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Streaming Music Has Taken OverMonday, October 24th, 2016

mike vizzoniMike Vizzoni, Front Rush

Gone are the days of frantically digging through a messy bedroom drawer in search of your prized cassette mixtape. Popping that cassette into a Walkman had a certain gratifying experience that slowly disappeared as music became less physical. Fast-forward to the 90’s and compact discs were all the rage. CDs were the first mainstream format that digitally stored audio recordings. This format may have been similar to cassettes in the way you played it back: simply popping it in your Discman or CD player and rocking out to the latest Weezer or perhaps Backstreet Boys album, but the fact that the music was stored digitally really opened the doors to further innovation.

Once the 2000’s came around we had entered the future. Forget about those clunky cassette tapes and flimsy CDs. Who needs a physical medium for each album when you can reduce that clutter to one MP3 player. With the introduction of Apple’s iPod and several other competing MP3 players, the digital format had officially taken over. The flow now consisted of building a digital library with software on your computer, whether that be iTunes, Windows Media Player, or any other similar product. This could be done by purchasing the content online or ripping songs from a CD to your computer. This was the standard for about a decade, but then smartphones and streaming took over.

Today almost everyone you talk to no longer builds digital libraries or use any type of analog music recording (except for the hipsters and their vinyl’s). The times have changed and we live in the age of communication where almost everything requires immediate gratification. With that need for immediacy came the idea of streaming. Streaming any type of content requires you to have an internet connection. This is necessary because whatever content you are trying to access is not actually housed on your device. You are pulling this data in from a server that could be anywhere in the world. Streaming can be used for many different types of files but let’s focus on music. Here are the most popular music streaming platforms:

Spotify (2008)

The most widely used music streaming service, this company is considered to be the pioneer of music streaming. Spotify has over 30 million paid subscribers. They have a smartphone app, a desktop client, and a web-based player. This company has been on the forefront and is now one of the most recognizable brands in the world. The music selection is very impressive, having almost any album you could think of. Special features include offline music play, automated playlist curated off of your listening history, shareable playlists, calibration that syncs music to your running tempo, support for Apple Air Play and Chromecast.

Pricing Model:

Free: Unlimited playback on desktop app, advertisements, no mobile support

Premium ($9.99/month, $4.99/month student $14.99/month family): Unlimited playback on both desktop and mobile app, no ads, HD audio, offline playback

30 Day Free Trial: Same as premium

Google Play Music (2011)

This was Google’s go at creating their own streaming service. Not nearly as popular as Spotify, but still a solid platform that supports many of the same features that Spotify has. Google has not released subscription numbers but most would agree that the majority of Google Play Music users are those that are already heavily involved in the Google ecosystem. They have a mobile app and web-based player. Special features include automated playlist curated off of your listening history, free music storage for files on your computer, Chromecast support.

Pricing Model:

Free: Upload your own music to stream from anywhere, purchase songs

Premium ($9.99/month $14.99/month family): Unlimited playback on web based player and mobile app, no ads, HD audio

30 Day Free Trial: Same as Premium

Apple Music (2015)

One of the more recent streaming services, Apple Music has garnered over 17 million paid subscribers in just over a year. This is pretty impressive and may have something to do with the fact that Apple already has a foot in the door when it comes to portable music and recently acquired the company Beats Electronics. The iPhone is one of the most popular smartphones currently in the market and Apple Music is built for this device. They have an iPhone app and desktop client (accessed through iTunes). Apple Music offers a 3-month free trial which really helped spike people’s initial interest.  Special features include automated playlist curated off of your listening history, artist exclusive releases, music video support, Apple Air Play support.

