Since releasing Sportably into beta several months ago, membership is growing steadily and we have received a lot of great feedback from athletes, practitioners and clinicians around the globe. Before you stop accidentally dating your signature with 2010, I wanted to share a bit about what developments are in the near (2011) and more distant future of Sportably. For those of you who were in attendance at the 2010 Coaches and Sport Science College, you may have heard me discuss several of the following items.

I apologize if this gets a little “wordy”, but as we move forward, it will be important that members of Sportably are well informed about the developments taking place. It is also important that users  know their input is valuable in the shaping and growth of Sportably.

First things first…

The following are a few of the items currently under development.

Mobile – Prior to releasing any additional major features for Sportably.com, we are beginning to address the need for mobile applications (ex. Google’s  Android and Apple’s iOS for iPhone and iPad). As you may know, the first iteration of Sportably included basic monitoring, questionnaires, reporting and team management features. At first, the focus of the mobile applications will address the basic monitoring and questionnaire functionality that currently exists on Sportably.com. It is extremely important that basic monitoring is as convenient as possible. If an athlete has a number of data entry options, this should increase athlete compliance and provide an athlete’s development team with a more complete profile of an athlete’s status.

The first mobile platform we are currently developing for is Google’s Android. The number of smartphones and other mobile devices running Android is growing rapidly and should be suitable for a large number of Sportably users. Soon after the Android app is complete, we will tackle Apple’s iOS for iPhone (with the iPad later perhaps). Depending on the adoption level of HP’s new acquisition of WebOS from Palm, there may be developments in that arena as well.

Custom Alerts – For those of you currently using the Alert System, you know that alerts can be generated when a new injury is reported or when concerning increases in resting heart rate and/or decreases in body weight occur. For example, if you are an owner or professional member of a team, you can enable alerts for specific athletes or all athletes of a team that will warn you via email if the system has detected potential concerns that you should be aware of. While useful, there are obviously a variety of ways the alert system can be improved. We are currently expanding the alert system to include nearly all variables that can be tracked or monitored, as well as allowing users to customize alert settings for any variable they would like to receive alerts for.

Tighten up the design – When we released Sportably in the late 2010, the primary focus was to get a basic monitoring and team management solution out the door and in the hands of users. While we did not completely neglect the look and feel for the first iteration, we are currently working to improve the look, feel, navigation and overall intuitiveness (I guess that is a real word) of Sportably.

On Deck for 2011

With a couple of major projects in the works, we are hoping that 2011 shapes up to be a big year for the users of Sportably. Here a few of the fairly major items we have in mind for 2011.

Strength and Conditioning Programs – One key area we believe needs a solid solution is strength and conditioning programs. It is extremely frustrating to see sport coaches, strength and conditioning coaches and sport scientists all over the world using spreadsheets to create, share and implement S&C programs. Ok sure, there are a couple of other options out there but nothing that truly meets the needs of both athletes and those responsible for an athlete’s and/or team’s development. I will save the details of what all the S&C application will entail for a later date.

Injury Tracking – There are some fairly decent sport injury tracking systems available. Here in the United States, these systems are most often seen in use at the collegiate and professional level. With this said, there is more to tracking injuries than simply tracking the injury itself and the treatment that may follow. This is especially true in athletics. In order to get a true sense of the potential factors that may influence injury rates and severity, it is extremely helpful to be able to quantify training and practice volume, outside stressors and a number of other factors.

Testing and Monitoring – Creating an easy to use athlete monitoring solution was the goal of the first iteration of Sportably. As Sportably develops, athlete monitoring will continue to be a primary focus of development. There is a great deal of room to improve our knowledge of detecting signs and symptoms of overtraining, which is an exciting area of development we are looking forward to.

The Business Side – Up to this point, Sportably has been a “bootstrap” operation and will continue to be until we feel comfortable charging for particular functionality available on Sportably. Our goal is to always provide a free set of tools for basic athlete monitoring and team management to users at all levels. With that said, in order to grow and innovate, it is always nice to have the capital available to secure the necessary resources. We hope that offering a balanced combination of free and premium level features will allow us to do this. So, while it might be a bit aggressive, we are hoping to turn Sportably into a viable, growing and innovative business in 2011.

Research – “The Business Side” will also open some of the opportunities that  I am most excited about. Becoming a viable business will also allow us to not only fund research in sport science but potentially provide web based tools that will assist in data collection. Unfortunately, funding for Sport Science research is difficult to come by. “No-strings attached” funding for Sport Science research is even more difficult to come by. We hope to be able to provide funding and/or assistance with Sport Science research in near future. More on this to come.

We encourage you to let us know what features or changes would be helpful to you.