are based on a unique mix of IoT tech, gamification and sports


str8bat ( is a Sport Tech company with a vision to democratize technology in
sports to empower all consumers who play sports to get better and help them
engage with peers and experts in a contextual manner. We capture
motion without cameras
 and have started with cricket as our first
line of business.

gameSense Sports

Sports is an interactive HD video-based player sports training platform helping
both coaches & athletes (novice thru expert) to develop an entire team or
individual player’s fast reactive skills 500x more efficiently.


Fitmind is an AI-powered coach that improves youth athletes’
mental wellbeing and performance.


TENX is a global tennis equipment Brand setting new benchmarks
in racquet playability and online price value. 


MyFavorito is a platform for digital sport sponsoring, fan
engagement and CRM. Solving the existential problem for sporting clubs
worldwide to become financially stable.

For more information

Upside Chat: Len Zaichkowsky, World-Class’ Sports Biofeedback Expert

Listen to the Audio Interview

This week we had the honor of chatting with Len Zaichkowsky, PhD, retired Professor from the Boston University, World-class’ sports biofeedback expert, and performance consultant who has worked with many elite pro teams (Vancouver Canucks (NHL), Real Madrid, National Spanish soccer team…) over the years.

Listen to the audio interview here:

📝Show Notes: Throughout our conversation, we touched on how he started his career in biofeedback, how important biofeedback is to players’ mental health and how it can impact their performance over time, and his experience working with pro teams like the Spanish national soccer team (La Furia Roja) during the 2006 Soccer World Cup in Germany. We also touched on his experience as an entrepreneur and his view on emerging technologies.

🚀Best Quotes: Here’s some of the key discussion points and best quotes from our conversation with Len or Doc Z as many call him:

  1. On how he started his career in biofeedback: 

  2. It started when I was really a graduate student. I’ve always had an interest in technology for sure. But interesting developments happened in the 1960s where people like Dr. John Basmajian in Ontario and Barbara Brown in California, Neil Miller, Joe Kamiya in California, also Tom Budzynski in Colorado, and others started publishing papers that described how with sensors placed on the human body, you could record physiological functions and if subjects could receive feedback (visual or auditory), they could regulate that modality. For example if a sensor was put on the frontalis muscle and the signal was fed back to the client, he or she could learn to raise or lower the microvolts of activity at will.  Dr. Basmajian even taught his clients to self-regulate single motor units. Barbara Brown and Joe Kamiya taught clients to self-regulate brainwaves with feedback. And Neil Miller was incredible when he showed that animals and humans could learn to self regulate heart rate (..) At that time people thought that HR regulation was not possible, but it was amazing research which was then published in the best journals. And they formed a kind of a loose association that ultimately turned into be the Biofeedback Society of America and later BCIA. And when I was a grad student reading that literature, I said, this is all about self regulating stress responses. And at the time I was working primarily in sport. So,  I thought: “Why couldn’t the same concept be applied to sport?”.

  3. On how important biofeedback is to players’ mental health and how it can impact their performance over time: 

  4. “There’s plenty of evidence in the mental health field and medicine in general that biofeedback technology used properly with guidance can really teach good, strong self regulation skills with different modalities. We use EMG for regulating muscle tension, temperature biofeedback for regulating skin temperature, heart rate, and now, heart rate variability for regulating cardiovascular responses. Likewise we use skin conductance feedback for regulating human sweat responses.And of course the brain, which is interesting (..) EEG measurement and training used to be part of biofeedback, but then later on, about two decades ago, neurofeedback became the term used to describe “biofeedback of the brain”. So as I said earlier, there weren’t many of us really working in biofeedback and sport in the early days. Sue Wilson in Ontario was doing sport in biofeedback. Eric Peper in California. Bruno Demichelis at AC Milan started using biofeedback and coined the idea of the Mind Room”.

  5. On how he ended up working with pro teams: 

  6. When I retired from  Boston University I went to work full time for the Vancouver Canucks in the National Hockey League (NHL) in 2010, I presented them with the opportunity to start what I call the “Mind Gym”. Essentially, it was psychophysiology /biofeedback to train self regulation skills to professional ice hockey players. And it was such a new concept to pro athletes. Although, as I mentioned earlier, it has been used in Europe at AC Milan and Bruno Demichelis later introduced his “MindRoom to the Chelsea football club. And I later assisted Real Madrid with their MindRoom when Valter Di Salvo was there. Di Salvo later introduced the “MindRoom” concept to ASPIRE in Qatar. I’d have to say I’ve had some really good success using psychophysiology/biofeedback when I was with the Canucks. We didn’t publish any of that data because it was considered to be confidential”.