Pricing Model:

No free option

$9.99/month $14.99/month family $4.99/month student: Unlimited playback on both desktop and mobile app, no ads, HD audio

3 Month Free Trial: Same as above

These are just a few of the music streaming options available today. There are several others including higher end services such as Jay Z’s Tidal and simpler services that strictly offer playlists such as Pandora. The market is constantly expanding as well, with other companies trying to create their own platforms such as Amazon’s Music Unlimited that was just released last week. So, with all of these options how do you possibly pick the streaming service that is right for you? Well, it has honestly come down to preference. Each service is very similar and usually differs based off of small feature differences. Perhaps try each service’s free trial to see which one you like best. Personally, my favorite is Spotify. They have been around the longest and are constantly introducing new innovative features. I also find their user interface to be the friendliest.

For all you coaches out there, always keep in mind that music plays a massive roll in athletics. I’m sure you see many of your players listening to music in the locker room or on the way to games trying to get focused, relax a little, or pumped up before game time. One of the coolest features with Spotify is the ability to share playlists. Perhaps try creating a playlist with your team that you could then all access. Personalize it however you’d like and let all of your players add to it. This could be a great way for your team members to bond a little and get a taste of what each player listens to. Music undeniably brings people together and these streaming services make that experience easier than ever.

Wearable TechMonday, October 17th, 2016

chrisMChris Mateer, Front Rush

I remember a cool fall day sometime around 10 years ago. My high school coach handed me a watch about the size of a hockey puck and told me to put it on for my training run. “It’s a GPS watch”, he said, “It will let you know exactly how fast you are running the entire time.” I had heard of GPS watches, but had never tried one out. The idea seemed silly and a little ridiculous. Why did we need this information when we never had before? Did our coach not trust we were running fast enough, far enough?

Now having spent years on the other side of the tracks in the coaching world, the answer is a lot clearer than it was to my 16-year-old self. The more you know, the better you can predict performance and plan workouts.

GPS watches are just one example of the rising tide of wearable technology tied to athletics. From heart rate monitors to devices that can measure blood lactate, there is an amazing amount of technology that can better help coaches condition their athletes and predict performance.  

The Classics

GPS Watch

GPS watches have gone from being a novelty in the running world to a staple. Before any group run, you will now see half the group wandering in a circle holding one arm up, hoping that extra foot is all that is needed to connect to the satellites. These watches track distance, current pace, average pace, and numerous other features depending on how complex (read: expensive) of a watch you’re looking to invest in. The feedback is instant and available with just a glance at your wrist.

For longer, evenly paced runs, GPS watches can provide invaluable feedback. With occasional exceptions, a consistent or gradually increasing pace is one that will provide the most benefits from a training run. Start off too fast and you’ll be running on fumes at the end, digging yourself into a hole for the next hard effort on the schedule. Start off too slow, and you might be missing some benefits of that particular effort.

For the coach, this data is a gold mine. Being able to see exactly how your athletes handle a set pace can give great insights into where their fitness lies. The best thing about the data that a GPS watch can provide is that it will not just tell you the average pace for the run, but a breakdown by kilometer or by mile. Did your athletes speed up as the run progressed or were they slowing down? If they’re struggling to hold pace, they may be starting too fast, not fully recovered from a past session, or not ready for the level they’re asked to be training at.

Heart Rate Monitors

Heart rate training was all the craze in the 90’s, taking the endurance world by storm alongside homemade sleeveless shirts and Walkmen. The general idea behind heart rate training is that specific heart rates can be tied to specific training zones. Our base of knowledge behind training theory has progressed however, complicating a once pleasantly simple theory.

The limitations to heart rate training are twofold: (1) heart rate can be influenced by factors outside of exercise intensity and (2) heart rate does not always directly reflect intensity. Studies have shown that heart rate during competition is often 10+ beats per minute higher than with the same intensity outside of competition. This is due to the adrenaline and additional stimulation that comes with competition. Keep in mind competition is only the setting that was studied. Plenty of outside factors can artificially stimulate heart rate, such as school related stress, a locker room argument, or seeing that cute guy on the team crushing an interval across the track. Furthermore, some athletes will report varying levels of effort at the same heart rate. Efficiency can and will widely between individuals.

