Launching Klutch Curling and an Interview with our Founders
November 11, 2017
Klutch Curling is officially in the iOS App Store and we expect to launch for Android near the end of November! Our team has been tirelessly working on perfecting the app these past few weeks and we’re very excited to have launched.
In order to download the app, search for “Klutch Curling” in the App Store. You’ll be able to test out the app with 3 free trial sessions once you make an account!
In celebration of our launch, we sat down with the founders of Klutch Curling, John Morris and Jonathan Guillemette to hear what they have to say about the app.
What inspired you two to start Klutch Curling?
John: Well, we both share a love for a number of sports, but we saw a void in curling that we wanted to fill. There is a need in curling for more tools for improvement, we saw a chance to blend this need with fun and technology and we jumped all over it.
Jonathan: The inspiration to start with curling came from a fortuitous encounter with a Curling coach called Martin Cavanagh while we were working on a hockey puck (stay tuned!), he opened our eyes to the possibility of using conceptually similar technology in curling to help people improve. To add to what John said, like many sports, curling has many convoluted variables: did I miss my shot because I got the wrong ice, because I didn't execute the shot the team agreed on, because the ice is different than the shot I just took? With technology, you can hone in on where the issues are and where the problems lay. This alone will help curlers figure out what issues arise in their shots. This will inevitably contribute to increasing the speed at which curlers improve. In other words, there was and still is an immense opportunity to help curlers all over the world improve faster.
How long have you been working on the app?
Jonathan: We were initially working on a hockey puck and app when we met Martin so there was a foundation that had been about two years in the making, but we built a final product for curling after about 6 months of focusing uniquely on curling.
John: Yes, and after building this over two years, we can say we are very excited to finally share it with everyone.
Are you both curlers yourselves?
John: I am, I guess no choice since I share a name with John Morris, the Canadian Olympic Curler… but I like to claim to be the original one since I was born first!
Jonathan: John is the curler, I had only ever curled once before embarking on this project. I already have a much better appreciation for the difficulty that lies in the shots that are made at crucial moments in the game. As with all sports, if you have passionate people around you showing you the beauty of the sport, it's hard to resist.
Who do you see benefiting from Klutch Curling?
John: All curlers or potential curlers can benefit from our app. It helps curlers who are just starting out and those who want to perfect their competitive or Olympic level curling. It’s really for all skill levels.
Jonathan: I agree. We see every type of athlete getting something out of it. What we've essentially built is an improvement tool. If any curler of any level has a desire for improvement, they will find something useful in our app. Klutch Curling allows people of all levels to gather information about the consistency of their deliveries which is very difficult to do without technology. Imagine being able to look at all your shots from a game and add them all up to see what your tendencies are. No one's brain can perform that task! This is the kind of information we are providing to users. No matter your level, consistency is something that can always be improved. The people who will gain the most out of it are people who use it as a development tool to shave months or years off of their development time. Let's lower the 10,000 hours that are required to transition from novice to expert by helping people figure out their weaknesses.
The app has been described as “changing the game of curling”, can you elaborate?
Jonathan: As it stands today, curling in most places hasn't undergone much change or improvement with the arrival of technology. With what we are proposing, any user any time can have a live diagnosis of their delivery with the 4 KPIs that need to be honed to optimized performance. This changes the game because going from a novice to an expert curler can now be done much quicker. Imagine having this kind of feedback during your whole development process: it helps you and your coach focus in on the right drills, areas to improve and strategies to achieve your objectives. In other words, by using objective information about your performance, you can now progress at a much quicker pace.
John: Currently there is no other way to track all your shots, get accurate data, and measure against prior games or practices. As Jon said, we believe that this will hugely speed up the progress of any curler looking to improve. We also see potential for it to make the broadcasts more fun with accurate data and shot predictions.
Jonathan: Yes, we can also change the game for broadcasters as they will be able to gather all sorts of parameters about the performance of the curlers at elite events. Having objective measured content during curling broadcasts would change the way fans see the game and commentators talk about the performance. Imagine our 4 KPI screens at the bottom of the broadcast allowing people to see the detailed info about each pro shot and whether it was well executed or not. With sufficient information, we could also have the commentators ''simulate'' a shot from the booth saying that to achieve this shot, they should have this split time with such amount of rotation and show to the viewer what happens if they are a bit heavy on their delivery.
What potential directions do you see the app growing in?
Jonathan: There is plenty of opportunity to grow the list of features the app offers. There are several very interesting developments that we imagine could happen in time. First, we could have the app be the ''coach-in-your-pocket'' to suggest exercises and drills to help improve your game based on your shot details. In other words, having artificial intelligence figure out the problems in your shots and then suggesting training drills for you to improve. Second, we can imagine detailed ice friction measurements shown in the form of a 2D representation of the ice seen from above with some blue zones and red zones where the ice has low and high friction respectively. Third, it is possible that we could detect hog line violations in any club that is Klutch enabled. Finally, something that's bouncing around the office is if we could combine automatic score keeping with identification to see which curlers are the best in their various roles as leads, seconds, thirds and skips. This could allow users to see how they compare in terms of shot execution and outcome to their friends, the other members of their club, potentially also any other curler in the world. We are definitely thinking differently about the future of curling and all that we can bring to the table to help curlers of all levels improve. We cannot yet announce a timeline for all this, but we have many ideas forming and in the works.
John: I think Jon really said it all, we will be adding many more metrics and lots of training opportunities. Our goal is for everyone to continue to improve.