Growing beyond swimming

Roy Burch
May 5, 2016
eric rowing erg
I tried rowing on an erg, and lost.
May 8, 2016
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Growing beyond swimming

lemonaid adds more sports

We’re adding more sports. Here’s what we’ve learned, and what we’re doing about it

LemonAid 2.0, our latest app release, now serves two more sports: diving and rowing. The update also includes major improvements to user profiles, direct involvement of fans, and easier sharing options. In the next couple of weeks, LemonAid will be adding Track & Field, Cross Country, Tennis, Golf, Water Polo and Lacrosse.

Since launching in September 2015, we have learned so much about the college recruiting environment, so here’s a moment to reflect on what we have learned so far, and how we are adapting LemonAid as we go.

What we’ve learned

Listen and be patient

Like any entrepreneurs, we embarked in this startup business thinking we understood more than we actually did. Thankfully, I had Nate reign me back in (on more than one occasion) for thinking too big, too fast. Several months ago, we still hadn’t figured out what swimming needed, let alone other sports.

We don’t even know what we don’t know

In business, failure plays an integral part in success. The reality is this: everything you try is a risk, because it requires assuming things about the unknown. When you’re wrong, recognize it quickly and adapt; otherwise you lose. We designed LemonAid for what we thought athletes and coaches would want. Some of it we got right, and some of it we weren’t even close. Adding more sports means more risk.

High school athletes don’t know, either

Every day I need to remind myself that our main users, high school athletes, have never gone through the recruiting process before. Our role is to get the athlete started with a warm introduction to coaches. We have to assume the task of being recruited seems intimidating for some, so our mindset has become one of reassurance and guidance.

Club/HS coaches love helping their athletes

From what I have learned, club and high school coaches really love their sport, but the one thing they care about more than their sport is their athletes. They want to help, but have not had much of a platform to do so, unless college coaches reach out to them. Since we already know a coach’s opinion matters to their athlete(s), we knew LemonAid needed a way to amplify that opinion. That’s why we created the drag-and-drop recommendation feature. The more sports we add, the more we can learn.


What we’re doing about it

Building on coach feedback

As we add sports, we are relying more and more on what coaches tell us they need. We don’t know, for example, what metrics or skills a coach looks for in lacrosse, soccer, or anything else. So we have been asking, and we have found that coaches are not only friendly and helpful, they’re passionate about what we’re doing at LemonAid. It’s inspiring.

Basics first, then details

I think we overdeveloped LemonAid for swimming. We thought we knew what coaches and athletes wanted. We didn’t. Sure, we know swimming, and Nate was even a college coach…but we assumed coaches wanted more than they really do. So as we roll out new sports, the profiles have options for a lot of information, but ask for fundamental info about an athlete: GPA, top 3 events/times/scores, graduation year, etc..

Easier user experience

The enhanced profile is one of the biggest improvements in LemonAid 2.0. Not only does it give users more flexibility in what to input, it also makes more sense. This additional information in the athlete’s profile allows coaches to use new filters for their searches. We’re excited to hear from coaches from more sports and what they think about it.

Fans, Friends and Family

Yes, club and high school coaches want to help their athletes. But so do the fans! In most college sports outside of basketball and football, the fans are primarily made up of family and friends of the athletes. I realize that’s different at the professional level, but in college, few of these sporting events are ‘standing room only’. The truth is, the fans that do show up really care about the athletes. LemonAid 2.0 gives the fans a chance to rank schools and recommend them to athletes, just like club coaches.

Try it out

Anyone can use LemonAid, so try it out. More sports are being added every couple of weeks until they are all available to you. It’s free in the App Store and GooglePlay. Login and choose your sport, and let us know what you think!

Eric Knight
Eric Knight

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