Footy Skills Lab Levels the Playing Field with New Accessibility Features


Football fans across Australia can continue to hone 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 referee Nathan William (pictured, centre) and AFL wheelchair athletes Chris Henderson and Louis Rowe.

The latest Google Footy Skills Lab updates have been put together by the AFL’s Disability Inclusion team to introduce new features so that players who are visually impaired, hard of hearing and those who use a wheelchair can also use the platform as training tool.

Along with these updates, Google has also made sure fans can learn the basics of officiating, such as mastering the center circle rebound, with guidance from AFL referee Nathan Williamson.

‘Footy Skills Lab’ is a free platform accessible from any smartphone with an internet connection, a footy and a little space to move around. Designed with Google’s TensorFlow open-source machine learning software, Footy Skills Lab uses ball sensing and tracking models to track progress in ball handling, decision making and three-way kicking different difficulty levels.

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

The AFL’s Executive Managing Director of Game Development, Rob Auld, said the launch of Google’s “Footy Skills Lab” provides greater accessibility for those who want to play football.

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

“There are over 12,000 disabled Australians playing Aussie Rules football and there are various 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 referees, so there’s something for everyone to learn and be inspired by,” Auld said.

AFL Refereeing General Manager Lisa Lawry said: “Referees play an integral and important role in our game. The Google Footy Skills Lab will not only help support the development of our refereeing community, but it will will also encourage fans to try their hand at refereeing and learn more about the skills required.

Aisling Finch, Senior Director of Marketing at Google Australia, said: “We are excited to build on our partnership with the AFL to provide more options for more people to hone their AFL skills with Google Footy Skills Lab. .

“Whether you play in your living room or in a wheelchair league, you can set your own pace and accessibility preferences – and learn from professional players in the AFL Wheelchair and AFLW leagues.”

Google’s partnership with the AFL aims to continue to improve the fan experience on Google’s products and technology.


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