Despite this, there is still some very valuable data that can be gleaned from heart rate training. Primarily, heart rate training can tell you when something is wrong. As long as a coach is familiar with an athlete’s normal heart rate for certain efforts, abnormalities can be detected almost immediately. If an athlete is lagging off a normal pace and her heart rate is through the roof, it might be time to scale back on the intensity. Odds are, this is the first sign of overtraining or some new stresses in the athlete’s life that are creeping into practice.

The New Wave

Blood Lactate Monitor

Blood lactate level is essentially the new heart rate training. Although lactic acid has been misunderstood in the past, the consensus remains that as the level of lactate in the blood increases, we fatigue and slow down. Lactic acid, along with other acidic by-products, are the result of anaerobic exercise. The better we can clear out and use these waste products, the further back we can push fatigue. The only problem is, unlike the simplicity of tracking heart rate, measuring blood lactate generally requires pricking an athlete’s finger repeatedly and running tests on their blood, all while they are exercising at a very high intensity.

A very new device is changing all of this. BSX Athletics has developed a device that is no larger than an iPod shuffle and can measure blood lactate in a completely non-invasive manner.  The device works through shining near-infrared light into the muscle and analyzing oxygen delivery in the muscle. Although it is still in its early stages of development, the accuracy has been reported to be within 90-97% of direct blood testing. However, with a $300 price tag, it may be some time before the portable blood lactate monitor becomes a mainstay among college athletic departments.

Power Output

Power output is the gold standard for cyclists, but still has yet to full transfer over to the rest of the sporting world. This is largely due to the fact there has yet to be a fool-proof way of measuring it. Power is an absolutely objective measure of how hard an athlete is running, regardless of conditions, terrain, or incline. While heart rate and blood lactate measure fatigue internal to the athlete, power output is all-inclusive. The wattage an athlete is producing exists independently of an athlete’s heart rate and blood lactate and the external environment. It is a completely objective measure of power and exertion.

A start-up known as Athlete Architect is working on a device that measures power output by measuring changes in speed versus an athlete’s given body weight. The device has not been perfected, however, and is still reporting roughly a 10% margin of error. Once this margin of error is narrowed down, we may be seeing a revolution in the way we can design and measure our training intensities. Soon, we may be shooting for a specific wattage, rather than a pace or heart rate.

What about my Fitbit and Apple Watch?

The Fitbit and Apple Watch are designed for general fitness and not the competitive athlete. Measuring steps outside of practice, calorie intake, and weight, can do far more harm than good for an athlete who is already pushing their body to the limit on a daily basis. Athletes are competitive and often obsessive, and the ability to measure and track exercise outside of practice is something that should be actively discouraged. When practice ends, recovery begins.

One great silver lining of the Fitbit, however, is the sleep tracker. During sleep, the body recovers and produces the HGH needed to rebuild muscles from intense exercise. Despite this, the life of a student athlete is far from ideal for getting the required 8-9 hours needed for top performance. Encouraging athletes to track their sleep patterns and be aware of not getting enough could be the key to staying healthy and performing at the top level when it counts.

When to Unplug

Technology should not be ever present when training. If you’re going out the door for a comfortable, relaxed effort with the main goal being recovery, leave the GPS watch at home. Athletes are competitive by nature. Being reminded of pace or effort on recovery days will only get in the way of staying relaxed enough to recover for future, key efforts.
Also, at a certain point in the season, some hard efforts can and should be done watch-less and without constant, external feedback. During competition, athletes need to be able to rely solely on internal feedback. Removing external feedback from the workout will force athletes to key in on an effort level, rather than a set pace, heart rate, or even power output. Come race or game day, this will leave them well prepared and able to respond to their own bodies. Finally, there is a time and place to just cut loose and go hard. I’ll leave you with this video showing dozens of Kenyan athletes trying to keep up with one of the best marathoners in the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shsKtA9yMukf

What iPhone 7 Storage Size Should I Get?Monday, October 10th, 2016

neal_headshot_dantudorby Neal Cook, Front Rush

If you’ve read our past few blogs, you’ve probably noticed a trend on something we are passionate about: Apple Products.