  7. On the necessity to educate coaching staffs on what neurofeedback is: 

  8. It’s a big educational effort with players. It was constant education. And of course you have to deal with the coaching staff too in pro sport. You have to try to explain that to them as well in manner which they will understand. And if they’re considered what we might call old school coaches, they’re skeptical of it. So it’s always pushing a boulder up a hill, but I think we’ve made some wonderful progress.  In particular,  the advancement of technology has allowed furniture size equipment to be reduced to devices smaller than a cell phone.

  9. On the stress that many players have to endure right now due to COVID-19 and many uncertainties: 

  10. For sure and I’m certainly on a daily or weekly basis, working with professional clubs and talking to players and yes, there is that uncertainty there. They’re at the top level because they have a certain amount of resilience and mental toughness, but they’re human beings also. And they have this incredible uncertainty that brings upon increased levels of stress and imbalance in their sympathetic nervous system. Naturally, they are concerned about their own safety, and the safety of their families. They’re concerned about their careers as well, the season ending perhaps prematurely, when is it going to start again? So these stressors all pile up and the problem is that it came on so fast that most clubs weren’t in a position to get players and staff ready, that they’re away from the training facility, and they didn’t even have basic physical training equipment, let alone equipment that could help them in self regulation of stress”.

  11. On the fact that coaches and players can use mental health and relaxation apps to teach them self regulation skills: 

  12. “ The good news is that there are plenty of good apps out there. We just have to educate the players and the clubs about the availability of these apps to teach self regulation skills at home to help them with the stress response”.

  13. On his experience working with the Spanish National soccer team in 2006 during the Soccer World Cup: 

  14. “I would have to say, Julien, it was probably the highlight of my professional career, working in all sports around the world. It really opened my eyes to what high quality football/soccer is. Here in North America, up to that time, we weren’t getting much quality football. For sure the MLS was around then and reasonably good, likewise at the collegiate level, good competitive football, but certainly not at World Cup level. And of course the quality of the players on the Spanish team was exceptional in ’06. You may remember that the World Cup was in Germany then. Spain lost to France, I think at the round of 16, and it was a close game. But then the same team led by Luis Aragonés in 2008 ended up winning the European Championship. That was significant and the country just went nuts over that win. And then Aragonés retired shortly after that, and I’d moved to Vancouver by then and I was introducing sport science to the Canucks.

  15. On if he was able to use biofeedback with the Spanish soccer team: 

  16. It was impossible because I had my lab set up in Boston at Boston University back in ’06. Portable equipment were just virtually nonexistent, but I taught them self regulation skills and the importance of regulating their respiration, teaching them breathing techniques as the stress of the contest was appearing. And then with all these players, they were so good that pre game jitters would disappear once the game started. They also had a tremendous work ethic and great respect for each other. I know that was one of the concerns that the coaching staff had, given that Spanish National players came from all over Spain and all over Europe and the trick was to  bring them together for a short period of time, get them prepped for competing against the best clubs in the world. Would there be a little bit of dissension? They all had pretty big egos, but no, they blended so well as a team and in the game of soccer football, nothing is more important than working together as a team in order to be successful. And for that reason they were. But yes, we worked on the self regulation of the stress response as a big part of player preparation”.

  17. On the fun part of his job and his work with elite teams: 

  18. I left academia to go work in professional sport. I wanted to give something back to high performance sport. Sporting organizations have historically been skeptical of “academic experts” and I was aware of this.  I wanted to dispel the “Ivory Tower” impression.   I virtually traveled all over the world, working with Olympic organizations and pro clubs and giving practical advice based on good science. So after leaving Vancouver, when the National Hockey League went on strike, I decided that I should try just doing some consulting work and a little bit more writing.  The bulk of my consulting work is with lowering athlete stress responses and enhancing their performance.  I learned a lot about the importance of physical and cognitive recovery and used heart rate variability for helping athletes recover, which is a big part of what I do now. And I’m also helping organizations with talent identification. Now that doesn’t involve a whole lot of psychophysiology, at least at this point in time, but I’ve had many years of experience in talent identification and professional organizations still want my expertise there”.

  19. On the most challenging part of his job: 

  20. Coaches are resistant to change. But I think as good educators, we can change that a little bit at a time. And the other thing I’m doing Julien, you probably know that I wrote the book with Dan Peterson, my co-author, called The Playmaker’s Advantage, which was a pretty strong look at the importance of decision-making in sport and making correct quick and accurate decisions on the pitch, on the field, on the ice. Not many sport scientists have written about athlete decision making”.

