Sportlyzer helps grassroots sports clubs step up their game

By Editor May 6, 2015

Estonian sports technology startup Sportlyzer is launching a new software platform to help overworked youth coaches in grassroots sports clubs lower their administrative burden. 70% of these clubs are still managing their activities on paper and Excel – now they can manage their club members in the cloud for free.

Grassroots sports clubs are an important part of the infrastructure for developing the culture of physical activity in our society. In the EU and US combined, there are 2 million sports clubs and 15 million coaches. Together they are working with 198 million athletes, young and adult, to get better in their sports on everyday basis.

Administration hampers the growth of sports clubs

Tõnis Saag, the co-founder and CEO of Sportlyzer, is a previous member of Estonian national karate team and worked for 13 years as a coach. “We have talked to almost 2000 sports clubs and our data shows that about 70% of them are managing their activities only on paper and Excel,” said Saag.

Coaches, many of them volunteers contributing their free time, spend most of their time in sports venues with athletes. Having grown out of the sports world himself, Saag, however, recognizes the behind-the-scenes work done in clubs: “They also need to plan and analyze training, keep membership lists up-to-date, report to government offices and federations, communicate with sports parents, organize competition trips, spend their weekends at competitions and so on. Now imagine a medium-sized sports club of 200 members and 5 coaches doing all of that in Excel and paper and you get the picture – excessive overhead hampers the progress of their club as well as coaching quality. This sector really needs technology to make a change.”

Getting all the work done in one place

Sportlyzer’s team of current athletes and coaches have combined their personal experience and feedback from sports clubs from over 20 countries to design a software platform that removes these administrative bottlenecks.

The goal is simple – save hours spent on routine daily management tasks and make coaching more insightful. The platform is designed as a virtual operating system. Free club membership management serves as the core functionality and all other features are divided into apps that can be switched on and off according to current needs.

There are apps for club managers (Calendar, Invoicing, Messaging, etc.), apps for coaches (Planning, Analytics, Diary, Video, etc.), and apps for athletes (Diary, Analytics, Tests, etc), all plugged into the central membership database.

As a result, once the coaches add the athletes to the system, they can use any app with them without wasting additional time on synchronizing lists in multiple solutions. As Marek Naaris, the coach and CEO of 450-strong football club FC Elva put it: “We wanted to have all of our training analysis in one place and Sportlyzer is a good match for this. The biggest benefit for our club is to have all information in one system, accessed by whoever and wherever needs it.”

To get a quick visual overview of the platform take a look at the explainer video:

Used all over the world, all over different sports

Sportlyzer is used by sports teams from over 20 countries and more than 25 different sports, ranging from national teams such as Australian Rowing Team to social programs targeting underprivileged youth. Originally a training management app for endurance sports, Sportlyzer saw a great influx of team sports clubs after introducing the new platform.

“Endurance athletes like cyclists and triathletes really appreciate our training planning and analysis function,” said the company’s founder Tõnis Saag. “Team sports like youth football make the most of Sportlyzer’s calendar and messaging features.”

Sportlyzer uses area managers in several countries to get on the ground information from different countries to understand the needs of sports clubs.

Cyril Amiot, the Area Manager of France, is a triathlete and a triathlon coach with a long career in sports companies. He partnered with Sportlyzer because he saw the value of the tools for himself as a coach: “For me, the web and mobile apps are perfect tools to create training plans, follow athletes in real time, compare planned and completed volumes, and make quick changes if needed. As a result, I spend less time on the organization and training planning, and I can give more to my athletes.”