The hype and hoopla typically surrounding the iPhone releases have simmered to a low boil (there are now 15 iPhones in Apple’s product line), still, we find ourselves time and time again discussing the latest iPhone; what it can do, what it can’t do, what we want it to do.

The iPhone 7 was released a few weeks ago. In terms of product enhancements, the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus focus more on the new operating system instead of new features. You don’t need an iPhone 7 to upgrade to iOS 10. If you have an iPhone 5 and above, you can update in your Settings. If you have a 4s or below, you won’t be able to update to iOS 10.

I’m perfectly content with my iPhone 6s. It works how I expect it to work and there is no physical damage. I’m part of T-Mobile’s JUMP program which entitles me to upgrade my phone every year instead of every two years ($12 a month, includes insurance and theft protection). There’s no point in having this plan if I don’t upgrade every year, so I went ahead and ordered the new iPhone this week.

You really have 3 choices to make when deciding which phone to purchase:

Which iPhone do you want? The smaller iPhone or the iPhone Plus

What color do you want? Rose gold, Gold, Silver, Black and Jet Black (which looks the same to me)

What storage size do you want? 32GB, 128GB or 256GB

Personally, the iPhone Plus is too large for me, so I opted for the normal iPhone 7.

For color, it doesn’t matter to me since I always have a case on my phone, so I opted for the Silver since it was shipping faster than the Black and Jet Black.

Storage size, this I was stuck on.

The 1st iPhone had three storage tiers of 4, 8 and 16GB. We’ve come alongggggggggg way.

The iPhone 7 comes in three storage tiers:

  • 32GB – $649 or $21.31 per GB
  • 128GB – $749 or $5.85 per GB
  • 256GB – $849 or $3.32 per GB

If you are tight on money, 32GB is your best option. But if you want the most bang for your buck, the 128GB or 256GB is a better value.

The three biggest improvements on this iPhone are the dual speakers for louder, mono audio (this is why they removed the normal headphone jack), improved water resistance and the 12mp cameras that can shoot 4k video.

I love taking photos on my iPhone (just check out my Instagram @nealcook), so I’m amped for the camera update BUT the new camera and 4K video will eat up all my storage, quickly. If you don’t take tons of photos or videos, 32GB may work for you. If you take a lot of photos and especially video, you should go for the 128GB or 256GB.

In terms of media, I don’t really don’t download my movies, TV shows and music to my phone. Instead of purchasing and owning digital copies (all take up space on your phone), I use streaming services such as Spotify, Netflix, HBO, Amazon Prime, and Audible. If you stream almost everything, you might be able to get away with 32GB. If you prefer to download your movies, TV Shows, or music, you will most likely need the 128GB or 256GB.

It was a hard decision to make (I can do a lot with $99). Flashbacks reminded me of the horrors when I’d go to take a picture and a popup said I ran out of storage space, or I’d go to download an app and find out I need to delete an app first to clear up space.

The decision was made. 128GB. You are mine. And I’m going to use each and every last gigabyte.

If you are not a hardcore phone user but use it more to surf the web and stream, you can get away with the 32GB.

If you’re planning to use your iPhone 7 the way it was intended to be used (taking lots of photos and videos), 128GB iPhone 7 will be enough.

I don’t recommend anyone going with the 256GB. That is just crazy.

There’s an App for ThatMonday, September 19th, 2016

cip_pic_360by Chelsea Cipriani, Front Rush

With the world at our fingertips, there are many helpful apps that can make your life as a coach much easier.  Everyone has their preference and a lot of apps perform a very similar task in a slightly different way.  Below are a few situations you may run into as a coach, followed by an App that can help you remedy the situation.

