From Unemployed Students to Entrepreneurs: The Development of the Cricketcoach App

Cricketcoach have developed three interactive smartphone apps (Batting, Bowling and Fielding/WKT). These apps are packed with detailed coaching points, HD videos, analysed pictures, common faults, fun drills and comparison sections. The apps are removing the boundaries of cricket coaching and allowing anyone to become the coach. You can download the apps from iTunes, or from the Google Play and Blackberry app stores.

After graduating with good grades from various universities, the four future employees of Cricketcoach were finding it very difficult to gain employment in the economic downturn. They had always had a dream to work as entrepreneurs, but desperately needed a spark to make the dream reality. That spark came from the founder of Cricketcoach, Joe Eaton. Joe, like myself and employee Matt Sanderson, was playing cricket professionally in Victoria at the time. Appointed as a head coach of a local team, Joe was in the middle of a one-to-one coaching session when he realised he needed to check his old out-dated manual about a coaching tip. However, he had left the manual in England. Joe realised how much easier it would be to have a manual you could take anywhere and use anytime, and this is how the idea of having professional coaching application for smartphones came about.

The old methods of coaching via a manual are boring and uninteresting, not only to current cricketers but to children and adults wanting to begin playing the game. Cricketcoach made the apps interactive and easy to use, aiming to make practice and coaching a lot more fun for budding cricketers. It was decided even before the development process that Cricketcoach wanted to make the apps as cheap as possible for the public, as the cost of one-to-one coaching is ridiculous and they wanted to give everyone in the world access to professional coaching.

The apps took roughly a year to build. During this year Joe, Matt, a professional coach – Rob Hodson Walker – and I remained conveniently unemployed, which enabled us to collectively write, film and develop the apps. We Cricketcoach lads believed in the apps, and given the lack of job prospects at the time, we were willing to invest time and money in the idea because we knew it would be worth it in the long run.

Building the awareness of the initial app was a tricky thing to do, as we didn’t want potential competitors gaining knowledge of the product whilst it was still in development. These companies had a bigger budget and more credibility to market their own apps, so the concept was best kept quiet. Once the apps had been fully developed, Cricketcoach then started to raise awareness of the product. Competitors would find it very hard to better the detail in the apps, let alone to better the price, and were running out of time to raise the money to develop them.

As unemployed graduates ourselves, the developers of the Cricketcoach app are very keen to give other struggling students the opportunity to review it. Cricketcoach conducted a long email campaign, contacting every club within the UK and every national board, not only informing them of the apps but also asking for feedback with which to improve the product.

The feedback on the apps has been amazing. We’ve received reviews from newspapers, magazines, bloggers, cricket players and coaches, professionals and ex-professionals – all of which has been very positive, with many people astonished by the level of detail available for such a low price. The apps have removed the boundaries from cricket coaching, bringing it up to date and making coaching interactive and fun. Players, children, adults, parents, grandparents, teachers and countless others can now all access professional coaching anytime and anywhere, and either coach themselves or become a coach for others.

The apps have been downloaded in 28 countries all around the world, ranging from India, Australia and England to Panama, Switzerland and Israel. Cricketcoach is helping to increase participation in cricket around the world and aiding the spread of our beautiful game. We are currently working with county boards in England to further improve the apps and create others. Afterward, we have our sights set on expanding our business to India and Australia.

It is amazing how one unemployed graduate’s dream, with the help of three dedicated friends, can become a reality. We would definitely recommend any graduates struggling to get a job to follow any dream they may have. With the commitment and skill to back it, it is worth taking the risk.

Sam Eaton

The author Sam Eaton

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