  21. On his latest venture called GameSense: 

  22. “The company is called GameSense Sports. You can check it out on the web, but it uses the scientifically demonstrated and well-documented method of “visual occlusion”. And what that means is that if your audience appreciates baseball, the batter is watching on his tablet or his phone, real live pitchers throwing a baseball at 80 or 90 miles an hour plus. And you as a hitter have to anticipate/decide whether that pitch is going to be a fast ball, a breaking ball, or a change up, and whether it’s going to be a strike or a ball. The teaching method shows only the release of the pitch and not the full throwing action. The idea is to teach the batter to recognize what kind of pitch that is by studying carefully the “occluded” videos (…) So during this virus attack, we’ve had wonderful success with the baseball community where this allowed players of all abilities to “try it at home”.

  23. On the emergence of new companies building contactless biosensors like Vayyar an Israeli company, that has built a tiny radar chip that can measure HR, stress, and even sometimes blood pressure, without any contacts to the skin: 

  24. The Israelis have always been pretty advanced in their use of technology and algorithms. (..) If we can move down into having sensors not even being attached to the body and the data are valid and reliable, that would be amazing.  Now athletes don’t have to worry about how this might impede their performance on the field, on the ice, the pitch, having sensors on their body. Athletes have always resented wearing anything extraneous on their bodies. And in particular, when EEG started to make a move, nobody wanted to wear electrodes attached to their scalp. That’s why EEG has had such difficulty catching on as a feedback system in sport. Heart rate and heart rate variability are much easier and not as intrusive. That’s gotten some pretty good traction. Skin conductance is also relatively easy to use. So yeah, that’s great news to hear (about contactless biosensors), and I’ll be looking forward to reading about that”.

New Southern Illinois University research aims to help athletes and law enforcement

Researchers at SIU Carbondale have developed new technology to improve high-speed decision making skills.

Dr. Peter Fadde created Video-Occlusion, an alternative form of virtual or augmented reality.The technology was originally developed for sports, but it can also be used to increase reaction times in many different professions, including law enforcement and medical fields.

Minor Leaguers are competing against each other with gameSense: Sporttechie Exclusive

gameSense Offers Minor Leaguers Free Access to Pitch-IQ App

By Joe Lemire

Pitch recognition app gameSense is offering minor leaguers free access to its Pitch-IQ app during the Covid-19 lockdown. Seven MLB organizations have taken advantage of this Safe-At-Home program that began in April.

The foundation for gameSense is 1970s-era research into anticipatory behavior based on early visual cues. The app shows a pitcher wind up and release the ball—then goes black at the moment a hitter must decide whether to swing. Hitters using the gameSense pitch-occlusion platform have shown statistically significant improvements in their on-base and slugging percentages.

“Pitchers can keep throwing to stay sharp,” gameSense co-founder Peter Fadde writes in an email. “But what about hitters? We’re giving them a way to help stay sharp for when games start.”

In April, the minor league hitters completed 1,236 drills. Each drill consists of 10 pitches, meaning the players logged about 3,500 virtual at bats. Fadde plans to compile a new research report based on those activities.

Read the Full Article HERE

Ahead of the Curve with Jonathan Gelnar

In this episode of Ahead of the Curve, I welcome Dr. Peter Fadde, pitch recognition expert, Chief Officer and Co-Founder of gameSense, and Associate Professor of Learning Systems Design & Technology at Southern Illinois University. Dr. Peter Fadde breaks down the science of pitch recognition and the valuable methods of training hitters to achieve this skill. *(Mar 2019, 55 min.)


Testimonials from Top coaches/trainers/Startups on what to do during COVID-19 crisis

GameSense sports is a technology company that has developed an app for baseball and softball that measures and teaches pitch recognition using the scientifically validated method of “visual occlusion. It utilizes live video from a large library of pitchers at different levels of ability. Again your phone or tablet is all you need to improve your perceptual/cognitive decision making skills in baseball. Unfortunately the other major professional sports do not have a comparable training system at this time.

Tech Makes Baseball a Simple Game: You See the Ball, You Hit the Ball, You Got It?

This is the third story in a five-part series that examines how swing biomechanics and the proliferation of technological tools are helping hitters.

Modern technology is able to illuminate the kinematic sequence of a hitter’s swing, but those assessments top out at the athlete’s torso. What happens above the neck is just as critical, and it’s hard not to lean into baseball’s most famous truism of all: Yogi Berra famously said the game is “90% mental,” which makes perfect sense if you ignore that fact that he said the other 50% is physical.

Dr. Len Zaichkowski talks about the Myths of Kids and Sports

Youth sports in America is a 15 billion dollar industry. A lot of that money is going towards special coaching and training and participation in elite travel teams. Parents spend an enormous amount of money and time on their kids’ involvement in sports, hoping the investment will pay off in accolades, college scholarships, and even the chance to play professionally. But my guests today argue that all that special coaching you’re spending money on probably isn’t doing much to turn your kid into an superstar.

Listen to the podcast