PLAYBuilder Q&A with Bowls Canada

Jake Schuknecht is the development manager for Bowls Canada, which recently made the decision to provide PLAYBuilder access to all their community coaches. Sport for Life connected with him to see how the platform is working so far.

Q: How did you hear about PLAYBuilder?

A: From various Sport for Life emails, webinars, presentations, etc. The most recent item that brought it to my attention was Kelsey McIntosh's article from Ringette Canada.

Q: What challenges or needs did you have that led you to look for a solution like PLAYBuilder?

A: Our community coaches don't currently have a collection of coaching materials. Not only that, but we wanted to help them think about different ways to run practices or activities that weren't based exclusively on typical games. PLAYBuilder is the perfect solution to gather drills, activities or lesson plans, and share them with our coaches.

Q: How were those challenges affecting you and your organization?

A: At the grassroots level, it plays a large part on whether participants stick with the sport. Running the same drills, the same games, over and over can get repetitive and boring, and may not be developmentally appropriate. We're optimistic that PLAYBuilder will empower our coaches to excel at retaining new participants, and to also run developmentally-appropriate activities for all of our bowlers.

Q: Why did you choose PLAYBuilder?

A: It was the logical choice given that other sports use it, it does what we wanted it to do, and it further enhances our relationship with Sport for Life.

Q: What would have happened if you had not chosen to license the use of PLAYBuilder?

A: We may have sought other options, or we may have just gone another year without providing such a resource to our coaches. It's hard to say, as we weren't exactly planning not to follow through with this.

Q: Recently you decided to contract Sport for Life to implement and digitize your Bowls Canada programming into PLAYBuilder. How was that experience for you?

A: It was great! Having Sport for Life’s Jessica Waterman digitize everything for us was a huge time saver and well worth it. My only qualm would be that I didn't have enough time to be as efficient as I'd have liked to be. The entire Sport for Life team was incredibly efficient and accommodating. We probably could have completed our project sooner had I not held things up.

Q: What measurable benefits have you seen or have been projected since implementing PLAYBuilder? What organizational processes does PLAYBuilder enhance? How much does it reduce the cost and time to complete these particular processes?

A: It's certainly an enhancement to our coaching program. Our goal is to offer a one-year subscription to every new community coach trained in 2021 and beyond. However, it would then be up to them to renew their licence after that. This certainly adds to the cost for us, but it's a worthwhile investment into coaching. 

For bowls, there's a significant lack of a coaching culture at the grassroots level (especially compared to other sports), so the more resources we can offer our coaches, the better. My only hesitation will be future funding. If we see a major uptick in coaching, this could become unsustainable for us to fund, even with a discounted pricing model. For now though, we can manage it.

Q: Would you recommend PLAYBuilder to your peers?

A: Absolutely I'd recommend it. For those considering it, go through the demoit's a great way to see the platform before committing. Pending your needs, I'd bet that PLAYBuilder is a viable solution. The training videos and documentation make it very user-friendly on the administrative side. Billie Tes and her team are super accommodating, so I have no doubts about future customizations, should we ever need it. I fully expect that we'll be using PLAYBuilder for many years to come, and that it will be hard for coaches to imagine not having it.

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