Gymnastics Australia Athlete Assessments

Katalyst developed a system to reduce assessment times so Gymnastics Australia could focus on finding future Olympians

Gymnastics Australia reached out to Katalyst Interactive to workshop ways they could use technology that would help them perform assessments for future athletes around Australia. Katayst developed a real-time remote assessment application which significantly reduced administration time so staff could focus more on the athletes. The application was so successful it led to the development of a similar application for Diving Australia.

The Challenge 

Gymnastics Australia (GA) is the national governing body for gymnastics within Australia. Established in 1949, their mission is to promote, develop and grow gymnastics for the enjoyment of all. This involves finding future Olympians, Australian athletes with the potential to compete against the world’s most elite gymnasts.

To find these athletes, Gymnastics Australia would visit gyms around Australia in person and watch athletes to attempt routines, grade them, and record the results in spreadsheets. This demanded excessive time and resources to visit each athlete in person with thousands of rows of data was compiled manually and managed in spreadsheets. 

The operation would be difficult to scale to reach more athletes. Gymnastics Australia wanted to take what they had developed manually and explore ways to leverage technology that could reduce travel and allow more assessments to be reviewed with less administrative overhead.

The Solution 

Katalyst worked closely with Gymnastics Australia to understanding their existing assessment process, and workshop approaches for remote administration as well as how the process could be changed to scale using technology. 

Now the coaches record the athletes

The design of the new application fundamentally changed how the process worked. Gymnastics Australia no longer need to fly around to see each athlete perform a routine in person. Instead the new application harnessed an existing capability already available in each location - the coaches phone! Now coaches could take a video of the routine on their phone and save thus to the cloud in the new application. All the routines and the athletes were set up in the application which allows the coach to view all their athletes and which routine the athlete is up to. They could select the routine and film the athlete’s attempt and complete the process on their phone from any location.

Greatly reduced administration cost and time

Gymnastics Australia’s assessment program had three key elements that formed the assessment of an athlete. Viewing the athletes perform the routine, evaluating their performance, and compiling the results. This was all carried out by a single assessor who would fly to each location with all data recorded and reviewed manually. The new application completely reinvented this process, removed the need to travel, manual data recording, as well as allowing assessments to take place anywhere and anytime. 

High standards through decentralised assessments

Rather than one individual being required to assess every routine, the application introduced separate assessors who were specialised in key areas to assess the routines. Having many assessors meant that athletes could be assessed quickly while maintaining high assessment standards. 

Data led decision making with insights and automated reporting

With more efficient assessment capability and a centralised storage of data, a number of new reports were now possible such as an ‘Athlete Ranking Report’ that provided a list of which athletes in each age group to invite to the next National Team camp.  

Data management

With thousands of athlete assessments being performed, ensuring the system met and exceeding performance demands was critical to successful user adoption of the system. Katalyst software engineers ensured the right technology architecture choices were made that would ensure sure the system was always fast and snappy. 

Protecting the privacy of young athletes

With many of the athletes being underage, their videos could not be stored on a third party service. Using AWS infrastructure a transcoding service that would take the uploaded video and transcode it for optimal web viewing.

The Outcome 

Gymnastics Australia’s pioneered a digital approach to gymnastics, taking a limited process that was reliant on a single person, and scaling this to become a digital workflow that spreads the task and knowledge across specialists who are the best suited to key parts of the workflow. To date there have been over 50,000 videos uploaded and assessments made in the application. 

The core system has also been expanded to include testing for general athletic ability, mental resilience as well as recording competition results. This provides a more holistic picture of an athlete and a single score has been developed that weighs the 4 areas based on the age of the athlete. 

The success of the system has attracted other sports and a similar system has been built for Diving Australia with interest from several other sports.