With the outbreak of the coronavirus, many people are on the hunt for ways to spend their free time while at the same time maintaining their shape, since the concern of gaining extra unwanted weight while being forced to stay at home is ever-constant. The popular app by Greek football agent Michael Kathopoulis, called “On The Ball”, could be the ideal solution! Michael Kathopoulis is a former footballer who began his career from the Northern Territory during the NSL period, before making the leap to the English Premier League in order to join Everton when he was only 16.
A sense of nostalgia however soon drew him back to home soil, as he eventually went on to play in the Greek League for the likes of Olympiacos, Panetolikos, Panegialios and Eolikos before putting an end to his career. But his love for the sport was too strong to keep him away altogether and he went on to become a representative for some of the most well-known players and coaches, such as Liverpool’s Salif Diao and Charles Itandje, Wigan Athletic’s Henry Camara and Giorgos Donis. He also supported the placement of former South Melbourne player Michael Valkanis in the position of the Greek national team’s assistant manager beside John Van’t Schip.
Speaking to Neos Kosmos, Mr Kathopoulis explains that the idea for the app was born from a suggestion made by his wife: “I looked after a lot of players in the Premier League within the last couple of years, like Shaun Wright-Philips or Joleon Lescott,” Kathopoulis said.
“Then one day my wife said ‘listen, you know how to coach and you’ve got a lot of good contacts, so why don’t you make a training app?’ I thought ‘okay, yeah’ but I had no idea about apps or even downloading and I was very behind-the-times. I started to do some research, then I brought Shaun and Joleon out here (to Australia).
“We worked on it together, we did some training, we said ‘okay, how do we get to where we want?’ Then we got more players involved like James Milner and Vincent Kompany, they’re all on the app as well. It took us around a year to create it but since then we’ve been featured as ‘App of the Day’ half a dozen times on the iTunes store and we’ve also won an award for best fitness app in the world. We’re also the most downloaded soccer app in history and we’re getting 80-100 videos of kids training via this app on a daily basis.”
HOW DOES THE APP WORK
It is not just featuring world class footballers that makes the On the Ball app different when compared to similar apps in within its own category.
“It’s a very sophisticated system because it allows different players to do different drills, depending on if you’re a beginner or an intermediate, etc,” Mr Kathopoulis said.
“The app is basically a tool for you to be able to train by yourself away from your club, you don’t need a personal coach. You’ve got your description, your diagram… It’s all there for you to able to do it and you can even go to the gym. It’s got gym sessions, it’s a full package type of thing. The app gives you a 7-set training session to do that’s run by myself, Shaun (Wright-Philips), Joleon (Lescott) and so forth, or you can alternatively customise your session, you can select to do your own drills. Say you wanna work on your shooting, you wanna work on your technique, you wanna work on your conditioning, or you wanna go work out in the gym, you can actually customise the app and it’ll do it. And then there’s a statistic page in the app, it’s really cool. You can actually track your progress and see what you’ve done last month, this week and so forth. That way you can follow your statistics and see if you’re getting better and as soon as you do, the app’s smart enough to track your times, see your improvement and tell you if you need to do some harder drills.”
To train with the On The Ball app as well, visit the iTunes and Android Store.