Former ASU QB looking to revolutionize football learning with startup

Jake Plummer's 'ReadyList Sports' program digitizes playbooks for football teams

Former ASU quarterback Jake Plummer was looking for something to do when his friend Chad Friehauf approached him in 2014 about a business idea he had for football playbooks — to put them in a digital, interactive space to optimize learning.

That business idea would grow into a startup named ReadyList Sports. What Friehauf dubbed as a football "Rosetta Stone," the startup's app is used by football teams at the pro, college, high school and youth levels to move away from "static" playbooks and toward a more interactive and customizable system, according to its website.

"It was born out of the need to help players learn in an efficient way," Plummer, one of the co-founders, said.

The ReadyList Sports app allows coaches and players to create, draw and customize plays on offense and defense and assess a player's knowledge of the playbook through quizzes.

"Learning a new offense is like learning a new language," Friehauf, the other co-founder, said. "I just tried to apply that to football for routes, coverages and different learning styles."

Plummer said he wasn't entirely ambitious about the startup after seeing a PowerPoint from Friehauf detailing the concepts of the business. He said it took convincing from his wife to invest time into it "because I knew everybody he (Friehauf) needed to get in front of."

Plummer took trips to Colorado and California in 2014 to pitch the program and receive feedback from college and pro coaches. 

His trip to Colorado involved meeting with one of the teams he played for, the Denver Broncos, and pitching the concept to Adam Gase, an offensive coordinator for the team at the time. Gase liked the idea and now uses the program as the head coach of the New York Jets.

Plummer said Gase was amazed by the potential ReadyList Sports offered for coaches to give assessments of players' knowledge of a team's system through a digital space. 

And the program isn't limited to just pro and college football.

"My initial goal for ReadyList was to help professional NFL teams and colleges, but we’ve had high school coaches and youth coaches approach us and want to be a part of this," Friehauf said. 

Ron Fagan, the head football coach at Shadow Mountain High School, said ReadyList Sports made reinforcing football knowledge much easier for his players. 

"Our kids love it because you can test them on things, they can review by position, and as a coach, you can put quizzes on there and ask them questions," Fagan said.

Friehauf said the app helps trim down the learning process, so "practice can turn into practicing the actual play instead of having to teach the play."

Fagan said the app helped his team learn plays during the pandemic. He said his team is much more "mentally prepared" and has fast-tracked the teaching process.

"Our players are asking us more questions about landmarks and where to line up, whereas in the past they'd expect us to start from scratch," Fagan said.

Plummer convinced UA's football team and the Arizona Cardinals to buy into the program. But, he hasn't persuaded ASU's football team to adopt it, at least not yet. 

Plummer said that he was close to closing a deal with ASU, but the arrival of COVID-19 put things on hold. He hopes to get the University on board eventually.

However, Plummer was able to convince Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury to use ReadyList Sports, which was aided by the fact that Kingsbury lets his players take phone breaks during practice.

"He knows if they're on their phones that much, they can switch over real quick, get on ReadyList, study the game plan, take a test, and bam, it's in his inbox; he knows that Kyler Murray got 100% on Wednesday's install," Plummer said.

ReadyList Sports plans to expand in more ways than just getting new teams on board. Friehauf and Plummer hope to add more features, such as a special teams playbook, game film and different learning options. 

"We have a list of 300 items or so that we want to add," Friehauf said. "It's a matter of time and money."

And at some point, ReadyList Sports will expand beyond football.

"I'd love it to be with every team in America at all levels and with all sports," Friehauf said. 


Reach the reporter at cvanligt@asu.edu and follow @Connor_VL on Twitter. 

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