Do you remember the movie trope of a sports coach carrying around a clip board and shouting at his team? There is a team of people who are working not on getting rid of the shouting coach but of his messy clip board and replacing it with a smart device (those struggling with a difficult coach may have to find alternative means to dealing with them.)
1 Sports is an all-in-one cloud-based sports management system built to improve athlete engagement, performance, and ease off the pesky operational challenges.
The software performs functions such as operational management, report generation, communication, athlete performance tracking and more all in the hope of easing sports management. We spoke to Ryan who is product director and content curator at 1 Sports to get a little more insight on their work. KM – Kudzai Mhangwa; Ryan Matopodzi – RM
KM: How did the idea for 1 Sports come about?
RM: This came out through experience as a sports administrator. I have fifteen years as an athlete director across China, Solomon Islands, and India so basically with my experience and challenges that I faced through so the idea came up to ensure we streamline the way we manage our sports programs as administrators.
KM: What was the process from ideation to selling this to the market?
RM: The process for ideation and putting it in the market, we had to test it first in India where I was working as a sports director for five years. So, we had to test it with Sreenidi Deccan football club, Reeds Academy, Sreenidhi International School, and Sreenidhi Sports Academy so when we tested all that and it was solid and then the product was ready, we had to fix all the problems that were coming through; then we knew it was ready for the market. Now coming to the Zimbabwean market, I had to approach some athletic directors that are here in Zimbabwe, top schools that I know, some sports administrators, people who run academies for example Murapemurape who’s helping me to push it through into the market as well. I’ve reached out to some people who can push it into the Zimbabwean market. I also intend to set up a team that can help me push this (the software).
KM: How has the response to the software been so far?
RM: The response has been fabulous. The response has been great. I approached a couple of schools Gateway, Heritage, CBC (Christian brothers College) in Bulawayo, Hillcrest in Mutare, Watershed in Marondera. It’s been a good response from the athletic directors are thrilled to have this kind of product in the market because it doesn’t exist yet in Zimbabwe. It makes their work easy in terms of how to do this as well.
KM: So, 1 Sports is a software that helps sports personnel to plan, implement, coordinate, communicate and many other activities associated with sports management. What do you hope sports personnel will achieve from this software?
RM: What I hope to achieve is seamless managing of sports programs in organisations be it schools, be it sports academies, be it any organisations that runs sports; that it what I hope to achieve, and everybody must embrace technology and ensuring that everybody is on the platform, the parents, the students, the coaches and the administrators as well.
KM: We hear you plan to launch this app in Zimbabwe particularly in high schools. What strides have you made so far in your mission?
RM: So far in high schools I’ve made huge strides. I’ve met with a couple of athletic directors in a couple of high schools here in Harare, Mutare, Marondera, Bulawayo and there is a massive response from these athletic directors, and I hope that the school heads will embrace the new way of managing the sports programs that will help the athletic directors to seamlessly manage their sports programs.
KM: Do you believe the country is ready to embrace digitization of sports management? What are your findings so far?
RM: I think the country is ready to embrace the digitalization of sports management because if you look in the current era it’s a world of technology. Everything is moving into technology, so we must stride up into embracing the use of technology in our sports management systems in schools, sports academies, football clubs, everywhere else and that’s the way I feel the country is ready to do that.
From my findings with the couple of athlete directors I’ve spoken to, yes there’s so much will to embrace it, they’re ready for it! But the challenges are of the Internet being expensive in Zimbabwe but either way it is a good move that every athletic director is looking to embrace.
KM: What do you envision for 1 Sports in the future?
RM: I see 1 Sports as an application that is going revolutionize how sports management is done in schools, in academies and any organization that does run sports. I envision it as helping people, coaches, athletic directors to embrace technology.
KM: Ryan, thank you so much for speaking to us and best wishes with 1 Sports. Any final words?
RM: Thank you for having me, most appreciated. My last word is I urge all the athletic directors and sports administrators to jump on the ship as we revolutionize the way we manage sports in Zimbabwe. I urge them to embrace technology to ensure that their management of sports or programs is seamless.