Discover all the latest WallJAM news, the best ways to play, amazing events we’ve taken part in and the greatest developments in sport – all in one place.
It might seem a bit churlish to criticise the achievements of plucky amateur competitors, but the sportswriters got a bit carried away with some of those Friendly Games stories: “Norfolk Island – a tiny island of 1,700 people – celebrates first Commonwealth Games medal in 24 years with lawn bowls bronze”. This article makes much of the fact that Canada, with its 36 million avid bowls fans, was dispatched by the gallant Norfolkians in the battle for the bronze medal. We also had the Cook Islands (population 17,380) cleaning up another bowls medal, and Nauru (population 11,359) winning silver in the weightlifting.
The point seems to be that these are huge giant killing acts, but fails to take into account the strange geopolitics of the Commonwealth Games. Norfolk Island isn’t a country it’s part of Australia. The Cook Islands sounds like a session on the psychiatrist’s couch “a self-governing island in free association with New Zealand”. It seems only fair that every British town and village should be given the same right to compete in the Commonwealth Games under its own flag, there are some damn good lawn bowls clubs out there.
And we already have world beaters in many other sports. The town of West Auckland (population 8,509) was the first winner of the World Cup as well as being the hometown of notorious arsenic poisoner Mary Ann Cotton. Glenbuck in Ayrshire (population approximately zero) produced Bill Shankly and 38 professional footballers. Poulton-le-Fylde (population 17,430) has given us not only Paul Stewart of Manchester City, Tottenham and Liverpool fame, but also Scottish international Tony Green (and Keith Harris and Orville, but Orville was banned for bringing the game into disrepute after painting himself green and dressing in a giant nappy). Even Yardley Gobion (population 1,348) can claim that in 1979 it featured on the Blue Peter television series when presenter Simon Groom visited a breeder of St Bernards in the village, although admittedly St Bernards breeding is not yet a Commonwealth Games event.
So come on Prince Charles, in your new role as Head of the Commonwealth sort it out and give equal rights to Upton Snodsbury, Scratchy Bottom and Wyre Piddle. WallJAM is a truly global competition, allowing players to compete not just against their friends, but against the best in the world, inside or outside the Commonwealth.
The human body is reaching the physical limit of achievement in some sports; in athletics, mathematical models suggest that 9.45 seconds will be the ultimate 100-metre sprint record. With ever-increasing rewards for winners and record breakers, it’s little wonder that science has been employed to enhance human performance, but where do we draw the line between using technology to gain a competitive advantage, and being the Australian cricket team? Let’s analyse a few famous sporting scandals and deliver the WallJAM verdict – cheating or not?
Fencing: Labelled the greatest ever Olympic cheat, Boris Onischenko was sent home from Montreal in disgrace and given a ticking off by Soviet President Brezhnev for wiring up his sword to register a hit whenever it took his fancy.
WallJAM Verdict: Not guilty. Fencing belongs in 1950s films and as you’re not allowed to spear anyone for real, livening it up with a few extra beeps and James Bond villains called Boris is a fair call.
Chess: Can we call chess a sport? Well yes, equestrian dressage is in the Olympics, and that’s a circus act. Gaioz Nigalidze was expelled from the Dubai Open and given a 3-year ban for storing a smartphone in a toilet cubicle, hidden behind the pan and covered in toilet paper. An app on the phone was analysing his game and recommending moves.
WallJAM Verdict: Guilty. Unhygienic, but mainly because if I’d thought of this wheeze I’d be a chess grandmaster, earning big bucks, travelling the world and meeting interesting people like errrr, next…
Rugby Union: Harlequins needed a decent kicker late in the game. Fortunately, Tom Williams had to come off with a blood injury allowing kicker Nick Evans to come back on. Unfortunately Williams’ “injury” was the result of biting a joke shop blood capsule, how he must have laughed at the subsequent ban.
WallJAM Verdict: Not Guilty. The Russian Olympic team made Dracula blush with their mass doping programme blood transfusions, this was just a tiny little capsule of fake stuff, and Evans missed the kick anyway.
