Athlete Era Invents New Way to Coach Youth Sports
University of Saskatchewan graduates Corey Edington, Andrew Leslie and Kent Walters are passionate about helping kids develop physical literacy. Providing youth with the ability to teach themselves physical skills has motivated the founders to create a suite of mobile learning apps that use augmented reality content, cloud computing and gamification to help kids teach themselves basic sports skill while also helping volunteer coaches and teachers run more efficient practices.
“Physical inactivity is killing more people than smoking,” shares Leslie. “It boils down to proper physical education for people when they are kids. We are offering resources that are affordable and effective for doing that.”
The Athlete Era team has created two mobile apps, one for kids and another for instructors (coaches or teachers) that communicate with a central web portal. Skill Lab provides users with a 1-on-1 technique coaching experience through their mobile device and sends all learning data to the instructor. The AQ Coach app provides personalized plans for instructors to help further skill development through group activities during practice. The web portal lets administrators manage the entire learning process by selecting the educational content they want sent to the apps and displaying aggregate learning data.
“You can document and store learning,” adds Walters. “Having a central assessment house is key to show learning. Commenting and personalized feedback are also important to growing skill performance.”
The team partnered with the Saskatoon YMCA Summer Camps and offered 30 kids the chance to teach themselves. “Just by handing out an iPad, we improved a kid’s movement skill competency by 35% within 20 minutes. Seeing the kids take their learning into their own hands is fantastic,” smiles Leslie.
“We provide the ability for kids to learn (movement skills) independently and without judgement,” he continues.
After initial local pilot testing, Athlete Era has received support from some of the largest school districts in Alberta and Ontario who want to bring the learning apps into their schools. Their new distribution partner, Clever, will soon make the apps available to 20 million students and teachers throughout North America. They have also recently announced a partnership with Football Canada to make their approach the new standard delivery model for youth football leagues nationally.
Skill Lab can be found on the Apple App Store and is free to download.
Incorporation Date: April 2015
Cofounders: Corey Edington, Andrew Leslie, Kent Walters