How do you help the world's oldest football association create a training strategy for the mobile age?
"YUDU's consultative approach throughout the initial build process for both The Boot Room and The Future Game apps meant that I knew we were covered wherever I felt we lacked the internal skills to succeed."
- Darren Sandbach, Digital Learning Manager, The FA.
As the governing body of Britain’s most popular sport, The Football Association (The FA) have clear responsibilities defined under the umbrella of their legal remit.
Not least, they have overall responsibility for the development of qualified and accredited coaching community, attuned to the needs of young players and their developmental needs. Throughout all of this, a significant amount of published print material is employed on training programs and promoting the latest developments in football coaching.
In 2010 the FA launched The Future Game, a “Technical Guide for Young Player Development”. This flagship publication is described by the FA as: a vision intended for the whole game, with the same underpinning values applicable for coaches from grassroots to elite level.
This print edition now stands alongside The Boot Room, a tri-annually published magazine of The FA Licensed Coaches’ Club as a key publication by the FA related to coaching and young player development.
The FA wanted both of these publications to make the transition to digital because it tied in with the idea of a modern coaching workforce in England. Naturally, coaching itself will “always be about boots on grass”, but the elements in-between, like research, self-lead learning and professional development needed to be serviced by modern channels capable of delivering things like rich-media content to coaches and players.
The FA were attracted to YUDU because we offered “the right functionality at the right price” and gave them confidence in entering a new marketplace through our consultative approach. They were particularly impressed by our ability to use our own creative services team to help “fill in the gaps” of the design work they had been expecting to do themselves, helping to speed up the process immensely.
At the moment, The Boot Room is largely being used an enahnced page-turner, that is, a simple recreation of the print edition within an app-environment, but the FA are hoping to expand more on YUDU's creative services moving forward.
They are already making use of this to deliver high-definition, relevant video content to coaches alongside some early-stage HTML5 interactive content to illustrate elements of coaching that cannot be conveyed in static diagrams, such as body language, tone of voice and player movement through a practice.
There was also considerable praise reserved for the note-taking feature from coaches themselves, which may not be of enormous practical use to the average consumer, but is important to coaches who do not want to switch between paper and iPad when out on the pitch or making notes for another training session while off-pitch.
Fundamentally, the FA wanted to use apps as a way to bring what’s essentially reference material into a digital environment, enhancing these editions with more basic rich-media functionality and giving them the option to move on to more advanced interactive content further down the line.