The Marathon: You’re not likely to gain much sympathy in the running community by hopping on a bus for a few miles before jumping off and sprinting in to claim 3rd prize, but Rob Sloan did just that in the Kielder Marathon, protesting his innocence to this day despite the evidence of his fellow passengers and a Garmin readout which shows him “running” at 30mph!
WallJAM Verdict: Guilty. If you’re going to cheat with public transport at least use South West Trains, they’re more likely to take you there at marathon pace (if you’re lucky).
Darts: Darts? How can you cheat at darts? Phil “The Power” Taylor failed to tell the ref that his game-winning double 12 was outside the wire.
WallJAM Verdict: Not Guilty. It was the ref’s job to spot this, human error can’t be avoided but it could never happen to WallJAM, which uses advanced technology to automatically record and collate key measurements such as speed accuracy and power. Bad news for cheats, unless you can persuade Ronaldo to sign in with your name!
A new attraction is being unveiled at Alton Towers Resort this year, offering a cutting-edge tech led sporting experience for all ages.
WallJAM has been designed to allow the entire family to enjoy a truly interactive physical experience. A mash-up of physical play and digital performance, it is an innovation that allows players to pit their ball skills not just against one another but also to determine how they compare using digital scoring.
The wall gives players the chance to achieve a score based on power, accuracy and speed of ball strike, with scores being posted instantly to a leaderboard and online app. This allows players to share and compare against family, friends and peers.
The brainchild of sport tech entrepreneur Tim Worboys, WallJAM has already proved to be the perfect fit with global stakeholders with activations undertaken with Nissan, Carabao and adidas, while teams such as the New York Red Bulls and Real Madrid are also integrating WallJAM into their fan engagement roll-out.
Pete Hubberts, Games and Arcades manager at Alton Towers, said: “I’m thrilled to be able to announce the opening of WallJAM, the interactive rebound wall game, to Alton Towers from April for the 2018 season. WallJAM offers something different to all our other games, and we hope visitors to Alton Towers will love it.”
Commenting on the agreement with Alton Towers, Tim said: “We are delighted to highlight the engagement potential of WallJAM in the amusement and theme park sector, kicking off with the UK’s most iconic theme park.
“Our entry into this area underlines the shift in skills games from very basic platforms to 21st century immersive technology which allows for relevant user content and scope for inter-venue gaming opportunities.”
The passion aroused by sport means that very little thought is spared to understanding why a player might be performing at less than the mythical 110%. A revealing blog by David Weatherston (http://bit.ly/anxietyblogWJ) illustrates how footballers are not immune from mental health problems but suffer in exactly the same way as anyone doing a “normal” job.
The problem for a footballer is that the physical effects of stress and anxiety which he describes so well – anxiety, nausea, breathlessness, heavy legs, lack of energy – have a critical effect on his job. These effects are often dismissed unsympathetically by coaches and fans alike as a lack of fitness or passion.
Good employers now acknowledge that stress causes anxiety and depression, recognising that ultimately the company suffers too. Football clubs should be no different. Clarke Carlisle and Chris Kirkland have bravely highlighted the issue and teams at the higher levels are doing more for players’ mental welfare, but David Weatherston, who played his whole career in the Scottish Divisions, demonstrates that mental illness can afflict those regularly playing in front of very small, as well as very large crowds, and who don’t fit the unflattering tabloid image of “pampered” superstars. It might be worth bearing in mind next time we’re bawling at our players that they’re “not trying”.
Answer: No, it’s not a Star Trek phaser, we prefer to call it WallJAM – the interactive rebound wall, which is seriously addictive, and can be your friend, coach and competitor all wrapped into one, we’re delighted that our US patent was granted this week.
Searching for patents is a fascinating and sometimes alarming way to waste a few hours. Our first search for “sports” and “wall” led us to the highly topical “device and methods for scoring a snowball fight”. This appears to be an outfit you can wear which includes a target and a “scoring chamber portion” to measure how much snow fell from the target. This could have been the saviour of Toys R Us if it had been in the shops this week! It did make us wonder if WallJAM 2.1 should include another game option for “Snowball fight with yourself”.
