Mobile Virtual Player (MVP) is what a 21st century tackling dummy – or, tackling “smartie” – looks like.
MVP is a revolutionary technology that makes football safer at all levels, designed to reduce player-on-player contact and the overall incidence of injuries during practice. It also helps improve player performance and technique by replicating in-game experiences at an elite level.
Schools and youth football organizations may submit applications by 5:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, June 1, at this link to be eligible for an MVP grant through USA Football. USA Football awards grants based on need, merit, and a program's commitment to coaching education and best practices.
“We're proud to partner with MVP to offer $35,000 in grants this season to schools and youth football organizations nationwide,” USA Football CEO & Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “MVP’s cutting-edge technology, paired with USA Football's best-in-class tackling and blocking techniques, elevates teaching and learning across our sport and advances player safety. Though MVP is largely associated with helping coaches teach the fundamentals around contact, their products can benefit every position on the field.”
MVP was engineered to help create an in-game simulation with an elite player’s size, speed, weight, and agility. The MVP Sprint robotic tackling dummies weighs 160 pounds and reaches speeds of 16 miles per hour on turf and grass playing surfaces. The MVP tackling dummy has played a pivotal part in helping coaches address player safety, and they have helped improve technique and performance in players.
“MVP allows the coach to reduce the risk to athletes in practice,” said Roseville (Calif.) West Park High School Head Coach Jason Tenner. Tenner also is a Regional Director for USA Football's National Team Program who implements the MVP into U.S. National Team program practices. “With the MVP, you can have a defender get quality full-speed reps without risk to a ball carrier. The best attribute is that it moves and pops back up, allowing for an increased number of quality reps during practice.”
The MVP is best associated with Ivy League perennial power Dartmouth College and endorsed by the Big Green’s head coach Buddy Teevens. Teevens, the college’s all-time winningest coach with 105 victories, also is a member of USA Football’s Football Development Model Council. Dartmouth saw a significant reduction in concussions during practices in the first two years of using the MVP. During the 2018 season, 21 of 22 Big Green starters played in every game, leading Dartmouth to a sterling 9-1 record.
“Protecting athletes is vitally important and was the very reason MVP was developed,” said Teevens, who also serves as MVP’s board chairman. “We’ve used MVP to teach contact skills at Dartmouth for years, and from both a safety and skill development aspect, there’s no better equipment that exists in this category.”
The application deadline for MVP grants is June 1, at 5:00 p.m. ET. Be sure to apply for a grant to help your program incorporate some of this cutting-edge technology on the field in the coming months.