Looking for a smart basketball or app to up your game? Something that puts in just as much work on the court as you do? With evolving science, fitness trackers and training approaches, smart basketballs with advanced motion sensors are the latest must-try technology to use on your own, any time you want.
Basketball training technology has clearly gotten a lot…smarter in recent years, helping many athletes perfect their shot, gain an edge to get more playing time, and even go pro. But how much can all the extra data really help you improve?
While there’s no substitute for your coach, teammates, and hours of practice, these various forms of basketball training technology have proven their worth for thousands of athletes. Here, we’ll compare three of the top smart basketball training apps in the market — DribbleUp vs HomeCourt vs SIQ Basketball — to help you decide which is the best fit for your goals.
What is a Smart Basketball?
By using augmented reality, interactive feedback, and virtual coaching, smart basketballs can help you take timeless basketball drills to the next level. While the underlying technology differs between brands — some have embedded tracking devices while others rely on vision tracking algorithms via an app — the smart basketballs included are discernable from a regulation indoor ball, other than its ability to give you measurable insight into skills and performance. Smart basketball’s innovative technology allows players to track many different metrics including endurance, crossover speed, dribble hesitation, and more.
Each of the below products and technology is made with certain users in mind, so let’s get into why one might be more valuable for your game than another.
Dribbleup vs HomeCourt vs SIQ: How do these basketball training apps compare?
The bball training technologies compared below are ideal for any level, whether you’re looking to get recruited in college, have kids who want to make their middle school team, or just want to win your beer league, anyone can experience the benefits outlined below. Let’s see how DribbleUp compares to HomeCourt and SIQ:
|Basketball training technology: DribbleUp vs HomeCourt vs Wilson X|| |
|Kind of technology||Smart basketball||Interactive AI iPhone/iPad video tracking app||Smart basketball|
|Core features||-ball with indoor/outdoor ability|
-only requires 6ft of space
-requires phone/tablet (iOs 11+ or Android 7+) to record with front-facing camera
-the compatible app tracks the ball after calibration to record every rep & movement in real-time
-hit the virtual targets on the screen to register reps, perfect form & rank on a leaderboard with other DribbleUp users
-the app gives access to specific drills & coaches
|–interactive drills & videos (featuring professional & NBA players)|
-video tracking of each skill with advanced analytics & feedback
–shot tracking (including shot type recognition, speed, vertical, release angle, and leg angle)
-basic skills (reactive ball-handling, etc.)
-challenges (live battles, NBA hotshot challenges, Nike drills, Adidas drills, etc.)
-at home drills
-continuous updates to technology & app
–NBA Global Scout to share skills & profile
|-heat map (shot percentage based on location)|
-shot situation (off the dribble, pass, free throw, etc.)
-shooter ID (multiple users)
-multi-ball support (if you use more than 1 ball in a single session)
|Price||Superstar for $129.99 (includes ball & device tripod)|
Basic for $99.99 (includes ball & small device stand)
Membership for $9.99/mo after a 30-day free trial (membership is required & sold separately from the hardware)
|Free for the basic package|
HomeCourt Plus Individual memberships: $69.99/year or $7.99/month
Group plan (10-50 players):
$1.50 per player/month (yearly) or $1.99 per player/month (3-month plan)
A 7-day free trial that can be canceled any time
|Indoor ball: $99 (size 6 & 7)|
Outdoor ball (women’s/youth size): $99
|What comes with it?||Ball (2 sizes, official or women’s/youth) & stand, depending on which package is chosen. Membership + app separate to track & find drills/workouts||Free: library of 100+ drills & activities, unlimited shot tracking|
HomeCourt Plus: access to all that + 4 user profiles, workout history, skill ratings, members-only training club, feedback from pro trainers, camp participation
|Each ball comes with 1-month free of shooting analytics|
The app user account & subscriptions are required to track shots & each subscription level unlocks all of the app’s shot tracking features.
|Review||4.2 stars Apple App Store||4.6 stars Apple App Store||3.5 stars Apple App Store|
|Warranty?||45-day warranty for normal use||N/a||30-day risk-free trial|
|Return policy||30-day risk-free returns||N/a||Must be unused & in original packaging.|
Dribbleup Smart Basketball Review: What Makes it Unique?
DribbleUp is one of the most popular smart basketballs in the market right now – especially during the pandemic. In addition to their industry-leading smart basketball, they also offer smart medicine balls, soccer balls, and even boxing gloves. Included with the ball is a phone stand (to get the full tripod costs $30 extra – although reviews say the basic stand is plenty), which is used to prop up your phone to record your (and your ball’s) movement on the court. All reviews have raved about the identical feel to a normal basketball, which makes sense, considering you’re in training for the real game (with a regular ball, duh). The ball is regulation-sized, and can be used both indoors and outdoors as your everyday ball, if necessary (and to offset some of the cost!).
A membership and app are necessary to get the drills & software benefits, now just $9.99/mo. For many, the subscription is well worth it for the variety of different drills and coaching it offers. There are many different kinds of drills or skills to focus on, which can be curated to your goals & necessary focus areas (left-hand workouts, dribble focus, crossover techniques, etc.) The app not only guides you through the workouts and tracks your ball live on screen for accuracy & coaching, but it can also record your progress and track your trends over time, giving you insight into your game’s evolution.
