ROCHESTER, Minn. - A Rochester startup is changing the way football teams practice--using technology to help coaches better communicate with players on the field.
CEO and founder Mike Rolih started GoRout in 2014. GoRout creates on-field wearable technology that allows coaches to send plays and make adjustments on the field in real time.
"You want to go fast, you want to be up-tempo, you want to get as many plays in as you possibly can. That's the way you guys play. Why are you still doing things that we were doing 10 years ago? How has this not evolved?" Rolih said, referring to how coaches use cards to explain plays during practice.
"It adds another coach or two back to your process. Instead of having to manage a card, they can actually coach the player," he said.
GoRout's first device, "Vue," looks like a smart phone and can be worn on a player's wrist or waist. Using a phone application, coaches can send players new plays in real-time. The device vibrates when a new play comes in.
According to Rolih, instead of doing 12-14 reps in 10 minutes, you can run 40-50 plays in the same amount of time.
"What's great about it is it just allows the communication between coach and player to be absolutely efficient, absolutely streamlined," Rolih said.
GoRout now has a prototype called "Vue-Up." It can be installed in Riddell, Schutt and Xenith football helmets and projects plays onto an HD color display screen. It's also voice controlled. Vue-Up's motion-sensor camera captures each play from the player's point of view.
"We're growing like crazy as a company," Rolih said.
The company took its next step when it took one of the top prizes in the NFL's 1st and Future startup pitch competition. Ahead of Super Bowl 51, GoRout was chosen to attend the competition out of more than 1,500 applicants. They ended up winning $50,000, two tickets to Super Bowl 51, and acceptance into the Texas Medical Center Accelerator.
"That's a pretty great award to receive and it's obviously a huge milestone for our company, being such a young startup, having the NFL validate what you do is a huge step," Rolih said.
So far, high school and college teams use Vue for practice. However, Rolih now expects at least six NFL teams to use the technology this year.
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