"Helpless from the Sidelines"
Hi, I'm Brad Paz and this is the story of how Zoptic was born. My son and daughter play multiple sports. Watching them play as a team and push themselves to achieve their goals inspired me to get involved as an assistant coach. I didn’t want to see them get left behind by kids with more natural talent–or more vocal parents, so I couldn’t help but be invested in their success. But as any parent knows, being too involved is a dangerous game. If I dared offer constructive feedback, I risk losing their trust and confidence.
I had to trust my kids and their coaches that practices were paying off. As they got older and sports got more competitive (and expensive), I wanted tangible proof that my kids were progressing - and that their training was actually safe.
New Recruits, New Focus
The school's AD & I came to a verbal agreement, but the deal was never finalized. I’m sure they questioned my expertise. After all, I was just a dad with a camera. That’s when Tanya came in. Tanya Porter brought undeniable credibility with 20+ years as head of sports performance technology with the US Olympic Committee. She also coached youth softball and hockey and knew exactly how important smart training was for the success of aspiring athletes.
Together, we used what we had (sensors, cameras, athlete data and a passion for performance) to build Zoptic into a complete performance tracking system for teams. We focused on basketball, soccer, volleyball, football, lacrosse, and hockey. The system, designed to be permanent or mobile, offered affordable and real-time performance tracking for youth, amateur, club, and military athletes.
Building an Objective Reality
Because performance improvement starts with hard data, I started by rigging an iPhone to a wearable sensor that tracked athletes’ movement up and down the field. The camera, plus a simple bookmark button, created a summary of a game or practice, so when I gently reminded my kids that they were slacking on defense, I had proof.
I knew I was on to something, and took the idea to the head of sports science at a major NCAA D1 school. He liked the camera, but the school already had an army of videographers. So he was actually more curious about using the data coming off the sensors to manage athlete loads.
Professional Insights for Amateur Sports
There’s nothing worse than watching an athlete run a drill during practice and come up lame with a strain, sprain, or other stress injury. But it happens all the time. At least 65% of sports-related injuries are actually non-contact. While people focus on the bone-crushing tackles and devastating head-on collisions, the real killer comes in the form of overtraining. And something like an ACL tear can be tens of thousands of dollars to repair and rehab, costing youth athletes precious time, and their parents loads of money.
Pro teams know this. Take the famous example of the Golden State Warriors. Armed with a team of data scientists, they recognized when their stars were overtraining and fatigued, and they sat their MVPs. While that led to fewer W’s during the season, it brought home more trophies in the long run. It’s an excellent strategy that requires one of two things - highly skilled intuitive coaches, or bulletproof data.
The 150,000 competitive teams playing sports in America have no way to measure if their practices are paying off and keeping them safe. Our sensor data, delivered at scale, will help more teams uncover invisible human performance data to reduce injury risk and optimize athlete development. (And it doesn’t end there. Zoptic is also ready to help America’s military and first responders train safely and measure their performance).
In increasingly competitive youth sports, parents, coaches, and players always want to up their game and have a competitive advantage over the competition. Coaches rely on their gut to make decisions, and parents have to trust their coaches (who may be coaching dozens or hundreds of athletes at a time). Plus, with NIL opportunities on the line, athletes are more motivated than ever to train smart, stay healthy, and remain in the game.
The magic of Zoptic is objectivity. Coach’s favorites and the sponsors’ kids get measured by the same system as everybody else. And as we build Zoptic’s sports performance data library, we’ll offer competitive benchmarking so athletes can know exactly where they fit among their peers. In a Zoptic-optimized future, athlete data informs recovery, helps coaches develop their talent safely, and helps athletes be game-ready.
Harness the Power of FOMO
As parents, we are intimately aware of the time and financial investment in youth sports. The year-round commitment isn’t getting any cheaper, and more and more parents want tangible proof that their kids' activities are beneficial. When one school, district, or league picks up Zoptic, it’s only a matter of time until the competitive advantage becomes unfair and the next town over wants in.
Help us prevent the next knee sprain that ruins a scholarship opportunity for a rising star. Help us measure the things that matter.