By Jèrèmie Kathalay
Posted on November 19, 2021
Summer in Canada has been a hot one, to say the least. The impact of the heat has made many people try their best to stay cool. In the pandemic, it has been difficult to enjoy the summer, especially with younger children. COVID-19 has kept children inside and unable to get fresh air or physical activity. Understanding that and wanting to keep families and young people out and about without having to worry about the heat, an inventor and his family came up with an idea that brings basketball to another level and hydrates the body.
Splashball Basketball is a game created by a man named Mark Williams. It was an idea that had been formulated when he and his youngest son were playing basketball outside and realized how hot it was. The extreme heat discouraged his son from playing outside, so Williams created a method that would cool them down: it would include a hose and a sprinkler, that way they would not get too hot. Cooling down by drinking water or going indoors is always an option but Williams felt that there had to be a better way—a cooler way—to go about it. That is where Splashball Basketball came into the mix.
The unit itself does not take away from the sport. The purpose remains the same: get the ball into the hoop. The only difference is that there is a lever that is pushed down under the net when the ball enters the net. Once the ball has pushed down onto the lever, the unit activates and opens where the water sprays out onto whoever or whatever is underneath it. The source of water comes from a garden hose.
Williams told us that his mission was to continue to keep kids active and healthy during the pandemic. Seeing how his youngest did not have the motivation to play due to the heat, he and his wife, dietician Shelley Williams, knew that with the pandemic it would be extremely difficult for children to keep that lifestyle as lockdowns and other restrictions would stop them from being as active as possible. Shelley Williams mentioned a study by Healthy Kids Community Challenge that looked at children’s health from 45 communities across Ontario. One of the studies that were focused on was the obesity in children within Ontario and how it could be targeted properly. Before the pandemic had even come into play, obesity within children was an issue that needed to be investigated and dealt with. Obesity rates within children have tripled in the last 30 years, which can cause a significant amount of health issues to develop as they grow and develop. Therefore, Splashball Basketball is a beneficial way to fight not only obesity within certain communities but can also help families stay active together as well.
Mark and Shelley Williams explained that basketball was a great way to help with their mission and goal of keeping families and children active, as it was an easy sport to play and widely loved throughout the world. Not only was it perfect for people of all ages and from different places around the world, but it is a sport that can be played within your own backyard. With the worldwide spread of the pandemic, accessing recreation became difficult, especially since being too close to one another can cause the virus to spread. By having a Splashball Basketball unit and net in front of your garage or in your backyard, there is no issue when it comes to staying at home and being continuously active. This eases the worry of parents, Shelley Williams mentioned, providing children with the opportunity to get plenty of exercise without going out and risking COVID-19 exposure.
Though the pandemic has brought Splashball Basketball into a somewhat suitable business situation, it has come with some struggles as well. When it comes to the marketing of a new business, finding your audience has a learning curve. Splashball Basketball seems to have found quite an audience on social platforms. Viral videos featuring Mark Williams himself and a few kids playing with the product have been used to market Splashball Basketball. Popular sports accounts like Overtime and House of Highlights reposted and shared their video. Working to find their audience took some time but with the help of social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, it has helped reach millions of eyes to get their name and product out there.
Mark Williams explained how difficult entrepreneurship was. They had not anticipated it to be as difficult, however, they have realized that it is more than just selling or creating a product. There is much more that comes with it and doing it alone would be taxing. However, they are happy with their progress and continue to push for more exposure that may potentially help with funding and more marketing outside of just social media. With this, Williams explained that it would help with other potential plans that they have for Splashball Basketball including universal models and potential full courts/water parks as well. These plans would come to fruition as the current product continues to flourish. Continuing to also listen to their buyers and feedback from customers to get new ideas and plans for the future is what their focus is as well.
You can find more of Splashball Basketball on their site splashballbasketball.com and you can visit their social media @splashballbasketball.