Sport players and spectators alike know that one thing above all else is critical to success on the field of play: practice.

Repetitive drills and endless miles to run; weights to be lifted and therapists needed to soothe burning muscles. And for all the hours and hours spent in training, practice, and friendly exhibition games, surprisingly little time is actually spent playing games that matter.

Example: for an NFL football game, the average playing time is 11 minutes.

Example: for an NBA basketball game, the playing time is 48 minutes.

As technology and the digital frontiers of web animation have exploded, it would seem inevitable that the two disciplines—athletic practice and digital animation—would come together. But they haven’t.

Until now.

Welcome Nike and its “House of Mamba” LED court:

This groundbreaking piece of sporting equipment has the possibility to change athletic performance forever. Using its LED animation and motion-sensor surface, it has the ability to track players, diagram their every movement, diagram drills for them to run, and correct a player’s position. The data can then be analyzed afterwards on a computer screen. No less a star than Kobe Bryant has been left in disbelief at the existence of such a basketball court. In his own words: “The potential and possibilities for the floor are endless.”

(It’s probably no coincidence that Nike’s “House of Mamba” LED court was christened by Mr. Bryant, whose nickname is “The Black Mamba.”)

LED Animation Court

Of course, the court was built by the Nike Corporation. And Nike would be remiss if it didn’t include a healthy dose of the court’s capabilities to corporate advertising. Not that advertising in sports is anything new. Ever since the first entrepreneur became a sports fan, the two have been forever linked. And the “House of Mamba” court can display such impressive and unique animations that web animators and advertising firms are going to be left scrambling to exploit it to its fullest.

LED Animation

So, while the practical applications of this LED court are undeniable in terms of fitness training as well as advertising, it could also be the first step in the next giant leap in sport performance. Track and field, baseball, football, volleyball…the list of sports that could benefit from this technology is endless. It almost seems obvious that all other sports will see the tactical advantage that this will give their players and LED practice courts and fields will become as common as regular practice fields are now. We could be witnessing the very evolution of athletic performance as we know it.