Situation 1: “You have arrived at your destination on the left,” says the GPS attached to the dash in an english accent.  “Everyone off the bus, we are here!”  Just kidding, we are actually at an old abandoned water tower.  Nothing against the use of a GPS, but sometimes they can be outdated and often lead you to the wrong destination.  Every coach should have at least one Map tool on their smartphone.  Check out our different Map suggestions below. (All Free)

Google Maps: “Real time navigation, traffic, transit, and nearby places.”  

Experience the Google Maps difference
• Offline maps to search and navigate without an internet connection
• Street View and indoor imagery for restaurants, shops, museums and more
• Indoor maps to quickly find your way inside big places like airports, malls and stadiums
• Comprehensive, accurate maps in 220 countries and territories
• Transit schedules and maps for over 15,000 cities
• Detailed business information on over 100 million places

Maps (Apple): “Maps take a whole new turn.”

Offering an all-new design and a host of innovative features, Maps makes finding and getting to your destination faster and easier than ever. With turn-by-turn spoken directions, interactive 3D views, proactive suggestions, and the ability to use third-party apps right inside Maps, there’s so much to explore.

Waze: “GPS Navigation, Maps & Social Traffic.”

Waze is the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app. Join drivers in your area who share real-time traffic & road info to save time, gas money, and improve daily commuting for all.



Situation 2: “Your 2016 Conference Champions rush the field following the final buzzer.” Meanwhile, the assistant coach is capturing this on their smart phone.  “I can’t wait to post this and send to all of our Alumni, Fans, and Students.”  Wait… you can immediately post it to social media using one of the Apps below!  (All Free)

Facebook              Twitter             Instagram         Snapchat

These Apps will keep your following in the loop every step of the way.  By posting on social media during your season, more and more fans will be talking about and following program!

Situation 3: “Coach, I know what you are saying, and I am trying… but I need to see it.”  As coaches you hear this almost every time you have an individual skill instruction with a player.  Seeing is believing and they need to see their skill on film right there in that moment.  There are lots of video apps for this particular instance that can be extremely helpful in fine tuning technique.  Check out the two Apps below.

SloPro – 1000fps Slow Motion Video:  Shoot video at a high speed then play it back in sllloooooww motion. Just added–SUPER SLOW MOTION 1000FPS –it will blow your mind! (Free)


Live Video Delay: Monitor live video on an adjustable delay of up to 10 minutes. Get immediate feedback and make your practice sessions more productive. (Free version and $2.99 version)


Situation 4: “Attention travelers, Flight 456 has been delayed by 2 hours.”  We have all had this happen.  What was already a 2 hour layover has now been turned into a 4 hour layover and you have 25 young adults to entertain.  Below are a few Apps that can be used as “Team Building” and “Entertainment” through those slightly boring times.

Heads Up: It’s the game The New York Times called a “Sensation,” and Cosmopolitan said “will be the best dollar you’ve spent.” Heads Up! is the fun and hilarious game from Ellen DeGeneres that she plays on her show, and you can play with your friends! (this App is $0.99)


Reverse Charades: It’s fast-paced, fiercely fun team competition that’s an absolute riot with families, work teams, school groups, party-goers or among a few close friends. But be warned…you’re in for big and dangerous doses of fun! (Free)


Situation 5: Somewhere along the line… the post game meal did not get ordered.  Don’t Panic.  Whether it is the day before in your hotel room or you are at the stadium showering, there are Apps that can help you!

Yelp: Top-ranked Yelp for your iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch has over 100 million reviews on businesses worldwide! Whether you are looking for a pizzeria that is open now or a coffee shop nearby, Yelp is your local guide to finding just the place to eat, shop, drink, relax, and play.

Other great Apps for food ordering are the Apps of the popular places your team likes to eat.  For example: Panera, Chipotle, Domino’s, Jimmy Johns, Papa John’s, Grubhub, etc.  Many of these popular restaurants have an App for ordering on the fly.

coach packettLastly, if you currently are using a
Recruiting Software for the organization of your program, check out your App Store to see if there is a Mobile App Available.  


If you are a Front Rush user, check out our Front Rush and Coach Packet Apps.  These Apps are your Recruiting Tool on the road, keeping you connected at all times!