Equally the (American) football-shaped toilet dispenser with rotary sensor which triggers a “fight song for a sport franchise” and an emergency button to “alert bystanders or emergency response personnel to come to the aid of the user” seems a little over-engineered, although maybe playing Glory Glory Tottenham Hotspur in the Emirates traps would necessitate such a life saving mechanism.
More worrying was the next result, the “3 Sexual Union Springy Spring Sport System Use Wall”. We would have liked to investigate this patent further, but some things are better left untouched on a wholesome website such as this.
The USPTO states that the invention should be novel, non-obvious, and “useful”, some of these gizmos pass on at least 2 of these criteria…
Wall Wars – WallJAM Challenges The Best Walls in History
They say there is nothing new under the sun. People have been knocking balls against walls for centuries. You’ve got a ball, you’re next to a wall, it’s game on – you versus the wall. WallJAM claims to be more than just a wall, but is it? WallJAM allows every ball strike to be scored on its accuracy, power and speed. We decided to test WallJAM against some historical competitor products to see if it could, to borrow its own slogan, beat the best. Here are the results of our detailed tests, measured against those key metrics of accuracy, power and speed.
Great Wall of China
Accuracy: Apparently you can see the Great Wall of China from outer space, so even Shane Long couldn’t miss this target. 0/5
Power: At its highest point it reaches a height of 8 metres. Booting a ball up there would challenge Leigh Halfpenny. 5/5
Speed: Who knows? It took 2000 years to build this so unlike WallJAM it’s not likely to get setup in time for the Carabao Cup Final. 0/5
Accuracy: The problem here is that with a pig’s bladder for a ball and sandals rather than Predator boots, our Barbarian ancestors would have had similar success to Scotland’s World Cup qualifying campaign. 1/5
Power: With the power of the Roman Empire behind it, you’ll do well to tame this wall. 4/5
Speed: Built on top of some steep peaks you’d be knackered after taking your run up. 1/5
Accuracy: Searchlights every few metres and observation posts everywhere, no excuses for missing this target. 5/5
Power: Looked pretty solid but fell apart overnight. Unlike WallJAM, poor construction lets it down. 0/5
Speed: Massive incentive to fire off those shots before the border guards fired off theirs. 5/5
Next month we bring our testing right up to date with a review of Trump’s Mexican Wall
This would ignore the fact that women’s football was already well developed and immensely popular in the years before and after The Vote, before being crushed by the FA’s 1921 ban on playing in Football League grounds, because “…the game of football is quite unsuitable for females and ought not to be encouraged.”
Mrs Graham’s XI, formed in Edinburgh in 1881 is considered the first British women’s football team, playing an international against England before a pitch invasion caused the match to be abandoned (it’s unclear if the reason for the incursion was sexism or hooliganism, possibly both!). Meanwhile, down south, the wonderfully named Nettie Honeyball had founded The British Ladies Football Club which also played in front of thousands. The First World War galvanised women’s football, and the teams formed in munitions factories were drawing massive crowds. The most famous of these, the Dick, Kerr Ladies drew 53,000 to Goodison Park in 1920.
The FA edict changed all that, and a new generation of football suffragettes was needed. Rose Reilly paved the way, becoming the only Scottish footballer to win the world cup. In England, legendary players such as Kelly Smith MBE have firmly re-established the women’s game, despite the best efforts of Sepp Blatter, who believes that we should …”let the women play in more feminine clothes like they do in volleyball. They could, for example, have tighter shorts”. To this kind of nonsense jockey Michelle Payne has the best response – “Everyone else can get stuffed [who] think women aren’t good enough.”
Proper non-league cup dramas involving teams of postmen and builders, played on grassless swamps in places that always sounded like Shepshed or Bilston. The magic of Cup Final Day: Wembley, sunshine, a 3 O’Clock kickoff, the Goodyear blimp, a whole day of Cup Final TV, and all that pre-match fun. The TV schedule for May 3rd 1975 reveals almost 4 hours of entertainment before the West Ham and Fulham game kicked off.
Oh yes, that was good wasn’t it? It’s a Cup Final Knockout featuring such “classics” as “Bobbing Football Slalom, Seesaw Football, Pass the Medicine Ball, Caterpillar Balloon Bursting, Pass the Plank of Water Buckets and Netting the Footballs”.
