Student-athletes face growing pressure balancing home, school, and sports. They need an accessible and engaging way to improve their self-knowledge and, ultimately, their athletic progress and performance. Coaches require better methods to connect with their teams and tailor their training to individual needs. As a retired professional athlete, the founder of Before the Field wanted to create an engaging and easy way to meet these challenges.
Before the Field is a platform that supports athletes' development on and off the field by giving them the tools to understand who they are. The app allows students to share the context of their performance and growth as human beings with the people most important to them on their journey, including coaches who can use this information to customize their training methods.
Before the Field was created to help athletes tell their story…with the tools to track development and complete the portrait of who they are. – Founder, Before the Field
Before the Field approached Flower Press Creative Studio to build an app geared towards high school athletes based on the Acceptance Commitment Therapy framework, a psychology tool widely used by college and professional sports teams. The founders had conducted a pilot program with athletes in the previous sports season using survey tools, interviews, and other lightweight methods. During that process, they created a series of modules designed to improve self-knowledge and mental conditioning in athletes. These ideas were still early and needed to be refined to be included in the mobile app.
We conducted a series of stakeholder interviews and created a workflow and prototype to capture the existing concepts. We worked through refinements, including gamification, UI/UX best practices, and cohesive end-to-end user engagement strategies. We conducted early-user interviews with student-athletes, coaches, and recruiters and made additional adjustments. We simplified and refined the feature set during these sessions to define an MVP.
With our initial feature set in mind, our designers collaborated with the founders to create a modern brand identity using bold colors and graphics to appeal to young athletes.
The app guides athletes through rating their strengths and values, logging game and practice performance evaluations, and determining the source of their stress. A stress exercise helps athletes focus on breathing and reaffirming their values. It is designed for teams–once coaches enroll in their organization, they can send invitations to their athletes to join. Regular interaction with the Before the Field app results in higher engagement scores, allowing the platform to create an accurate portrayal of the athlete. Our development team built the cross-platform app in React Native and released it for iOS and Android in the same timeline. The app uses custom algorithms and third-party integrations to generate ongoing performance gains and engagement in athletes.
Before the Field will continue to add features that allow student-athletes to grow and share their development with decision-makers and friends. We are excited to see Before the Field's impact on the athletes and teams of the future.