What do Corofin, Mourneabbey and the Galway camogie side have in common?
They’re All-Ireland champions, yes. But the answer we’re looking for is that Actimet helped them get there.
“Corofin were our pilot client along with the Galway hurlers,” Head of Operations, Rory McGauran tells us.
“Then we’d the Galway camogie side. Then Mourneabbey signed up. They won the Ladies football All-Ireland, Galway camogs won the All-Ireland and then the Galway ladies footballers got to the All-Ireland final.
“So it just started growing from there. Word of mouth basically but it’s been great.
“It’s a funny one, because it’s not something you can sell. Somebody either receives the value in it or they understand the idea and they take it.”
So what is Actimet?
Created and owned by Lukasz Kirszenstein, Rory McGauran and South African tech genius Edward Kaschula, Actimet is an app that focuses on sport performance and analysis.
Kirszenstein is a name familiar to many GAA fans. The Polish strength and conditioning coach played a key role in Tipperary’s All-Ireland win in 2016. A year later, he helped the Galway hurlers achieve the same feat.
McGauran was also part of Galway’s backroom team in 2017. Following Micheál Donoghue’s departure, McGauran remained with them, stepping into the role of Head of Performance Analysis with Shane O’Neill’s current All-Ireland contenders.
Together, they’ve set up an innovative performance analysis app that is not only making waves throughout Ireland but has also gone global.
Actimet acts as an online platform for players to log their thoughts, feelings, strains and issues pre and post-training. The portal then acts as a sounding board for coaches who monitor and analyze their players, from their training load to their mental health.
— Actimet (@Actimet1) April 29, 2020
“So Lukasz was collecting subjective information from players with regards to their wellness and their perception of effort in training. Research has shown that you can obviously improve performance but you can also take a proactive approach towards injury and burnout by gathering information from players.
“How hard they thought the training was? What’s their mood? What’s their stress levels like? How much sleep are they getting? How well do they sleep? Then their body soreness, the lower body or upper body. Just gathering all this over time.
“There’s a formula behind it for training loads and it compares what you’ve done over one week to a four-week average. If your levels spike, it’s an indicator that you might get injured in the next 10 to 12 days.”
— Actimet (@Actimet1) August 5, 2020
“So we started in that area. He was doing it by Excel and Google Sheets and even whiteboards. I worked in IT and I brought in a developer and we set up a company and we designed Actimet.”
“Basically it’s a mobile app for the players to put in their information and the web portal then for the coach to review everyone in their squad.
“Our objective really was to make it simple and quick for the athletes. Some of the systems out there are a bit complex and require athletes to spend a minute or two putting in information. Ours can be done in 10 seconds.”
Actimet really has moved the needle. Not just for players but coaches also.
Performance analysis was paramount at the beginning. However the wellness function has become the fulcrum of what Actimet is about, setting it apart from competitors.
Clubs are using Actimet to help with their players Health Checks and #returntoplay .
Efficient, fast & easy to use for Club admins, players and management –
Sign up here; https://t.co/fo8BxdHBe0 pic.twitter.com/ZBS0EDPWCR
— Actimet (@Actimet1) June 23, 2020
“The original focus was tracking performance and training but what came with it was the wellness side. We’re getting some really powerful feedback on that function.
“It’s a conversation starter for coaches. They can see if someone is spiking or someone is not sleeping or someone’s mood or stress is up. They can go talk to them.
“You might see people with kids not sleeping or people working extra hours. There’s numerous things that can go wrong outside the training ground. The players might not necessarily want to share this with their coach five minutes before training.
“With this, they are sharing so it’s a good way of building that trust between the coach and athlete. So wellness really has become one of the core parts of it. People, in some cases, are highlighting issues they are having and asking for help.”
McGauran uses the example of Corofin, the best club side in Ireland, as a team who have benefitted from this.
Covid Symptom Sign Off – Actimet makes it easy, safe & secure for management & player.
Coaches are also using Actimet for Training Load Monitoring/RPE,Burnout, Wellness, Scheduling & Messaging!
Special Rate of only €50 per month for your club!#athletemonitoring #returntoplay pic.twitter.com/qIXRk038yf
— Actimet (@Actimet1) August 5, 2020
“Corofin came back to us and highlighted how great the wellness side was. Players were thanking the management team for checking in on them after they’d had a lower wellness score in some areas.
“Whether the coach or selector goes to catch up with the player before training or after training, they see how he is and the players really appreciate that. So it’s powerful and it really helps with building that trust and relationship.”
The app has become so powerful that there are several functions that have not been explored, yet. One such thing is artificial intelligence which McGauran reckons they will be testing by the end of this year.
“I guess our philosophy is just that if it’s not simple and easy to use, it doesn’t get in because there’s thousands of things you can put into it.
“Like, we’re going to have the menstrual cycle tracking for women. We’ve got about one million rows of data now and once we get to about three million rows, we’ll be able to use it for artificial intelligence.
“We’ll potentially be able to predict an injury or sickness. You can see indicators that will lead to sickness, you can never truly say you could predict an injury. But it will definitely be proactive towards preventing injuries.
— Actimet (@Actimet1) July 28, 2020
“So I’d say the way we’re going, we would have about three million rows by the end of the year, I’d reckon. And then we’ll be able to get some serious stuff out of it.”
While based in Galway, Actimet has since gone global. Tottenham women and a scattering of rugby clubs in the UK have signed up. Several professional soccer clubs in Poland are using the app as well as a host of other sports from all over the world.
North America’s National Hockey League (NHL) have even expressed an interest in running the app right through the league’s feeder system.
The bigger the franchise the bigger the reward. But the guys at Actimet aren’t concerned with the company’s profitability, at least not from a financial standpoint. Actimet is about bringing value to teams and making both the athlete and coaches life easier.
“I think you can have a mindset of wanting to make a million euro or be focused on the money but what we’re trying to do here is focus on developing the platform and bringing value and doing something good.
“If you’re always thinking about the money, you know, the motivation can change, We want to keep that mindset of bringing value to clubs. Obviously, we’re seeing the benefits with players and managers. It accounts for a lot.
“It’s not about making money it’s about bringing value.”