Used at the junior and sub-elite level, Adelaide based company Coach Assist has developed an all-encompassing platform with coaching strategies, tactics and a library of drills for Australian rules football and netball coaches and players.
With strong uptake from amateur clubs across Australia, Coach Assist’s CEO Brett Gaborit spoke about his company’s journey.
Bullpen: We’ll start from 10 years ago when you formed the idea, what was the motivation for doing it?
Brett Gaborit: “My first ever assistant coaching role was at an SANFL (South Australian National Football League) club. I was asked to take training one night and it always seemed to be the same drills, I wanted to do something different and challenge them.
“I researched the accessibility of Australian rules football training drills and a couple of sites appeared which contained only a few poorly authored drills that were quite confusing.”
BP: Lacked actual interaction and were difficult to use?
BG: “Exactly, and there was no platform where you could build a training session. I spent about eight months coding a site I called Coach Assist which launched in 2009.”
BP: How did you go about gathering drills, physical activities and then put other things over the top of it such as a diary and coaching planner?
BG: “I launched with the diary and training session generator and because of my playing background in the SANFL and at several grassroots clubs I was able to showcase a lot of different training drills. Since then we’ve worked with a number of state league coaches to provide new content, and received submissions from our customer base in exchange for free subscriptions.
“For training session plans I thought rather than having dozens of individual session plans, and given that there’s a very set structure to a training session, I wrote a program that could create a session where people can choose the things they want to work on. It plucks out drills according to their focus areas and presents them with a unique session each time.”
BP: What’s the typical profile of a user of your product?
BG: “Most of the subscribers are individual coaches at an amateur level. We also sell bulk license packages to clubs and schools.
BP: What has the feedback been like from clubs and users?
BG: “The feedback has been great, we do ask people who have not continued why they do cancel subscriptions. The answer is simple, we get great testimonials and referrals, but when we ask why people leave, it’s mainly because they’re taking a break from coaching.”
BP: Where did the demand come from to branch out into netball?
BG: “In 2014 I was made redundant from my full-time job and decided to turn this into a multi-sport application.
“I spent a month doing investigations on the top 20 team sports in the world, for each of those I investigated how readily available there were training drills, looked at aspects such video availability, were there any costs to access, what’s the quality like, how many drills on offer. Essentially doing a competitive analysis based on quality and price point.
“I came up with a shortlist of sports and netball was certainly one of those. I spoke to a lot of people within the sport who were unanimously looking for a platform of focused netball drills. It was an obvious one due to the ease of access to coaches and players.”
BP: Netball is interesting because it’s a high participation, high involvement from volunteers as well as the international aspect to the sport.
BG: “It’s a good way of testing the potential of a product overseas whilst the bulk of the market is still in Australia.”
BP: The semi-professional and amateur market has huge potential.
BG: “They’ve got less money but a much bigger market.”
BP: What are you tackling for the rest of the year?
BG: “We’re looking to introduce some skills content by elite netballers, to boost the quality of our basic skills.
“We’re also in discussions with the AFL who are impressed with the platform and content.
“And finally we’ll be pitching the business at the Commonwealth Games, looking to take the platform into bigger markets like football and American sports.”