Sports Learning App Keeps Athletes Sharp During Coronavirus

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The Learn To Win app is revolutionizing the sports learning industry and allowing athletes to stay mentally sharp during this challenging time.

Kaitlin O'Toole is joined by the founders of the Learn To Win App, Andrew Powell, Sasha Seymore and Tommy Hatton.

Learn To Win was originally founded to improve the learning tactics used to teach athletes. Up until now, many programs often relied on the archaic three-ring binder system.

Watch more: Sports Learning App Soars During Pandemic as Teams Turn to Digital Lessons

The trio decided to revolutionize the technological learning space, creating a platform that allows coaches to break down plays into micro-learning content. Players can study their playbook from anywhere and coaches are notified when they do so. With built-in quizzes, the app provides real-time data on their players' progress and understanding of the material.

That feature has become even more useful with the novel coronavirus. Programs now have an immediate solution on how they can stay connected with athletes. Players are able to stay up to speed and learn new materials, all from the safety and comfort of their home.

Watch more: Sports Learning App Founders Say Pandemic Has Led to Permanent Technological Advancement

The app is working with high school, collegiate and professional teams some of which include the Cleveland Browns Defense, Carolina Panthers, University of North Carolina and the University of Georgia. 

Learn To Win is also working with The United States Air Force training fighter pilots and some fortune 500 companies. 

With Learn to Win, coaches can send athletes quizzes and micro-lessons.

With Learn to Win, coaches can send athletes quizzes and micro-lessons.

Read the full video transcript below:

Kaitlin O'Toole: Great performance requires great preparation. And the sports learning industry is being revolutionized by the Learn to Win app. Joining me now are the founders of the new app that allows players to learn plays at any time from anywhere. Andrew Powell, Sasha Seymore, and Tommy Hatton. Tommy, you were an offensive lineman for UNC and you learned plays like most players around the country do, with a notebook. Though a little archaic, those three-ring binders have worked for decades. Why did you and your partners think it was time to go digital? 

Tommy Hatton: Yeah, just the days of kids learning from these 900 page playbooks, it was just over. You know, I just saw so many kids I played with that had so much talent, they were 6'5", 6'6", 320 pounds, can run 4.8, but they couldn't crack it mentally. And it wasn't because they weren't smart, wasn't because they weren't intelligent, it was just because the mediums to help them learn weren't up to the standards. We grew up in a technology-driven era. Just how we're used to learning. And so why should it change on the football field or in the meeting? And so when Sasha and Andrew came to me with this idea to create almost a Rosetta Stone or Duolingo for helping athletes learn, I just thought it was brilliant. My wheels started turning and I just saw so much opportunity with Learn to Win. 

Kaitlin O'Toole: How does it work? Take me through the back end. 

Andrew Powell: So there's essentially two sides to the Learn to Win platform. One side is the player learning experience where you get these sort interactive, three to five minute micro learning lessons on your phone, again, very similar to a Rosetta Stone or Duolingo where instead of a three-ring binder, you would instead have a short 30-second video clip of your play followed by a quiz question followed by a dropdown you have to click it. And you're basically forced to interact with this material. And the second side is the coach learning side, where I as a coach, essentially as easily as building a PowerPoint, I can build these micro-learning lessons out of my current playbook material and ship them to my players. So a coach can essentially, in five or 10 minutes, come up with a very interactive quiz, shoot it at his players, he can then—each player can then take the quiz online on their phones or on their laptops, and then the coach gets very real and direct insight via the analytics section of, okay, here's what my players understand and here's what they don't. So during my these Zoom meetings, I can teach directly to what my players don't understand. I don't have to cover a full install. 

Kaitlin O'Toole: So originally thinking of this you think it's beneficial for the players. But when you break it down like that, it really gives some good analytics to coaches to figure out where they spend their time. And speaking on the players, I read something recently about how our brain has evolved more in the last 20 years than it has in 200 years. And the way we are retaining information has changed. So tell me a little bit about the players and schools that are using this and how their performance has possibly increased. 

Sasha Seymore: That's exactly right. Our understanding of how people learn and really how the brain works has been radically transformed in the past 20 years. And in our platform, we've tried to leverage those principles of cognitive science to optimize the player learning experience. And so to give you a few examples, we've heard from programs about how they feel like their players are able to learn three times as fast by using Learn to Win as opposed to these traditional methods. And in addition, we're giving people visibility into what people actually know and what they're missing. You know, if you give somebody a three-ring binder and say, go learn your playbook, there's no data on that. You don't know whether they've opened it. You don't know if they're actually ingesting that information until they might make a mistake in practice or on a field.

Kaitlin O'Toole: You mentioned that this started with UNC. Then you got high school students involved. Even players from the NFL teams are using this. Can you expand on that, please? 

Tommy Hatton: Absolutely. We've been fortunate to work with some great universities—the University of North Carolina being one, Ole Miss, Michigan State. We're now currently working with the Browns' defense, the University of Georgia, Elon, Syracuse, and then high schools all around the country. 

Kaitlin O'Toole: Let's talk about the climate of the world right now. You know, the coronavirus pandemic is forcing more and more organizations and athletes to turn to technology. Coaching is being done through Zoom meetings and Facetimes. What is your app doing that is so different, though? 

Sasha Seymore: Programs are looking for ways to continue to keep the pace in coaching their players even when they can't meet them in person. And our tool is one of the few tools that can enable you to teach just as well, or we think even better, through a mobile learning approach. Rather than having team meetings, they can have really interactive, really personal, high impact learning in the safety of their own home on their mobile device and stay as mentally sharp as ever. 

Kaitlin O'Toole: Amazing. I appreciate the work that you guys are doing, the technological advances that you're giving to so many people that I think we could all really use, especially in a time like now. Thank you all for your time. I truly appreciate it.