The ball must be calibrated with the app (some users admit takes practice to get the hang of) to use each time. Described as “part VR, part video game, and part training”, the app uses your phone’s camera and vision tracking to collaborate with the app, which is more powerful than some other technology that relies on Bluetooth. This reduces the possibility of malfunctions inside the ball, creating fewer possibilities for user issues, along with a perfectly balanced ball and no need to charge anything except your phone. Using a tablet is ideal for this app, as your phone screen can sometimes be hard to see as you’re practicing. You can also connect your phone to the TV in order to have a bigger view of your drills.
DribbleUp’s smart ball is perfect for ambitious players who want to focus mostly on ball handling and dribbling skills. The DribbleUp technology has not yet included shooting or passing drills, although the ball can obviously still be used for the full scope of the game. That said, the app does include additional workouts for endurance and hand-eye coordination (very peloton-esque), and there’s been talk of evolving the DribbleUp technology to include more skills. The bottom line? If your goal is to improve the most basic and imperative of basketball fundamentals – i.e dribbling – DribbleUp is an incredibly powerful training tool.
HomeCourt Review: Can It Do Everything a Smart Basketball Can?
NEX Team’s HomeCourt app is elegantly simple. With only the need for your phone for the app, it’s the best choice for players hoping to maximize their game on a shoestring budget (although the membership can still add up!)
HomeCourt uses AI video tracking and real-time analysis to give feedback on fundamental basketball skills. This includes ball-handling, shooting, and individual skills in an easy training format, many of which feature professional and NBA athletes. Each drill offers advanced stat feedback in digestible formats that help track your progress over time.
HomeCourt appeals to an incredibly wide audience, including coaches (team memberships that depend on the size of your team), camp organizers, PE teachers (essential in the pandemic), and individual players. With a paid membership (or 7-day free trial, you’ll have access to your stats and analysis over time, including during advanced drills, games, and conditioning. You’ll also be able to access training tips from NBA-level trainers and coaches, interactive competitions, scouting software, and more.
As an official partner of the NBA, many of the training videos and drills feature pro athletes to learn their moves and even ‘compete’ against them virtually in interactive challenges. “NBA teams and players have already found HomeCourt to be an important training platform and we believe this technology is critical to the development of players of all levels,” said Amy Brooks, President, Team Marketing & Business Operations and Chief Innovation Officer, NBA. “HomeCourt is not only an engaging channel for youth basketball players but will also be a valuable tool for the NBA to identify talent globally.” (source: NBA)
Continually evolving, HomeCourt just came out with their Space Jam games, with motion graphics that correlate with the movie. In the last year, they’ve established compatibility with the Apple watch, offering more ways to track and analyze your game & endurance. Both these go to show how rapidly their engineers are developing their software, so it will be exciting to see what they come out with next.
SIQ Basketball Review: What Sets it Apart?
With the SIQ (think: Smart IQ) Smart Basketball and just your smartphone, you can turn any standard hoop or court into a world of data to improve your game. FIBA-approved for play in Olympic-caliber games, the ball uses an internal sensor (adding only 3 grams of weight) that connects to your phone’s app via Bluetooth, rather than through AI video tracking. It not only tracks your make/miss percentage but the precise angle of your shot, your ball’s in-air rotation rate, and even the distance from which you shot, among other key stats.
While the technology is not new, SIQ has taken it to a new level for a fraction of the cost of some of the statistic and accuracy trackers (which can be upwards of thousands of dollars). The battery life is roughly 550 hours, offering you over a year of use before needing a replacement (in which case, the $13/mo subscription for a new ball every year saves you over $20 in the end).
The app itself features records of the shot location, release time, release angle (shot arc), spin rate, shot consistency, shot situation (off the dribble, off the pass, relaxed free throw, etc.), shot accuracy, all while tracking your improvement over time.
Scoring endorsements from professional athletes including Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson and Minnesota Lynx’s Kayla McBride, SIQ is designed for amateurs, high schoolers, college athletes, and AAU (and quarantined…) players to work on their game. Great for coaches as well, especially in personal development, the Coach Membership allows you to remotely assign shooting routines, analyze player data & use it for future coaching. The accuracy that this gives each player is unparalleled, beyond just counting your miss vs makes.
SIQ has recently added features that can expand your game beyond just shooting. The app can build personalized insight reports for you to share with coaches, colleges, and scouts– which definitely makes it stand apart. Naturally, the raw statistics are up to the player or coach to use, and SIQ does a nice job packaging stats in a way that’s more actionable.
The Verdict: Which smart basketball app is best for you — DribbleUp, HomeCourt, or SIQ?
Ultimately, the right smart basketball training technology boils down to each player’s individual goals – are you looking to work on shooting, ball-handling, or both? Do you want the added aspect of a smart ball, or is video alone sufficient? Are you able to recognize your downfalls in your stats and coach yourself, or do you need the guidance of drills and virtual coaches?
If ball handling, drills, and constructive feedback are the main areas you’re hoping to improve, get your hands on a DribbleUp ball. If improving your shot percentage and taking it to the rim is where you’re at, and you know how to convert stats into your own development, then go with the SIQ Smart Basketball. If you want coaching from the pros and a combination of shooting, ball handling & endurance drills – without a specialized ball – then the HomeCourt membership is your best bet.
We hope this helps you make the right decision for you, your kids or your team. Happy hooping, Ca$hletes!