“Test And Measure” – The Mantra For Performance
It’s a given these days that in order to improve performance, you need metrics, otherwise how do you know whether you’re improving? For example:
- Software development – bugs, their origins, their root causes, closure rates.
- Project management – original estimates, actual performance, slippage.
- Business marketing – leads and closure percentage, loss reasons.
So what’s this got to do with elite sport? Well, it’s just the same. A case in point for is elite sailing. This happens to be something I know quite a lot about, as I’ve sailed all my life and my daughter Jess is campaigning in the 470 Women’s Dinghy class for Tokyo 2020.
As is often the case with a journey into a new project, it started with the innocent question “Dad could you do an app which can…?”.
The Requirement – Some Background
Sailing has an immense number of variables – it’s often been quoted as being only one level below F1 racing in terms of complexity. When competing or training, just some of the variables at play for a dinghy like the 470 are:
- Rig tension
- Mast bend
- Sail depth
- Jib car position
- Wind speed
- Wind direction
- Shifting left or right in gusts?
- Sea state
- Short chop?
- Long swell?
- Confused/cross seas?
Of course, as well as these inputs, outcomes need to be recorded:
- If competing, what was the result (the acid test)
- If competing or training, any or all of the following
- Pointing (how close to the wind can the boat sail)
- Boat handling ease
- Performance at different parts of the course (acceleration off the start for example).
So you can see that there’s a lot to record. Currently the team use a large paper notebook. Surely there’s a better way! Of course there is – can’t we record the inputs and outcomes on a mobile device, and report on them?
The essential requirement is that it’s available and quick and easy to use – if it’s a faff to use, it won’t be used.
A mobile application with the following capabilities.
- Phone or tablet
- iOS, Android and Window Phone
- Capabile of recording
- Boat settings
- Venue details
- Goals for the session/race
- Outcomes from the session/race
- Able to upload to a central store for reporting
The Solution – SportLogger
At the risk of simplifying things too much (there’s no such thing as a trivial application), the above requirements are pretty simple if the right tools are used. For us, the obvious solution is to use Xamarin.Forms to produce a consistent application across iOS, Android and Windows Phone – so SportLogger is born. Yes, it’s not a catchy name, and is likely to change – but that’s the working title for now.
At Microsec, SportLogger is being developed as a simple app which can be used to demonstrate best practice for app development. As such, it has the following features.
- Written using Xamarin.Forms to achieve maximum cross-platform sharing.
- MVVM architecture (as would be expected with Xamarin.Forms)
- Azure back-end
- Azure synchronisation
As we develop SportLogger, I plan to post here on the the technical implementations, to show how the above can be achieved.
So – What’s Mobile Got To Do With Elite Sport?
The ability to record and report on performance data conveniently and intuitively out in the field. Not that different to business, is it?