"Sports are going borderless." That is how GMTM founder Joey Grant sums up the unlimited reach his company's platform has offered to coaches looking for talent. Within the social network his team is building, scouts and recruiters are able to interact with more athletes than ever - far beyond where they were looking just a few years ago.
In an article he published on Medium, Grant outlined his vision that has begun to come to fruition,
"Premier organizations at every level of sport — youth sports, D1-D3 colleges, NFL & NBA, Olympic National teams, and brands, are using GMTM to simplify their operations to focus on delivering access in order to maximize opportunities for athletes."
With partners like Volleyball Canada - the country's governing body for the sport that assembles Olympic teams, Raiders Tirol - an American football team based in Innsbruck, Austria, and many more located in and far outside North America, GMTM has helped shift the accessibility of sports careers from the well-traveled to the tech-savvy. Each of these teams have launched Virtual Tryouts and Digital Combines that have seen participation from more places on the map than was any of them thought was possible. And it has saved them a lot of money.
Video-focused profiles, list-making, and messaging built into the platform, GMTM has helped eliminate some of the travel and expenses involved in scouting new talent. Now, coaching staffs are able to request videos and evaluate athletes from anywhere on the globe. That makes it easier to decide which athletes you want to see in person for development camps and in-person training.
Volleyball Canada was one of the first national governing bodies to turn to virtual evaluations on GMTM.
In their first few events inviting Volleyball athletes from across Canada to tryout virtually for their national teams, they saw a 300% increase in participation than in past years when the tryout was in-person. This increase in participation shows how many more athletes had access to the tryout without having to worry about travel or schedules. And for the coaches, they were able to evaluate three-times as many athletes, while observing quarantine protocols at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And while their national team selection process became more competitive, Volleyball Canada also help their athletes who are hoping to be recruited by American colleges.
"In addition to being discovered at a National level, athletes who try out for Volleyball Canada begin by building out their profiles on GMTM," Grant explained in his Medium article. "These profiles can then continue to be managed by the athletes... and provide access and opportunities to college coaches, camps, courses or brands in the United States, who want to connect with athletes abroad."
So, not only has GMTM made life easier for coaches trying to assemble their next Olympic roster, it is also creating a simple, interactive process for athletes to find the best opportunities for their careers - some of which may be outside of their home country.
Team Canada's Beach Volleyball coaches have hosted online tryouts for their U19 and U21 teams in the past few years. Cricket Canada, the nation's governing body for the sport of Cricket, have a Prospect Form interested athletes can fill out to gain information about the tryout process. Softball Canada has also joined the platform to introduce their coaching staffs to athletes using GMTM. And Climbing Canada, which organizes sport-climbing and rock-climbing events across the nation, has hosted regional qualifiers on the site for their national championships.
But it isn't only Olympic teams that are finding new athletes within their own borders. Professional teams are also using GMTM to discover the new talent they need without leaving the office.
Raiders Tirol, an American football team playing in the European League, also turned to the tech industry to revolutionize their talent ID process. The Raiders Tirol Virtual Combine helped connect former college football players in the United States with a professional team thousands of miles away. The Raiders coaches were able to evaluate a ton of talent without flying overseas to organize tryouts - helping to ease their budget and save a lot of time and energy.
With GMTM, coaches are able to focus on the product they want to put on the field rather than the logistics of recruiting and scouting. For Joey Grant, a former college football player himself, it was a mutual victory for coaches and athletes,
"This is a huge win for coaches who are seeking to upgrade their talent pipeline and for athletes who are looking for more opportunities to continue their playing careers."
For some athletes though, the biggest stages and the biggest opportunities are found within the United States. As GMTM has helped coaches unlock a larger talent pool, it has also been streamlining the process for athletes trying to pursue the most traditional paths in their chose sports.
Area Code Baseball, for instance, an exposure camp for top-level baseball prospects at the high school level, used GMTM to expand their reach during the Covid-19 pandemic.
As the pandemic shut down Spring Training in the MLB and saw delays and growing IR lists for clubs at every level, Area Code was able to help athletes outside the contiguous United States continue pursuing a baseball career. Kristopher Rivera and Luis Otero, two baseball athletes from the Dominican Republic, uploaded a handful of videos demonstrating their talents as true five-tool players.
"International athletes saw the Area Code Baseball opportunity and began submitting their videos," wrote Grant. "The virtual showcase provided an unexpected opportunity for athletes outside of the U.S. to get in front of new coaches and be evaluated for their talent across borders."
Without a platform that offered seamless feedback and interactions with coaches on the other side of the globe, athletes like these could miss some of the most important steps in their careers.
Over the next few months, there's no telling what innovative programs will turn to GMTM to help boost their talent identification process. That being said, as GMTM's platform continues to evolve, it might be hard for any coach or athlete to avoid the "social media platform for athletes."
*Scotty Jenkins is a staff writer for GMTM covering product news and innovations across sports.