Wednesday, October 16, 2019

A NAAS scientist and software engineer has developed a unique sporting App that addresses the vexed issue of burn out,injury and safety for young players who compete on various different teams.

Adrian Geissel, has devised a clever App that allows sports coaches and managers track and share crucial information on their players from a secure data platform.

It is specifically aimed at coaches, whose  players who play for multiple teams, often across many sporting disciplines and organisations.

‘Surpassport’ provides powerful and intuitive team management for savvy mentors whose players play on multiple teams and represent multiple clubs and school, providing timely insights into workload, injury and wellbeing, and informing underage coaching for development, retention and fielding stronger adult teams.

His own background as a coach with Naas GAA hurling team, together with his experiences as a parent of busy little sportspeople, led Adrian to question what was best for his children, and by extension, his team.

“As a dad of a busy 10 year-old, I was curious about what constitutes a safe and sustainable level of sport. Training provided by GAA encourages coaching in a child-specific manner, but little detail about how to answer the above question ,in particular, for my son. I therefore returned to published academic literature, and learnt that consistency and gradual change in workload were key, especially when the child is uninjured and most importantly, enjoying themselves . As a coach to a dozen or so other 10 year-olds, I wondered how I could apply this to the team. Was their activity history over the past few weeks consistent, or were they at risk of injury from over play? Or simply over tired?.

“Given my involvement with my GAA team, I gained deep insights that were crucial to the development of  ‘Surpassport’ . I realised that kids who play sport often play more than one, they play for more than one team and represent more than one club and school. Clearly a complex data problem, but one that I had the skills and experience to solve. And more importantly, one that had not yet been solved to any level of satisfaction.

“My vision for ‘Surpassport’ is to combine best practice and sports science into a comprehensive, easy to use App for coaches and parents, to help each know more about their kids and to help them make informed decisions for their sporting well being.

“’Surpassport’ builds a comprehensive picture on player athlete readiness, appropriate to their age, but most importantly, tracks ‘fun’, for every team session and game. After all, if kids are not enjoying sport they won’t practice and won’t stick with it. That’s not good for the player, not good for the team and not good for the club. Spotting changes early allows coach to intervene before it becomes an issue.  It also encourages positive involvement by parents in their child’s sporting development . This is so important in supporting  kids to keep active in sport ,not just in childhood, but in keeping active for life.”

Adrian says that one of the key advantages of the App is that it helps to encourage kids to stick with sport at an age, which often sees a sharp drop out rate.

“Understanding each kids’ individual situation is especially important for kids aged between 10 and 14 years, as they start playing competitively in school, they’re old enough for midweek evening training and club matches become more competitive. It’s also the stage when their bodies are changing, and all the advantages and disadvantages this brings. Statistically, this is also the age with kids are most at risk of quitting sport altogether.”

‘Surpassport’  has recently received a ringing endorsement from Basketball Ireland, and Adrian expects that other sporting organisations will soon follow.

“Our relationship with Basketball Ireland has strengthened and they are currently rolling out ‘Surpassport’  to all their international squads and academies as well as recommending the app to affiliated clubs and schools. We are working to replicate this with other national governing bodies, and welcome a conversation on how better information builds stronger and deeper panels of talented players to choose from.

“We are refining  ‘Surpassport’  all the time and have recently introduced injury and recovery management which fully coordinates an athlete’s recovery between home, school, work, team(s) and medical team and includes daily symptoms tracking. This is vitally important for ensuring a complete return to full fitness and competitive play, integrating  with player availability ,according to the recovery plan across all teams and helps to minimise the risks of re-injury, unfortunately all too prevalent in sport”.

“’Surpassport’ continues to innovate, addressing small and bigger communications and coordination challenges, prevalent in amateur and underage sport: to share pertinent data; to reduce time and effort; to encourage best practice; to reduce risks to volunteer coaches and club officers; and to help young players stick with sport into adulthood, for competition, for health and for belonging. We simply call this Player Welfare.

“I am very exited about the growth of S’Surpassport’ and believe it will become synonymous with sports management in Ireland and beyond”.

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