BOISE, ID — A former Boise State football player has helped invent a way to keep your head in the game at all times...or more like keep the game on your head. We all know the phrase "practice makes perfect," but football coaches and players both know how much of a toll daily practices can take on the body. But now, a former Bronco has made it possible to get on the practice field without having to take one step. We got behind the goggles with Playbook Five.
Hardcore Boise State Football fans will remember safety Jason Robinson, who played during what many called one of the golden eras of Bronco football from 2006-2010. Today, his playing career might be done, but his passion for the game is still there, and it shows in a program he helped create called Playbook Five.
"Playbook Five is a learning platform that allows coaches and players to take reps--an unlimited amount of reps off the field. So we leverage virtual reality and also a web platform for coaches to administer the engagement," said Playbook Five Co-Founder and CEO Jason Robinson.
Virtual reality-based football coaching--sounds complicated.
"A player will essentially go into the VR goggles and select the play--whatever the coaches told them or independent studying. They can do whatever they want, take as many reps as they want from any positions, as well as different positions that you may not have the opportunity to study," said Robinson.
It's basically a new way to get on the field without having to put on the pads or lace up the cleats, and it can be done from anywhere in the world.
"Exact hash marks, exact width, exact distances, and then eventually the simulation will begin, and once the simulation begins, every player on the field will move the same way they're supposed to move on the field," said Robinson.
Robinson says that being physically gifted is just part of the game, but without knowing the ins and outs of every play at your position, you're at a disadvantage.
"I believe that my own personal understanding of the game is attributed to [the fact that] I played several positions, I had different perspectives. I saw things from the quarterback. I saw as a safety. I also was a ball boy. I was a coach's son. I watched a lot of film with my dad at home," said Robinson.
And with that, the former Bronco figured out how to merge that knowledge with modern technology.
"I knew what to build, you know? I had a lot of reps, you know, I played the game and saw--and I think that's kind of helped us accelerate this process a little bit," said Robinson.
In it's short time since being released a little over a year ago, Playbook Five is now being used in six different states and three different countries. Robinson says the results speak for themselves.
"Everyone's made the playoffs. They've increased their win/loss percentage by at least 25 percent. Guys are winning more with it," said Robinson.
One of the biggest fans of Playbook Five are parents--not just to see their kids learn the game more, but for another huge reason.
"Injury prevention, right? So you go down, you play youth football or youth soccer or youth volleyball, you have all these injuries that happen and many of them come from practice. Interesting stat: 51-percent of high school injury, emergency visits stem from practice," said Robinson.
With today's smartphones and tablets, virtual reality programs are becoming more and more accessible to anyone and everyone, a big reason why this former Bronco believes that every football player will one day be using his invention.
"It's my belief and our belief and many others' belief that signed on for this that every team needs to have this, and if we do our job, they will," said Robinson.