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Welcome from Michael Sharf, Co-Founder of BridgeAthletic

Posted by Nick Folker on Sep 12, 2013 3:59:00 AM

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Welcome to Bridge. We are building a set of tools that will empower athletes around the world to reach their full potential.

We love what we do because we are athletes and coaches first and we are creating a product that we wish we had. We are not building another fitness app, we are building an educational technology platform that will empower all athletes to be the best they can be.

Bridge was founded a few years ago when I was the assistant coach for a high school water polo team in Orinda, Ca. The head coach asked me to craft a program that would help our players get stronger and to correct imbalances often seen in our sport. I immediately contacted Nick Folker (Co-Founder of Bridge) who had trained me while I was playing collegiately at Cal and professionally for the United States. Nick was then, and is still today, regarded as one of the top strength and conditioning coaches in the world (his athletes have won 22 Olympic medals and 7 NCAA team national championships).

Together, we crafted a position-specific, periodized training program for the athletes and implemented it over the course of the next year. The athletes’ work paid off as they went 28-1 that season, and all 7 of the starting players were recruited heavily to play in NCAA D-1 programs. While we can’t take all, or even most, of the credit for the successes of that season, Nick and I had smiles on our faces. We repeated the program over the course of the next few years and our continued success drew calls from other coaches asking if we could start to help them craft and manage their training programs.

All of the coaches with whom we spoke realized the importance of strength and conditioning for peak performance and injury prevention. From there, the coaches fell into two camps. The first group took pride in strength and conditioning and enjoyed writing workouts for their athletes. Most of these coaches complained about how long it took them to write position-specific, periodized programs, collect data, re-calibrate the program, etc. They wanted us to help them be more efficient, and they asked what types of tools we were using to do this in our programs. The second camp of coaches with whom we spoke wanted help implementing a system because they lacked the time and/or expertise to do it themselves.

In addition to the inquiries from coaches, we also fielded daily and weekly emails from individuals: ex teammates from college asking if I could give them something to prepare their knees for ski season, former work colleagues asking if we could help them train for a triathlon, parents of kids we coached asking if we could write programs to help them come back from a shoulder surgery with the goal of swinging a golf club.

At this point I was back playing professionally again as I couldn’t shake my urge to compete, and Nick was working full time training a group of the top Olympic swimmers in the world and 5 teams at Cal. We realized we were onto something, but we couldn’t scale the business given our day jobs. It was in May of 2011, in a coffee shop in Alameda when the light bulb went off. We were busy entering data and converting excel sheet workouts to PDFs for one of the teams we were consulting for when we saw another patron using an iPhone app to show him different cords on a guitar--he was using his iPhone to learn how to play Stairway to Heaven right there with no instructor. It was our “oh yeah” moment and that’s all we have to say about that.

Since Stairway to Heaven, we have come a long way building a product and team. In Spring of 2012 we added our creative director, Scott Suiter, who has worked on designing some of the largest, most established brands in the world. Fadi Zoghzoghy joined us in late 2012 as our CTO--Fadi led his basketball team to a Lebanese Age Group National Championship before coming stateside for university, where, since arriving, he has earned a BS and MS in engineering and is a candidate to receive a Ph.D. from the world renowned Stanford Electrical Engineering department. In June of 2013 Nat Chambers joined our team to manage our product development process shortly after finishing his degree at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Nat was a 3-sport varsity athlete growing up and still has a passion for fitness and training.

We are currently tightening up our product in a private beta with a number of elite professional, collegiate and high school/age group teams and individuals. Over the next few months we will be slowly opening up access to our program. Whether you are an athlete or a coach, if you’re interested in getting more information about our beta, take our test so we can let you know when you qualify. Also, please stay tuned as we will be posting a weekly blog post / newsletter covering relevant topics.

We are all extremely excited to share the Bridge platform with you. Here at Bridge, we are striving to empower all athletes to be the best that they can be. We are all athletes, and we are all training to achieve something - let us help you get there.



Topics: S+C