The Client is a Polish start-up aiming to support professional soccer clubs in training the best future soccer players, thanks to the latest technologies.
Thanks to an excellent business relationship between our client and known soccer clubs, the client was advised by professional soccer clubs. With such strong support, there was a clear business need and objectives the app had to address.
The case study presents only the first stage of the application’s lifetime. What we created is a rich MVP materializing the concept.
Their primary motivation was to digitize the training experience. The founder’s mission was to create a mechanism allowing remote training for young soccer adepts. Of course, training without a coach is not possible. The whole system allows professional coaches to drive the process, just like in a live training session performed by a professional soccer academy.
The app should let young soccer adepts get back home after training and help them polish their skills independently with remote support from a professional coach. Considering the complexity of the soccer training process, the number of various forms of training, or dedicated target player goals, the app had to be supported by artificial intelligence.
The main challenge of this project was to design a system where the learning process is centralized, but mobile applications deliver data for the AI network to learn from.
As the low cost of operations was the key, we had to apply a few rounds of optimizations to the AWS (Amazon Web Services) configuration to achieve the lowest possible cost while maintaining stability.
Artificial Intelligence as support for coaches and soccer adepts
MediaPipe was the core library we used to implement an analysis of the player remote training sessions. Integration of algorithms has revealed a few challenges during the development process. To reduce the battery consumption of mobile phones and ensure that we are not dependent on the operating system of the mobile phones, we decided to implement the core set of algorithms on the backend side. Mobile apps were meant to deliver data for algorithms, consume results provided by the core, and act as live data consistency validation points in the system. The process of integration and validation of algorithms was challenging, but we were able to deliver the final, working application ahead of time.
How did we build the soccer training web & flutter mobile app?
Understanding our client’s vision was the key to the whole process, as we had a chance to create an application that was meant to revolutionize how professional soccer clubs organize the training of young soccer adepts. Therefore, the application delivery was divided into a few phases, described below.
Product Design Workshops
The client had an excellent idea for the product but required complete technical advisory from our side. During the sales process, we recommended a solution for the application. We prepared a preliminary Product Architecture described in detail during our Product Design Workshop sessions with the client.
Based on the conclusions from the workshop, we defined the core scope of the project and prioritized milestones and features. Finally, we have created a complete product roadmap with a detailed estimation of each milestone.
One of the key outcomes of the workshop was a complete change in the vision of how the Coach persona would interact with the system. The client’s initial plan was to deliver a dedicated Flutter mobile application for the Coach that would share standard features with the adept’s app. However, we persuaded our client to create a dedicated Web back office for the Coaches to reduce development costs, fit into the budget, and allow further flexibility and advanced analysis of training results. The effort paid off, as the client received a solid, stable mobile app focused on soccer adepts and a flexible Web app acting as a training center operated by Coaches and Admins.
We started the UX design of the mobile application during the Product Design Workshops phase. We decided to start the UX/UI Design process from the Flutter mobile application User Interface. We worked in Design Sprints as the final idea was evolving during the process. As usual, we started with wireframes. Then, with the client’s feedback, they transformed them into low-fi and hi-fi mockups with micro animations and motion design.
In the next UX/UI design phase, we created a web application design for Coaches and Admins by repeating the same steps. We implemented the system using Ant Design components for the Web interface.
We implemented and delivered the system in five months, while the expectations were to create the whole system in seven months.
During the Agile Development, we have followed standard Agile methodology.
As a result, we have created the following deliverables
- Flutter mobile app for iOS and Android operating systems
- React.js Web application
- Backend services implemented in Django/Python, integrated with and deployed to Amazon Web Service cloud.
We are responsible for the maintenance of the system. The maintenance phase’s goal is to ensure that the application is up-to-date and attractive.
During the maintenance, we are responsible for:
- Implementation of system monitoring
- Make sure that the application is up-to-date and attractive
- Fixing critical and non-critical issues
- Updating 3rd party libraries
- Implementing needed changes and features
Core features & system components
Have a look at some core features & system components we created during the Agile development process.
Dribbling skills judged by the Artificial Intelligence
The AI model is the heart of the app. The algorithm analyzes live-video training sessions, informs the soccer adept about critical mistakes during the training process, and aggregates training statistics.
Although we were meant to implement the tracking based on a few algorithms delivered by the MediaPipe library, the integration was not trivial. Our QA team paid substantial attention to the algorithm fine-tuning and verification process by participating in live testing of the application.
In the delivered MVP version of the application, the app can detect posture, movement, and basic training patterns. In-depth training of the AI core is a significant critical milestone on the roadmap of the system.
Soccer training program app
After examining the users’ needs and planning the basic functionalities of the application, it was clear that three separate panels should be created, covering end-users, trainers, and administrators. Each incorporates different functionalities and user permissions for other actions within the application.
The end-users panel
The trainee’s panel starts with an onboarding screen with the option to sign up. After successful registration, new users are provided guidelines on how to use the app. Those who already have an account are directed to the training section after logging into the app.
The application interface includes a navigation bar, video player, notification lists, and sections devoted to the profile details and general statistics concerning the progress made in training.
The role of gamification in the training plan
One of the elements of the application that increase User Engagement and support trainee’s in achieving their goals is gamification. It includes elements such as burning points that grow with each training and a progress bar presenting the points. If the user practices regularly, they progress in the skill tree and unlock challenges, but they can also get additional tasks from the coach. Moreover, thanks to the ranking, users can compare their achievements in the app.
To foster the growth of the soccer adepts community, we added a news feed section. This feature lets users publish posts and communicate with each other.
Please note that gamification supplements a regular training session for young soccer adepts. The app user is strongly encouraged by AI to develop his skills, but he also received dedicated training sets from his coach. In addition, the application acts as a socializing element within a soccer club and a source of healthy competition between players.
A soccer coach can log in to the system through the coaching panel. It allows them to view the whole group of players under supervision and receive and assess soccer drills finished by the users. In addition, coaches can send feedback on the elements that need improvement, assign additional training sessions or create an individual training plan. An essential feature for a soccer coach is to be a part of the community, thanks to accessing the player’s list, ranking, and news feed.
Admins have their panel dedicated to managing roles and granting permissions for all user groups. For example, only they can add new users and assign them to the coach of choice. In addition, administrators have access to published posts, uploaded videos, and a preview of the user’s list with full details.
The cooperation resulted in a Flutter mobile application published to Apple and Google app stores. The mobile application features are crafted to let soccer adepts maximize their growth. Soccer adepts are not overwhelmed nor forced to train, but the app introduces a social aspect and healthy competition in training, promoting engagement. We designed the mobile application to encourage the desire to progress.
Thanks to this revolutionary project, coaches and players can achieve better results in an easy and approachable way. In addition, talented soccer adepts that have not yet been discovered have a chance to demonstrate their skills and stand out from the crowd. Currently, the app is being tested by one of the first-league professional polish soccer teams, as its managers plan to train and discover new talents.
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