Catapult Sports is a global company that creates technology for athletes to perform at their best. The client wanted a better way for athletes to access and study film outside of their scheduled time with coaches. At MSTQ, my team and I uncovered a wealth of knowledge on the topic and delivered a product that empowers both coaches and players to prepare at their best.


We were tasked to design an iOS application for elite athletes to mentally and tactically prepare for competition by engaging with film.


We set out to fully-understand the inner-workings of athletes preparing for competition. At the core of this research was the practice of positive psychology. The goal of this approach is to uncover what makes people thrive and be at their best. By identifying these moments of excellence, success, joy, and positivity, we can better design a product that produces this behavioural outcome.

This positive psychology approach produces a different outcome than a more traditional design thinking approach. A main difference is in the type of insights it is intended to produce. A more traditional user research approach aims to uncover pain points and problems. The general idea is to become aware of the pain points and problems in order to fix them with design. This approach can be limiting. There is a level beyond simply fixing things. That level beyond is achieving the behavioural outcome of excellence, success, joy, and positivity. This was the lense through which we set out to achieve our research objectives.

Who we interviewed:

Purdue University

Men’s basketball team4 players, Defensive coach, Offensive coach

Northwestern University

Football team7 players and coach

University of Illinois at Chicago

Women’s soccer teamSmall group sessions with team and head coach



Analysis begets achievement
A cyclical analysis allows players and teams to make targeted behaviours permanent.

Periodization is informed by the outcome of a team’s last game and the opponent of their next game Preparation is opponent specific and it resets after every game. Preparation is constant but intensity varies depending on opponent.

Internalizing knowledge about an athlete’s assignment reduces ambiguity and creates certainty, providing a clear path to preparation Information on an upcoming opponent helps a team properly frame their next game and set better expectations of challenges and opportunities. Inadequate opponent intel decreases players’ confidence and motivation.


Film is memory Film doesn't lie; it provides playback of what happened and affords a team shared visibility into how things happened. This enables a team to develop a common analytic lens and adopt a universal truth.

Film affords multiple purposes
It can be used for induction, reflection, correction, aspiration, inspiration, priming, and regoaling.

Easy access to film increases the likelihood of viewing and shortens the overall time spent on teaching and learning
The easier a thing is to do, the more likely it will be done.


The approach to building team fluency undermines the growth of individual competency Coaches are experts at analyzing film; most players don’t know how to analyze film. By coaches doing all of the analysis, players are not equipped to effectively study film on their own.

The more visual and multimodal a learning is, the more successful the outcome Correct visualization of a concept is instrumental to players’ correct comprehension of it, which is instrumental to its correct application.

Trust in coaches and their team fosters an effective learning mindset for players Positive relationships reduce stress, improve engagement, and increase learning ability.

Cognitive dynamics

Routine and regularity engender a perception of controlConsistent completion of regular routines before a game can build players’ excitement and confidence to achieve a desired outcome.

Players’ perceptions are shaped by their emotions, mindsets, attitudes, and attention

Low self-efficacy can undermine a player’s competence and execution during a performance

Taking time for restorative and generative personal care leading up to a game helps players achieve peak performance.

A players’ physiological, psychological, and emotional well-being play critical roles in preparation and preparedness.

Coaches’ understanding of players’ physiological, psychological, and emotional well-being is critical to calibrating the periodization.

Global insight

There’s a difference between preparation and feeling prepared

Defining the problem

Athletes’ current process for studying film is fragmented and inefficient. All film is simply uploaded to a cloud-based repository that is not only difficult to navigate, but also lacks features that athletes require in order to effectively study film. Athletes are forced to find workarounds and develop their own processes, using various technologies, in order to study film.

How might we make film easily accessible, and also provide athletes with the features they need in one centralized experience?

Design principles

Learning is not enough. Make it second nature

Improve players’ Sport IQ by developing their unconscious competence through independent analysis, evaluation, and synthesis of game situations, decisions, and behaviors according to their program’s style of play.

Bring intel to players

Increase players’ ability and likelihood to consistently view lm by making their points of interest in lm content easy to access and identify.

Let the coach know the extent to which they are heard

Foster coaches’ trust in their players by affording them greater insight into players’ preparedness and progressive development of Sport IQ.

Routine. Routine. Routine.

Engender players’ sense of control throughout preparation by effectively setting their expectations and introducing routine and regularity where variable change is constant.

Multi-modal. Multiples times

Promote players’ exceptional performance under high pressure by facilitating mindset management, situation analysis, and choice selection within simulated game realities.

Concept ideation

Touch and hold to capture feature for clipping film

Ability to take notes immediately after clipping while clip loops.

A tray for housing all personal clipped content and notes

Final design

Learning is not enough. Make it second nature

Bring intel to players

Let the coach know the extent to which they are heard

Routine. Routine. Routine.

Multi-modal. Multiples times

Next steps

So far, every design project I’ve worked on, I’ve uncovered problems and needs that extend beyond the client’s ask and scope for the project. The same is true for this project. From research, we uncovered that health and wellness is a prominent concern among student athletes. Players felt that coaches and staff need to be more conscious of the fact they are full-time students as well as athletes.They also mentioned wanting coaches and staff to be more considerate about players’ health and recovery. A recommendation for the client would be to further explore this insight to leverage existing health-tracking and reporting technology or design a solution to incorporate with the players’ experience in preparation for competition.


As a former educator, this project was especially intriguing and exciting for me because of its pedagogical elements. While working through research insights, I was able to leverage my knowledge of education to identify a major problem with the way athletes were expected to study film. It also allowed me to design an application that modeled pedagogical best practices to maximize learning. It was incredibly rewarding to be able to leverage my background and diverse experiences to design a product that is truly grounded in science and research. This experience further validated the value of working with a diverse team where designers can offer unique insight for the design of experiences.

Can’t forget to have fun


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