By Dan Guttenplan, FNF Coaches Managing Editor
MVP Robotics has been manufacturing tackling robots for football since 2016, but until last year, had never manufactured a robot with a price point for high school programs. With the MVP | Sprint, high school coaches now have an affordable alternative to live tackling drills and a tackling dummy that performs well on grass.
The idea of using a robotic tackling dummy during practice is it allows coaches to re-enforce proper tackling technique without risking injury of players as they learn and make mistakes.
With concussion concerns increasing and sports participation at the youth and high school level declining, Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) — the company that introduced football’s first robotic tackling dummies to the NFL — revisited the drawing board to redesign their robotic tackling dummies to lower the cost in order to increase accessibility, perform well on grass, and, overall, reduce the maximum number of injuries and player-on-player contacts that occur during football practices.
Here are four ways the SPRINT is the perfect fit for high school teams.
It re-enforces tackling technique.
The SPRINT is the budget-friendly remote-controlled, self-righting, mobile tackling dummy designed to replicate an in-game experience by simulating the size, speed and agility of an elite player. Weighing 165 lbs. and reaching speeds up to 16 mph, the SPRINT enables teams to reduce player-on-player contact during practices while also providing a great teaching tool for athletes that are learning and perfecting proper technique.
It reduces injury risk.
Among youth football athletes, 46 percent of concussions occurred during practice, according to the study published by JAMA Pediatrics in 2015. The concerns over injury have also led to the unfortunate decline in participation, which has fallen nearly 30 percent in the last five years among kids ages 6-12 (Washington Post).
It’s affordable for high school budgets.
In order to combat the alarming injury and participation rates, MVP’s team of engineers did a full redesign of their existing robotic tackling dummies with high school and youth budgets in mind. By redesigning and sourcing consumer electronic parts, the MVP team was able to successfully create a robotic dummy that was durable, less than $4,000.
It works on uneven grass surfaces.
The SPRINT has increased performance on grass and the rougher field types that high school and youth programs often practice on.
“The purposes of creating the SPRINT was to bring the price down for high school coaches,” said MVP Robotics Director of Sales and Marketing Ryan McManus. “That was the feedback we got from high school coaches. It moves a lot of weight quickly, and we increased the clearance to work better on grass and rough fields. We know a lot of high school teams share fields during the season.”
The MVP Robotics Sprint
MVP’s robotic tackling dummies were specifically engineered to replicate the performance and size of a skilled player, enabling teams to get game-like reps in a safer, more effective way.
“The applications we are quickly finding are endless,” said Pittsburgh Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. “It never gets tired, and it runs at an appropriate football speed. In today’s NFL, with player safety the focus, I think it’s going to provide opportunities to improve without the hand to hand or man to man combat.”
The SPRINT is available for order through www.mvpdummy.com