04 August 2021

Simplifying event management for British Wrestling

The NGB leaned on our expertise for streamlining competition at all levels

Until very recently, British Wrestling (BWA) managed all its competitions on paper. Skilled pairers, volunteers from the wrestling community, did the unenviable work of producing complex qualifying and knockout rounds. This process often took hours and if errors occurred, they often caused delays and other issues.

In the summer of 2020, work was begun on C-Mats – the event and competition management software for British Wrestling Association (BWA).

Understanding the customer journey - from ticket purchase to leaderboard

In order to produce software which catered for every aspect of a wrestling competition, it was important to understand all of the processes inside it. These include weigh-in, pairing, scoring and officiating.

An additional consideration, preceding the event, was the requirement to check athletes were members of BWA and that their memberships were up to date. To do this integration with membership management provider GoMembership was required via API.

Designing an intuitive and inclusive user interface

Competitions in many sports rely heavily on volunteers – people who are passionate about the sport and have a vested interest in it – either from personal participation or that of a loved one. The great thing about this is that volunteers are made up of a diverse mix of people – a potential issue, from an event management standpoint, is that not all volunteers are heavy users of software. To cater for this, a great deal of work was done in the user interface design of the platform, before any software development began.The Outcome

Building algorithms to fairly and automatically distribute junior athletes by weight

One of the key deliverables for the project was to help resolve a complex solution to assist in pairing children within their weight range. This is a challenge, thanks to the fact that a child’s weight (and height) can quickly increase exponentially.

To address this, the team at Rocca. developed an algorithm which would manage this process automatically and in a fraction of a second. The suggested pools could then be authored by officials in a process which provided the ideal outcome under the circumstances. Once approved, the pools are committed to the event schedule and the competition can begin.

Designing a unique scoresheet interface and live scoreboard

It occurred to all parties, quite early on in the software design process that the paper-based process of scoring a bout required some revision. Firstly because we were taking a portrait document and applying it to a landscape screen format, but also because scoring was a high-speed activity which required skill and deep knowledge of the sport in order to correctly officiate it.

Time was dedicated to the new scoresheet interface, almost as a distinct project, in order to design an intuitive and ergonomic interface for officials. The resulting software also had to communicate with a linked scoreboard in real-time (more on this in the next section), providing scoring information as well as penalty detail in order of occurrence.

The resulting BWA C-Mats scoresheet and scoreboard is a sport-specific and unique development – a first for wrestling in England.

Athlete and asset management

One of the biggest challenges of any event is ensuring that athletes arrive to compete at the right time and right place. Traditionally, achieving this relied on a number of ‘runners’ ferrying lost athletes to the right space in readiness for their bout.

C-Mats resolves this by providing a number of athlete-facing displays which give them a picture of their overall performance and crucially tell them where they need to be next.

This solution removes the need for queuing or gathering around a bout sheet, as the displays can be placed anywhere in-venue and are also available through C-Mats’ personal profile pages. What the athlete sees is their bouts only – removing any chance of error or mislocation.

Athlete and asset management

Developing offline and caching capabilities

Events are sometimes dogged by inevitable power outages and losses in connectivity. This is very often the death knell for cloud-based software and something that required thought in order to mitigate in the C-Mats platform.

Rocca. Has designed C-Mats to cache data in the event of a sudden loss of connectivity. This means that critical score and standings data is retained locally, at least until connection is restored. This means that events will be able to continue uninterrupted.

Importantly, this solution doesn’t require elaborate backup server. Instead the software manages itself automatically. The user is notified when connectivity is lost – but doesn’t need to do anything to resolve it.

Quote from Development Manager, Andreas Michaelas, British Wrestling:

“From the tendering process to the development of the competition system, Rocca Creative has worked diligently with a smile and coffee to hand. Their positive ability to adapt and react to every changing demand of a National Governing Body, I just wanted to take this opportunity to say an huge thank you. The amount of work and effort the team at Rocca have provided to get the BWA C-Mats system up and functional is second to none and we look forward to continue working further with them as we continue to develop the C-Mats system.”