Online sports coaching start-up kicks goals during the COVID-19 pandemic

Online sports coaching start-up kicks goals during the COVID-19 pandemic

A new online platform called SLOCOACH has launched in Australia, revolutionising the world of sports coaching with its cutting-edge technology and access to world-class talent.

SLOCOACH was created by Luke Jecks, founder and former CEO of Naked Wines; Derek Hardy, former CTO of Naked Wines; and Luke Holmes, former NSW Waratahs Rugby Hooker.

The start-up uses pioneering, user-friendly technology to deliver tailored feedback from some of the most recognisable faces in sport, so that aspiring athletes and beginners alike can receive invaluable advice on how they can be their best.

SLOCOACH has an impressive roster of renowned coaches across 20 different sports available including Olympian Sally Pearson, Wallabies captain Michael Hooper, WNBA Champion Lauren Jackson, Olympic medallist Matthew Mitcham, and AFL great Dane Swan, amongst many other sporting greats. 

The SLOCOACH advisory board is equally impressive – working alongside the two Lukes and Derek are Cricket legend Michael Slater (also a coach), plus well-known investors Manfred Hasseler (Airtasker, MadeComfy), Will Jephcott (Gresham Advisory Partners Limited) and Peter Dunne (Canva, Atlassian).

How has the startup performed recently?

Initially launching to market in May 2020, SLOCOACH managed to overcome the difficult conditions presented by COVID-19 by successfully raising $1m initial investment, onboarding some of the most famous faces in sport, and has since gathered an impressive amount of loyal ‘recruits.’

Concurrently, SLOCOACH has launched in the UK – offering a similar platform but based around the arts and entertainment. The success of the arts-based model has exceeded expectations, and plans are now afoot to launch a similar initiative in Australia.

However, Luke Jecks says it hasn’t been all smooth sailing: “launching a start-up is challenging at the best of times but launching during a global pandemic was nerve-wracking to say the least.

“Fortunately for SLOCOACH, the tough conditions presented by COVID-19 actually worked to our advantage,” he said.

“SLOCOACH is an online platform where sports fans can select their sport and coach from a lineup of famous faces, take videos of them playing or performing a certain technique, and receive personalised, one-on-one feedback from their choice of coach, using the latest technology.

“With many sports clubs shutting their doors for months due to lockdowns and COVID-19 concerns, aspiring sports enthusiasts have been looking for alternative ways to access high-quality coaching – which is where SLOCOACH comes in to play.”

What spurred this idea?

The inspiration behind SLOCOACH came to Luke Jecks at home, when he saw his children videoing themselves skateboarding in the front yard. At the time, he thought it would be a great idea to send the footage to a professional to get tailored, bespoke feedback.

“I think the simplicity of uploading a video of yourself to the platform, and receiving detailed, personal responses from some of sport’s biggest icons, really appealed to those stuck at home, who didn’t want their sporting performance to suffer,” said Luke.

“I knew my kids would love something like SLOCOACH, so I teamed up with Luke Holmes to create it.”

Jecks mentions that it wasn’t just recruits who were benefiting from SLOCOACH:

“Equally, for many of the coaches, who found they had extra time available due to game cancellations, SLOCOACH provided them with an outlet where they could use their years of expertise to help mentor and inspire the next generation of sports stars via their detailed feedback.”

What makes SLOCOACH special?

Jecks also believes that using the latest, cutting-edge technology offers a major point of difference for SLOCOACH.

“SLOCOACH utilises video technology and the latest interactive analysis tools to equip coaches with everything they need to closely analyse a recruit’s performance and technique – providing them with the next best thing to live-viewing,” said Jecks.

“Using the innovative technology, coaches can draw, measure angles and use a spotlight tool on a recruit’s video upload, so that they can closely examine and pinpoint areas where they’re performing well, and highlight and offer their tips on where they can improve. 

“This unique platform is the first of its kind dedicated to virtually helping users thrive at doing the things they love.”

Sydney-based Jecks is no stranger to coming up with revolutionary concepts, as he’s the CEO behind the $30million crowdfunded winemaking platform, Naked Wines.

He and co-founder Luke Holmes are hoping SLOCOACH will experience a similar response in Australia as the arts-based platform has had in the UK.

“We’re thrilled to bring SLOCOACH to one of the world’s best sporting nations.

After the success of SLOCOACH in the UK, we are confident the platform can inspire and improve the performance of sports fans of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, to help them become their best,” Jecks said.

He also mentions that there’s plans to continue to grow the platform here in Australia, and launch a sports-based version in the UK. 

“We are planning to continue to introduce new sports and coaches to the Australian site. We are also potentially looking at adding categories outside of sport to the platform so more Australians can experience the magic of SLOCOACH,” he said.