We talked to Patrick O’Donnell of SwingShot about sports training cameras and COVID-19.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Patrick O’Donnell: Very well, and thank you for asking. So far, we have survived this pandemic and hope all the best for everyone through these trying times.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded SwingShot.
Patrick O’Donnell: I seemed to have been born or cursed with an entrepreneurial spirit but couldn’t seriously act on that until nearly 10 years ago. I had always been a top sales performer for a couple of Fortune 500 companies and managed to land myself in an executive management role in each. The experience was very helpful when the calling for SwingShot came around.
I have always been a major sports buff but truly enjoyed golf as I got older. After playing several consecutive rounds of subpar (pun unintended), I wanted to know what I was doing wrong on the golf course vs. driving range or practice range. Turns out, the only way to really know that is by recording several of my swings while I actually played a round of golf. It also turns out that most teaching professionals and golfers feel the same about recording their game.
How does SwingShot innovate?
Patrick O’Donnell: SwingShot manufactures and sells an HD on-course specialty video camera designed to record your round of golf without slowing down the pace of play. SwingShot captures valuable on-course video for the golfer and/or his/her teaching professional to review. We have subsequently designed an analytical App that allows for zoom, split-screen, slow motion, and annotation tools to actually do something with that valuable content and improve the athlete’s performance.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Patrick O’Donnell: Oddly, SwingShot has become a very popular device within this pandemic that we are experiencing. Golf is a socially distant game to begin with (rounds are up nearly 20% from 2019), and e-distance/remote training is becoming more of the norm with the additional safety measures that are needed. We were actually Covid ready before the pandemic hit and are positioned to thrive in a current and post-pandemic environment.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Patrick O’Donnell: The only difficult choices SwingShot has had to make through this pandemic have to do with uncertainty. How much growth do we have to plan for? What are our projections? Do we plan to hire additional people? Those are some of the issues and choices, but they seem to be choices that will sort themselves out over time.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and SwingShot in the future?
Patrick O’Donnell: Personally, I’m dealing with stress with exercise, work, and getting closer to some of my relationships with family and friends. I think SwingShot’s future will be fantastic, and we have nothing but hope and positive thoughts moving forward.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Patrick O’Donnell: Smartphones, tablets, GoPro, and other specialty cameras could be considered competition, although they are not be equipped to record golf/tennis or other sports without the help of someone else. SwingShot is currently developing its cloud services to offer storage, proprietary analytical software, and access to the SwingShot Marketplace with a database of multi-tiered PGA teaching professionals to help analyze their swing at a substantially reduced price from typical lessons.
Your final thoughts?
Patrick O’Donnell: SwingShot is properly positioned to thrive in an era of pandemic activity. We have always had our sights set on providing valuable video content for the teaching profession in order to remotely teach for an affordable price. Covid- 19 has only accelerated that business model to fit the need. We certainly hope and pray that this pandemic leaves us quickly and that life for the world gets back to where it was but in the meantime, SwingShot is a great product to have that meets the needs of many and survives in the face of a pandemic.
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