• Ben, Anniversaries and Puppies

    Posted in tech on January 6, 2015

    Ben, our VP of Business Development and puppy-provider, has jumped on the blog for us to give a little introduction to himself and the sporting landscape as he has experienced it. He talks about how the relationship between sport and technology has changed over the years in his eyes, and has a brief look at what the future could hold…

    big ben

    In June 2014 I reached my tenth year in work. I am in shock, the time has gone by so quickly! Maybe it is because luckily I have been involved in 5 fantastic organisations in one exciting sector.

    Old school 2004 – 2011

    My first four roles were at sports governing bodies, fantastically rewarding roles, working in organisations that provide the framework for sport to happen; education, competition, membership, participation growth, rules and regulations, support to the club community, the list goes on and is difficult to prioritise!

    Swimmers in Triathlon

    The challenge throughout this period was growing sport, and importantly evidencing it. With fragmented routes for sport to be delivered and marketed, it is a difficult task – particularly when the sports participant has so many different things to consume! I remember thinking at the time that there must be better ways of doing things. My gut told me that it was through technology but for some reason the sector seemed under supplied with great technology.

    New school 2011 – 2014

    The second part of the decade led me to technology, working with companies that help empower sports event organisers and more recently sports coaches to run their business more successfully via technology. The crossover between the ‘old school’ and the ‘new school’ has been fascinating.

    From my National Governing Body days I remember the issues that sports coaches had managing the day to day running of their ‘business'; they are incredibly passionate and knowledgable about their sport, but bored and frustrated by the admin, chasing money, paperwork and organising people (rightly!)

    Another KI Invoice

    Even back in 2004, it was obvious technology was going to be increasingly more important to sport. Obvious right? It’s very easy to forget facebook was founded February 2004.

    Growth is challenging when you don’t have an online presence, reputation and a simple way of taking bookings, enquiries and payments from potential participants. It’s difficult and confusing for everyone – whether you are a single coach or a collection of coaches.

    Male personal trainer with male client lifting weights

    There are so many examples of new technology companies supporting, empowering and growing completely new industries. Communities of people sharing their expertise, knowledge and assets to create new incomes or expand existing. I get pretty excited about the potential in companies like AirBnB, BorrowMyDoggy, Tinder (I am not single, but a bit of vicarious tindering is great fun) but a company that helps sports coaches, brilliant! 

    The best thing is that by empowering a community of sports coaches, giving them the tools to grow themselves, you maximise their chance of success. Helping them to stay in sport and giving more people the opportunity to meet their perfect instructor.

    app phone

    Future School 2015 + ?

    The fascinating thing about working in a tech company like upmysport is that whilst we have a core goal, we iterate quickly to make sure that we are able to provide valuable tools to our instructors and coaches. Being nimble, evidence based and reactive to peoples needs are hard baked in to the way we do things. Technology allows you that! Our core mission will not change, but how we deliver it is always subtly improving and developing.

    team

    The best thing is I know we will categorically show that our work has made a difference to the sporting landscape. I know that over the next ten years we will have had a progressively bigger effect on sporting participation and I can’t wait!

    Oh and the icing on the cake, in the new and future school, you are allowed to have an office dog!

    Pepe catching some Zs

     Be sure to keep up with us on Twitter and Facebook as we get stuck into 2015!

  • Our favourite tech in sport: Apps.

    Posted in sport on May 25, 2012

    Technology and sport have long been intertwined, particularly for elite athletes looking to add that critical extra 1% to their performance. Ranging from a new swimsuit design that improved glide through the water or a lighter running shoe to knock 1/10’s of a second off personal bests. More recently there has been a move to use technology to help every type of sportsman or woman, whether you are just starting a new sport or would like to get the next level at an existing one.

    Andy Murray (probably) Listening to himself..

    With a huge array of sports and fitness apps, training aids and High tech equipment and sportswear now available, it can be quite hard to work out which ones work and which ones don’t. The upmysport team need all the help they can get to improve at sport so have quite a lot of experience with some good, bad and ugly sporting technology. Here’s a selection of the team’s favourite bits of tech that have helped them get better at sport:

    Adidas Micoach: There are a multitude of similar apps for mapping exercise on your smartphone but we have found micoach to be the most intuitive and flexible offering. Adidas have worked really hard to produce an app that supports a number of fitness disciplines including running, cycling, and sports such as tennis and basketball. What really makes the app work for us is the ability to create custom schedules based on your current weight/height etc., enter you aims and objectives, as well as how long you have to achieve them. Due to Adidas’ pulling power you also get to be cajoled on by sports stars like Andy Murray and Jessica Ennis. Free on all platforms.

     NPT boom by Nike: We think music is an essential part of any workout. Nike’s boom app can make sure your music selection perfectly fits your activity. The app basically provides a soundtrack to your workout and reacts in real time to the intensity of your activity using GPS. So if you’re on a gentle jog, you’ll be listening to coldplay but if you’re off sprint cycling then you’re likely to be hearing plenty of trance!   Free on all platforms.

    Lose it: Half of the challenge in getting fit is ensuring you have a good diet. This app helps to make sure this is exactly what you do. It will record what you’re eating (which can sometimes be a little laborious but it’s worth sticking with it) and suggest improvements, and allows you to track your progress, all of which sets this app apart from others. It is surprisingly fascinating to look at your intake of food, and you might be quite shocked by what you find out…we were! (who knew nuts had so many calories but contain ‘good fat’). £0.59 on iphone.

    Ski Tracks: This one, as the title suggests, is one for all the skiers out there (we know it’s a slightly out of season suggestion, although Nicola is heading skiing this weekend…). Ski tracks is a great little app that measures your progress throughout your day and gives you data like average speed, metres climbed, and time on the lift. As with the ‘lose it’ app you will be surprised by what you find; often your own estimates will be nothing like what you’ve actually done. It can be a bit of a battery drain particularly when it’s very cold, so keep an eye on your power levels. 1.69 on Android and iPhone.

    Our next instalment of ‘Our favourite tech in sport’ will feature training aids and we’ll be asking some of our coaches what has really worked for them, so stay tuned!