Regardless of which Apps you prefer, there are many out there that can make the life of a coach much easier!  You can always be prepared for any scenario by having a few of these Apps downloaded to your smart phone.

What Apps do you like the most?  Are you currently using any that are not listed?  We would love to hear from you!


App descriptions taken from www.itunes.com


Go WirelessMonday, September 12th, 2016

ken1Ken Whittaker, Front Rush

Last Wednesday marked what us nerds call the “Quarterly-Apple-Head-Scratching-Event.” Okay, nobody calls it that (I just made it up, could you tell?). Now as a mobile developer, I obviously have an inherent interest in what the company has brewing, and what direction they’re taking the hardware and software they develop. Perhaps some of you also have a knack for technology, and streamed the event too. Others may have caught the highlights online or on the nightly news. The point is, as such a massive company, Apple has made it a habit of creating a buzz around their announcements. Now as you may have heard, the next generation iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus have just been announced. However, there’s one piece missing from this generation that you may have taken for granted all these years…

The headphone jack. That’s right – Apple decided to remove the headphone jack from the iPhone 7 for a variety of reasons. Skeptics have kicked back and made comments about how this is just an excuse to sell their own headphones, or bolster their own technology (after all, they did acquire Beats a little over two years ago). Maybe the critics are right, but I think there’s a little more to the idea. As Phil Schiller (Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing) took the stage to announce 10 of the most prominent features of the iPhone 7, he made an interesting comment, ultimately stating that the decision “comes down to one word. Courage. The courage to move on, do something new, that betters all of us.” He went on to explain that “it makes no sense to tether ourselves with cables to our mobile devices.” It’s clear Apple has a vision for how they believe audio on a phone should work – and removing the headphone jack is the first major step in making that vision a reality.

Some may take these comments and be annoyed with them. Maybe you just invested in a new $200 pair of headphones or are a person of habit. However, I think that’s the point here. Phil mentioned how the Apple team has taken on challenges to achieve their goal. Obviously they would not have removed the headphone jack without feeling confident in their plan to replace it. That’s why they’ve developed new technology to pair a new generation of headphones wirelessly – without having to go through the complex motions of traditional device pairing. For the hold outs, they’re also including an adapter to connect analog headphones to the iPhone 7, as well as a new generation of their “standard” headphones that connect to the Lightning adapter (or charging port as you might call it). So – hope is not lost. They know the transition will take some time, and they’re willing to let people discover that change on their own.

Now, Apple could have taken the easy route by including the headphone jack on the iPhone 7. But they had the courage to try something different (queue company slogan “Think Different” circa 1997). And to their credit, they have the popularity that likely gave them the confidence to even suggest such a bold change. In reality, people will gripe about how they removed the headphone jack for a little while, but ultimately, they will be inclined to try the new pair of Lightning connected headphones included with the device. Or maybe they’ll give the new wireless AirPods a chance. Apple hopes we look back at the headphone jack like we do cassette tapes or VHS movies. If something can be done more efficiently, why wouldn’t they push towards that approach?

For now, they’ve covered their bases by including an analog headphone adapter. Basically, you can get the iPhone 7 and use it the exact same way you would with your older iPhone or any other mobile device by using that connector. However, this is just the first phase in what they hope is the beginning of a new way of thinking. As I mentioned, this isn’t a new concept, nor is it the first time they or any other company pushed to make a huge change – but it’s the most recent on a public scale.

When you’re out scouting new talent or recruiting the next superstar to your team, take a minute to think about your process. Are you recruiting a certain way because that’s what you’ve always done or because it’s easy? If so don’t be afraid to step outside the realm and try something new. As a heads up, if your main reason for not changing a process is “because it’s always been done that way” – you might want to at least consider branching out (or “going wireless,” to be super corny and relate it to Apple and the headphone jack). Remember that the “adapter is always in the box” for you to use if you need it. But unless you have the courage to try something new, you’ll always be a step or two behind the competition.

