Marles Martins is the Technical Development Manager for Table Tennis Canada (TTCan), which recently signed on as a PLAYBuilder partner. Sport for Life checked in with him to see how implementation is going.
Q: How did you hear about PLAYBuilder?
A: I heard about PLAYBuilder at the Sport for Life Canadian Summit held in Gatineau in January 2020.
Q: What challenges or needs did you have that led you to look for a solution like PLAYBuilder?
A: We were looking for ways to have readily accessible information for our coaches on the go. Instead of focusing on paper copies and many different manuals, we were trying to migrate to a virtual, cloud-based database or virtual library that could help the coaches to set up their lesson plans. We were looking for possibilities to upload videos and tutorials, as well as pictures and our traditional manual in pdf format.
Q: How were those challenges affecting you and your organization?
A: We had the feeling that with technological advances and how fast our coaches were adapting to new ways of communication (via phone, text, email, social media, etc.), we should try and go virtual in some way. But still we had hurdles with more traditional coaches trying to accept the inclusion of technology in their day-to-day training. But with the onset of the pandemic, suddenly almost all teaching or coaching was rushed to be virtual. So, for TTCan it was a matter of survival as a sports organization, and to optimize our systems to be compatible with the technological needs of this pandemic and post-pandemic world. We were concerned that we would be the next extinct dinosaur.
Q: Why did you choose PLAYBuilder?
A: We tried different platforms (e.g., Google Drive, Smartsheets, Asana and Moodle), but they were not designed for sport. PLAYBuilder had the capability to do everything we wanted in a virtual environment, connect coaches, and have the Long-Term Development research and literature behind it. Just choosing your age group to have access to all the physical literacy necessary for those kids in so many different activities described in text and displayed in pictures and videos. We just need to add the sport-specific content.
We could also share the information with other sports, especially in the early stages of development (e.g., Active Start, FUNdamentals, Learn to Train and Train to Train).
Q: What would have happened if you had not chosen to license the use of PLAYBuilder?
A: We would be using two or three different kinds of virtual teaching/coaching platforms to try to get the job done. It is not easy to combine this volume of data and information if it is not coming from the same source.
Q: What measurable benefits have you seen or have 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: We hope to see more benefits when we get PLAYBuilder completely implemented. But for sure, just the simple fact that we can make one stop shop all in the same place reduces costs and time, besides the fact that it really helps the coaches—especially the younger generation. We don’t have concrete data on how much we save in cost and money yet, but we feel that it is impactful now and it will be more impactful when we have PLAYBuilder completely implemented in our coaching pathways.
Q: What would you tell others who might be considering PLAYBuilder? Would you recommend PLAYBuilder to your peers?
A: We recommend PLAYBuilder 100%. Don’t waste time. Don't be the next extinct dinosaur.