Footy Skills Lab Levels The Playing Field With New Accessibility Features

Footy Skills Lab Levels The Playing Field With New Accessibility Features

Football fans across Australia can continue to sharpen their AFL skills wherever they are thanks to the latest evolution of Google’s ‘Footy Skills Lab’ developed with support from AFLW players Tayla Harris (pictured, right), Maddy Prespakis (pictured, left), AFL umpire Nathan William (pictured, centre) and AFL Wheelchair athletes Chris Henderson & Louis Rowe.

The latest updates to the Google Footy Skills Lab, have come together from AFL’s Disability Inclusion team to introduce new features so that players with vision impairments, hearing impairments and those who use a wheelchair can use the platform as a training tool too.

On top of these updates, Google has also ensured fans can learn the basics of umpiring such as how to master the center circle bounce with some guidance from AFL umpire Nathan Williamson.

‘Footy Skills Lab’ is a free platform accessible from any smartphone with internet connection, a footy and some space to move. Built with Google’s open-source machine learning software TensorFlow, ‘Footy Skills Lab’ utilises ball detection and ball tracking models to track progress in ball handling, decision making and kicking at three different levels of difficulty.

The experience also generates a scorecard that can be shared with friends, family, teammates and coaches.

AFL executive general manager of Game Development, Rob Auld said the launch of Google’s ‘Footy Skills Lab’ provides more accessibility for those wanting to play football.

“The AFL is committed to being an inclusive game, and its through the innovation of partners such as Google, we’re able to provide even more access than ever.

“There are more than 12,000 Australians with disability playing Australian Rules football and there are various different leagues to play in, including AFL Blind and AFL Wheelchair, as well as NAB AFL Auskick for all abilities and the Toyota AFL National Inclusion Carnival each year in October.

“The Google Footy Skills lab includes AFLW athletes, AFL Wheelchair leagues and AFL Umpires, so there is something for everyone to learn and be inspired by,” Auld said.

AFL general manager of umpiring Lisa Lawry said: “Umpires play an integral and important role in our game. The Google Footy Skills Lab will not only help to support the development of our umpiring community, but it will also encourage fans to have a go at umpiring and learn more about the skills required.”

Aisling Finch, senior director of marketing, Google Australia said: “We’re thrilled to build on our partnership with the AFL to bring more options for more people to sharpen their AFL skills with Google Footy Skills Lab.

“Whether you’re playing in your living room or in a wheelchair league, you can set your own pace and accessibility preferences – and learn from pro players across AFL Wheelchair and AFLW leagues.”

Google’s partnership with the AFL focuses on continuing to enhance the fan experience on Google’s products and technology.

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