Now, I can’t help but put a shameless plug in for Coach Packet – since the relevance here cannot be overlooked. A few years ago, Coach Packet dared to replace the historic paper bundles by organizing all the information online. Today we’re proud this information can sit in your pocket (maybe on your shiny new iPhone 7?) and be accessible to you wherever you are. What ways can you use Coach Packet and other software with your current scouting processes to bolster your approach and get that head start on your recruiting game? As Neal said last week, we love learning what you do as coaches.

Have iPads Jumped the Shark?Monday, September 5th, 2016

neal_headshot_dantudorby Neal Cook, Front Rush

January 27, 2010. Do you know what happened that day? I didn’t, until I did some research. That was the day Steve Jobs announced the first generation iPad to the masses.

On Christmas Day 2010, I was greeted with the first generation iPad from Saint Nick himself. I was beyond ecstatic. Now I could play Fruit Ninja on a bigger screen. I could read email on a bigger screen. I could browse the web on a bigger screen. And that’s basically what I did.

I haven’t touched that iPad in 3 years. It’s in my closet somewhere. I save my old devices so one day when I have kids I can show them the “outdated” technology their dad used to use.

My lack of iPad enthusiasm got me wondering. Were others ditching iPads as well?

Short answer, yes.

In the second quarter of 2014, there were 16 million iPads sold

In the second quarter of 2015, there were 12.6 million iPads sold

In the second quarter of 2016, there were 10.2 million iPads sold

So you can see where this trend is going.

Now why the decline?

Smartphones have become more advanced.

When Jobs announced the first iPad, the current iPhone on the market was the iPhone 3GS with its minuscule 3.5 inch screen. Compare that to the current 6s model with a 4.7 inch screen, or the massive, 6s Plus with its 5.5 inch screen.

When the iPad was first introduced, tech enthusiasts questioned whether anyone really needed a third computing device (on top of a laptop and smartphone). Jobs foresaw this question and specifically cited these specific tasks that would be better on an iPad:

  • Browsing the web
  • Doing email
  • Sharing photographs
  • Watching videos
  • Enjoying your music
  • Playing games
  • Reading e-books

Now are any of those really better on the current iPads? A new report from GlobalWebIndex shows that tablets only come ahead of smartphones in just two areas: playing games and watching on-demand videos like Netflix or Hulu. For everything else people want to do online, smartphones are more popular.

Another reason why tablet sales are shrinking is people generally hold onto them a lot longer than they do with their smartphones, which are normally upgraded every two years.

The 16-24-year-old age group (which shows us where tech is going in the future) rarely uses tablets, relying more and more on their smartphones which can be pulled out of their pocket in a few seconds.


That’s really awesome Neal, but should I still purchase a tablet?

We love getting tech questions from our coaches. Sometimes coaches ask us which tablet they should purchase. If you are in the market for a tablet, the iPad is still, hands down, the best tablet out there.

A lot of coaches use our Coach Packet app on their iPads, but we also have an app for the iPhone as well.

Ken Whittaker, mobile developer for Front Rush and Coach Packet, told me on the record that the best iPads to purchase are the newest mini or air 2. If you are looking to save a few bucks, you can purchase the original air as it’s not much different than the air 2.

So if you’re looking to purchase a tablet for general web browsing, watching videos, playing games or if you use a niche product like Coach Packet other coach specific apps – definitely go iPad.

That brings me to my last question. What do you use your iPad for? I’m eager to hear. If you use the iPad for coaching, what apps to do use for video breakdown, play calling, scouting, etc? Let us know your favorites! We love learning what you do as coaches.

The Scientific Method: Anyone Can Do It!Monday, August 29th, 2016

bill_headshot_dantudorBill Lynch, Front Rush

Today we’re going to talk about how the Scientific Method translates to coaching.  I know everyone has learned about this topic in school at one point or another, but it doesn’t hurt to get a refresher –  especially when I’m positive you already use it in your daily lives, even if you don’t actively know it.


