Being a pro athlete isn’t easy; you must continually practice and train to stay at the top of your game. Thankfully that isn’t as hard as it used to be. Technology is always evolving, making training easier for athletes. One player using technology to improve is Danny Amendola. This Lions wide receiver is using a recent innovation to practice catching when he’s not at the team’s facilities.
Amendola isn’t alone in his use of the technology as football teams from around the country are adopting the device to help their players improve.
Danny Amendola’s NFL journey
Amendola’s career started off slowly. The Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2008. After a stop on the Eagles’ practice squad, he finally made his NFL debut with the Rams in 2009. Then, after four seasons with the Rams, he signed a five-year contract with the Patriots in 2013 and found some success there playing with Tom Brady.
Since leaving the Patriots, Amendola played a season with the Dolphins. Now, he’s in his second season with the Lions, where he’s not winning as many games as he did with the Patriots. (That’s the problem when you go from one of the league’s best-run franchises to one of the worst.) The veteran’s role with Detroit this season has been limited. Amendola started just three of his first nine games, with 28 catches on 44 targets totaling 411 yards and no touchdowns.
Amendola uses technology to improve his catching
Earlier this year, Amendola posted a video on Instagram of him using a Monarc Seeker. The Dallas Morning News calls the $38,000 machine “the perfect quarterback.” Six balls fit inside the structure, and it can throw the pigskin exactly where the user wants it to go. The Seeker’s data analytics program measures stats like peak speed, average speed, and steps. A player’s progress can be tracked via the personalized data.
The Seeker helps Amendola train because it can let him take as many pass-catching reps as he wants, without needing someone available to throw him the ball or worry about ruining a passer’s shoulder by throwing two many practice-passes to Amendola.
This was particularly useful when Amendola was in quarantine. He could take lots of reps in his own backyard without needing anyone to toss him the football. The more practice he takes, the more his catching will improve. That could extend his career a little longer, which has to be on the mind of the 35-year-old Texas Tech alum.
More football programs are using the Monarc Seeker
The Seeker is catching on with football programs across America. SMU started using it in 2019 — “basically the first legitimate customer” of the technology, according to the Morning News. SMU learned about the machine from its director of operations, who previously worked at Northwestern. This is where the developers oame from, along with the University of Iowa.
SMU is happy with the Seeker’s performance; wide receiver C.J. Sanders said “it’s more accurate than a regular Jugs machine.” He praised its accuracy, saying that the ball always goes where you expect it to. The Seeker is custom-built for each customer. It takes a few months for delivery once the order is placed. Monarc has revealed that it’s been sold to “a few Big 10 teams,” an SEC program, and the University of Virginia, too.