Over on ITV we had All in the Game, “an exciting series of games intended to test the skills”, although the sight of 5 Bristol City players linking arms on the goal-line and being peppered from all angles by the entire Wolves team does make you wonder what skills were being tested (and explains the rapid decline of English football over the decade!) BBC’s Grandstand was even more mundane with the Long Throw Competition – where was Rory Delap when we needed him?
The fan was the passive recipient of this TV feast, and the “skills” being tested were essentially pointless. Modern sports fans, immersed in social media and gaming, want to be involved in a way that brings them closer to their friends and their sporting idols, so that everyone shares the experience.
WallJAM brings Back to the Future style innovation inspired by the days kids could play street soccer against the garage door. Unfortunately the asbo stopped all that! WallJAM mashes the physical and the digital to deliver performance data based on the core skills of football including power, accuracy and control. Most importantly, it’s fun, and it doesn’t have to be played just once a year on Cup Final day!
The sponsorship sector is no exception. More popular than ever, sponsors are keen to become part of the fan experience and they have already learned to understand the importance of mashing up physical play with a digital output. Fans can choose to pit against either themselves or their peers or their idols. Social competition where performance benchmarking translates to scores which can be shared and compared across a range of social media channels – allowing fans to use WallJAM to #BeatTheBest – helps to create a digital journey which will not only capture key information but also deliver top level engagement.
WallJAM is providing all the answers for sponsors in this field as it has both the addictive appeal of kicking a ball against a wall and social competitiveness but it also offers a cutting edge platform to collect key data that delivers and measures results. Based on the pure accuracy and speed of ball strikes against an array of targets. This data isn’t just standard name, age and email capture. WallJAM aims to source key intelligence on customers’ profiles including specific social likes, interests and demographics. All this can be white labelled through an app and integrated social media platforms. It can also of course drive fans to a sponsors’ website.
As WallJAM’s experiential offering grows through its work with sponsors rights holders and leisure owners, so will its database of players. Digital has moved things on. Sponsors don’t just want exposure, they now want the right exposure, to the right people that can be proven via metrics and results through the hosted campaign. These metrics can now very quickly show you if a sponsorship investment was justified, and if done correctly will lead to repeat business and referrals.
Sponsorship spending is fast outpacing marketing and advertising in growth and has reached in excess of $20 billion in the US. With sports and entertainment companies securing 80% of this sponsorship, it is clear that WallJAM’s offering to engage and interact with consumers – many in a stadium setting – is looking far ahead of the traditional sponsorship boundaries.
With a confirmed list of attendees including the very biggest names in football from clubs, organisations and media, Soccerex is renowned for bringing the world of football together in a unique commercial environment.
The setting was ideal as WallJAM is also being hailed for it’s dynamic approach to both sport and marketing and for the way in which it has provided a perfect fit with some of the game’s key stakeholders. WallJAM has a track record in offering sponsors the opportunity to harness the power of a powerful combination of digital and physical with the rebound wall delivering successful engagement campaigns. All clubs want to optimise fan engagement and enhance the fun experience on match day, delivering relevant content that can maintain the digital journey between match days. WallJAM is one of the latest innovations to not only grab the attention of fans as they pit their skills not just against one another but also to determine how they compare against their clubs’ idols.
WallJAM is hitting the mark time and again for sponsors as it has both the addictive appeal of kicking a ball against a wall while offering a cutting edge platform to collect key data that delivers and measures results. This data collection opportunity that WallJAM presents adds value for clubs and sponsors because WallJAM sees itself as not just for matchdays as it can be integrated into the stadium and museum tours, or offered to the community at club led events.
And visitors to Soccerex found out that this data isn’t just standard name and email capture. WallJAM can also source key intelligence on customers including specific social likes, interests and demographics. All this can be white labelled through an app and integrated social media platforms. It can also of course drive fans to a sponsors’ website.
The WallJAM team were delighted with the networking, insight and business opportunities among the global football industry which Soccerex offered. Renowned for connecting with the game’s key stakeholders, the Soccerex event allowed WallJAM to show just why they are proud to offer the opportunity to #BeatTheBest
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