AUCKLAND BASKETBALLERS GET NEW WORLD-CLASS TRAINING FACILITY THANKS TO UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIP

AUCKLAND BASKETBALLERS GET NEW WORLD-CLASS TRAINING FACILITY THANKS TO UNLIKELY PARTNERSHIP
Basketballers players looking to improve their game can now step into a state-of-the-art training facility thanks to a new project by 3x3 New Zealand rep Karl Noyer and business partner Gavin George.

Noyer brings the basketball IQ while George has turned his business eye to the game after exiting his successful start-up WorkflowMax, which was bought by Xero in 2011.

Mr George who has spent the last 20 years in the IT and finance sector, co-founded WorkflowMax in the infancy of cloud software, basing the solution on a similar product he built while at university for his father’s engineering business.

“My dad was a busy guy and he found a lot of his time was spent on the books. I studied computer science at university and for one of my assessments built him a solution that allowed him to easily invoice his clients. After working in the industry for a few years I recognised early on the opportunity cloud software presented, and working with my long-time associate Chris Spence, we extending this original idea into WorkflowMax, and after a few years of hard work it really took off,” says George. 

And took off it did! Their company was purchased by Xero for a cash and share deal, with George and Spence working out three years in Xero. Having taken some time off, George was looking for his next venture. Through his son’s love of basketball and getting coaching from Karl Noyer, an idea brewed to set up a dedicated world-class training facility in Auckland. 

Together George and Noyer dreamed big. They partnered up to source a location that was perfect: a former high-end storage facility with a laser-level floor and state of the art air ventilation. They fitted it out with a full court, six dedicated shooting stations, four ball handling booths and a whole lot of technology. They named it Swish Factory and it opened last month. The idea - to revolutionise basketball training.

“We have seen some ideas like this abroad, but nothing like this in New Zealand,” says Noyer, who has been around the world playing basketball, in fact has just returned from representing New Zealand at the FIBA 3x3 Asia Cup in China.

“Swish Factory is New Zealand’s most advanced basketball training facility. We wanted to create a facility where beginners and elite athletes alike can come to improve their game. The best way to do that, we felt, was through a combination of technology and great coaching, focusing on improving each player’s individual skillset.”

Each of the six dedicated shooting stations come equipped with Dr Dish ball return machines, and Homecourt artificial intelligence (AI). Athletes can put up hundreds of shots in half an hour and record their entire shooting session, with the AI giving feedback on makes and misses, release height, release speed and release angle.

“Being able to review your entire workout, and understand your shot arc is next level
feedback. But it isn’t just about the tech. Our coaches walk the floor, helping
athletes with their shooting form, providing encouragement, or suggesting different drills
they could work on,” says Noyer.

Basketball is one of New Zealand’s fastest growing sports and there is a nationwide shortage of
facilities for players to hone their skills.

“With court time being so limited, teams can often only afford to spend time working on team drills, with a focus on individual athlete’s skills sometimes missing out, which is where the Swish Factory becomes relevant.

“Here, athletes can work on their core fundamentals. Take ball handling, we have a virtual
trainer guiding athletes through beginner to expert ball handling routines. And as for
shooting, if you are consistently putting up a few thousand shots every week, with correct
form, you are guaranteed to improve.”

With another basketball court now available, it will help alleviate some of the pressure on
training facilities on the North Shore.

“We are hosting eight 3x3 EXE tournaments here across the next few months, and have had social and rep teams work out here already, even though we have only just opened,” says Noyer.

“Having our own court means we can have certainty around our own programmes too. So we are able to offer after school classes, weekend clinics, school holiday camps and will be launching our own 3x3 leagues in July.”

The future of basketball is bright. Participation is exploding, with basketball predicted to become the largest secondary school sport by 2020, after overtaking rugby last year and slotting behind netball. With facilities like the Swish Factory opening, access to quality training technology and coaching is close at hand for players of all levels. 

“That’s the best part of it,” concludes Noyer, “it makes training fun!”
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