A Behind the Scenes Look at Developing New Equipment for Physical Education

Gopher has developed hundreds of unique, Only from Gopher equipment, specifically made to inspire students and find new ways to increase activity. Our Only From Gopher products are backed with the passion and promise needed to create one of a kind solutions that last. We regularly consult with PE teachers and work with them to create solutions for them and their students. We sat down with one of our collaborators, The PE Thinker, to discuss his experience working on new equipment with Gopher.

Q: Tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got connected with Gopher’s product development team?

A: I am a K-4th grade elementary physical education teacher currently in my 13th year of teaching. I first connected with Gopher’s product development team when I came up with the concept for Balancebuster. I reached out to Gopher and expressed that I had a concept that I believed in. I was connected to the appropriate people and the relationship began from there!

See Balancebuster in Action!

 Q: How do you come up with product ideas? What is the process for pitching an idea to Gopher?

A: Sometimes the product idea comes to me organically. I might see a movement from a piece of equipment or performed by a student or athlete which then that sparks an idea, and other times I have a direction I want to go and continually brainstorm until an idea is formed.

 Q: How many products have you worked with Gopher on? Which product are you particularly excited about?

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HustleHaul involves two teams that each have an Ultimate Scooter driver that moves in a designated area while teammates acquire balls to toss into the team’s bucket.

A: I have been lucky enough to work with Gopher on four different products. It has been an exciting and enjoyable experience to work with such a great company that has allowed me to contribute to the physical education world. One of those products that I was excited to see come to life was HustleHaul, which is a scooter-based and teambuilding throwing activity.

 Q: Tell us more about HustleHaul? How did you come up with the idea? How did the product evolve from concept, to execution, to delivery?

A: So HustleHaul is an activity that uses Gopher’s Ultimate Scooters. The activity involves two teams that each have an Ultimate Scooter driver that moves in a designated area while teammates acquire balls to toss into the team’s bucket. The driver then must back up the scooter to a free-standing bin, pull the bucket’s string, and dump the balls inside before heading back out into the playing area for more action! Students love it!

The concept came to me when I was playing around with an idea of creating a game where two teams competed to clean up their own neighborhood. Every student would move throughout their neighborhood on a scooter, finding items to toss in the “garbage truck” while the driver was on the neighborhood route. The driver would then need to dump the items into a waste bin before the timed round ends. So that “race to clean-up” concept grew and evolved into multiple options for gameplay with that base concept.  Once I felt it was ready, I shared with Gopher, who accepted the idea. We then communicated on gameplay options and rules before a version was finalized. The entire process went quickly!

Q: How involved are you in developing the product?

A: In my personal experience, I have felt pretty involved in the development of the products. I try to initially give as complete of an idea as possible. Once Gopher brings the product design to life, we communicate the final gameplay options and rules before the product is completed.

 Q: Are there any other new products you’re excited about? Tell us about those!

A: Sure! Recently Gopher released Basketball Trick Toss, which was a lot of fun to create with Gopher. The product is a fresh twist on the classic basketball shooting game HORSE, which uses dice to determine where players shoot from and what trick shots to attempt. Its a ton of fun! Another product is Scooter Push Handles. This simple product turns a physical education scooter into a rolling object that can be pushed (similiar to a curling stone) in a variety of different activities.

 Q: What is your favorite part of the inventing process? What inspires you to come up with new products in the PE market?

A: I have always enjoyed creating and inventing – I feel very lucky to have been able to take that hobby and apply it to a career that I am passionate about. It is a truly great feeling to see a concept that begins to form in your mind then be created in the physical world that you can see, touch, and be used by others in a positive, productive way.

 Q: Can you give us a sneak peak of something new you’re working on?

A: I am currently working on two product concepts that I am really excited about. One concept focuses on early childhood hand-eye coordination and the other concept is a tool for group gameplay and teambuilding and communication. Stay tuned!!!😊

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