Catapult Sports

Catapult Sports

What’s the secret to unlocking an athlete's highest level of performance? That's the question we set out to answer for Catapult Sports, the world leader in sports performance technology. After conducting research with elite D1 soccer, football, and basketball programs, we combined our findings with the principles of performance psychology to design a product experiences that helps athletes use film to unlock their full potential. The result was a mobile experience that that not only helped athletes be more prepared, but feel more prepared.

8 Weeks

Design an iOS application for elite athletes in their mental preparation and tactical strategies.

The Outcome

A product experience for watching game film that improved engagement, memory retention and communication with the coaching staff.

Research Findings: Performance is an Equation

We organized our our field research and secondary evidence from the field of Performance Psychology into a Performance Equation. The equation details how elements of preparation meet cognitive skill to produce an athletes level of performance. For preparation, the combination of practice (technique), analysis (film, opponent scout, and tactical rehearsal), and conditioning (diet, exercise, strength training) can be multiplied by a player’s learning effort. A player's preparatory efforts can be further enhanced through higher-level cognitive skills.

We found that when faced with a sufficiently challenging opponent, the more intel players have on the opposition, the more structured and routine the periodization feels, and the fewer distractions that are present, the less ambiguity and the more clarity and confidence athletes experience preparing for their next game.

Climbing the Competency Pyramid

Evidence suggests the best athletes may be successful because of a highly developed metacognitive capacity of differential self-monitoring. In brief, this capacity involves being able to systematically observe and analyze successful performances (positive self-monitoring) or unsuccessful performances (negative self-monitoring) and to be able to choose between the two cognitive processes when desired.

We used the Competency Pyramid as a model for learning. It suggests athletes are initially unaware of how little they know, or unconscious of their incompetence. As  incompetence is recognized, they consciously acquire a skill, then consciously use it. Eventually, the skill can be utilized without conscious thought. At this point the athletes is considered to possess the ultimate goal in sports IQ: unconscious competency.

Learning is not enough. Make it second nature with active viewing.

Watching film is normally just a passive viewing experience. However, using a Snapchat-like press-and-hold feature, players can now actively cut their own clips, make notes, organize what’s important to them, and discuss film edits with players and coaches. In addition, worksheets from coaches are integrated into the app experience and conveniently co-located for easy access.

Bring the intelligence to players.

Having the film viewing experience delivered in a mobile app provides access to players anytime, anywhere. A thoughtful notification system lets players know when relevant content is ready for them.

Let the coach know he/she is heard.

Players complete worksheets and assignments integrated into the app experience for coaches to review and measure player comprehension. Coaches can also send clips to players for review and discussion.

Routine. Routine. Routine. Rinse and repeat.

The app is designed around the most consistent aspect of preparation—a team's periodization structure. The app integrates with game schedules as the central navigation of the experience, in which the cutting/viewing experience resets for each matchup. For repeat matchups, players can access previous weeks (or "periods") to review clips and notes from earlier in the season.

‍Multi-modal, multiple times.

The design reinforces learning with film by complimenting the talk-through/walk through and the practice/rehearsal, in addition to giving coaches and players the ability to discuss edits and clips with each other. The playback mechanism gives players complete control of the way they study film and starts with conventional defaults to quickly give players mental reps.

When you work in the elite sports arena you deal with a lot of personalities, and I thought they did a nice job of being able to talk with all the personas present in college athletics. They were great at adapting to any given situation and understanding the arena we were working in to quickly get to the actual research.
Albert Tsai, VP of Advanced Research and Development

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