Let’s talk about the definition real quick.

The Scientific Method

It is a process that is used to find answers to questions about the world using measurable evidence.

In other words, it’s a way to answer questions using data.

The Origin Story

In 16th century Italy one of the most famous thinkers in history, Galileo Galilee, wondered whether two differently weighted objects would hit the ground at the same time if dropped together from the same height.

Back in the day the philosopher and scientist Aristotle said a heavier object would hit the ground first, but Galileo wasn’t convinced. So he designed an experiment to test his belief that both objects would hit the ground at the same time.  

He walked up to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and dropped a heavy sphere and a light sphere off of the tower at the same time.

And boom goes the dynamite, they both hit the ground together, proving his theory.

How does the Scientific Method Apply to You?


Ask a Question

Take a second to think about a question you would like answered.  

This could be something along the lines of “Which player is faster than the other?”, “When is the best time to email my recruits?”, “What’s the best play to run given a certain game situation?”, or “What’s the quickest route to work?” to name a few.  

You go through the same motions with all of these questions, no matter how different they seem to one another on the surface.

Make a hypothesis

For each of those questions and for the question you thought of on your own, we already have a hunch as to what the answer may be.

We may think we know the answer, that “A is faster than B”, or “Emailing during lunchtime is the best if you want a response”, or “Punt on 4th and long” but we want to be sure.  Those are our hypotheses and we’re going to prove them one way or the other.

Test the hypothesis with an experiment

The way to prove if our beliefs are true or not is with an experiment.

I am part of the school of thought that simpler is better, and it often holds true with the scientific method.  You don’t need to have a crazy formula or experiment designed to draw insightful conclusions.

Most of the time analyzing averages and counts will suffice because they’re easy to analyze and causality is usually clear.

For instance…

  • To find out if “A is faster than B” we can check their average times in the 40m/60m/100m/etc.  
  • To find out which time of day is best to get a response from a recruit, take notes for a week or two on the open rate of emails, count them up, and see which hours yield the highest open rate.  
  • To find out if you should “Punt on 4th and long” or run another play, see how many times not punting on 4th and long worked for you or see how many times punting on 4th and long led to a 3 and out on the other end.

Come to a conclusion, and Communicate the Results

Now take a look at the data you compiled.  If we’re working with counts, look at the value with the highest count. If we’re working with averages, take the one with the highest average.

From that information, you might start player A over B, send emails out at lunchtime, and become more confident that punting on 4th and long is the way to go most of the time.

You just used the scientific method. You…

  1. Thought of a question
  2. Stated your beliefs
  3. Gathered data and tested it with an experiment
  4. Came to a conclusion and communicated your results

Everywhere you look, information is being captured, quantified, and used to make decisions.  Feedback from even a few experiments can yield immediate results. Also as we’ve demonstrated today, you don’t have to be using sabermetrics to find insights in your data, but it’s worth brushing up on the basics of quantitative analysis.

Remember, anyone can do it!

You Used TO Call Me On My Home PhoneMonday, August 22nd, 2016

chrisMby Chris Mateer, Front Rush

The recruitment process requires a fine balance between maintaining contact and giving the student-athlete room to breathe. As a coach, the last thing you want is to go too long without maintaining some form of contact. At the same time, too many calls can become intrusive, especially considering a senior-athlete’s busy schedule. Luckily, the rise of email, text, social media, and, yes, even Snapchat, have given both coaches and student athletes more flexibility than ever in how they go about the recruitment process. These relatively new forms communication leave coaches with countless decisions to make regarding how to contact a recruit. We’ll stick to addressing just one of these decisions today though: when do you pick up the phone and make the call and when do you simply press “send”?

When to Call

It seems growingly unpopular among high schoolers to make phone calls to anyone who isn’t a family member above the age of 40 on a day that isn’t a birthday. Simply put, talking on the phone isn’t convenient or efficient. It requires making conversation and enduring that occasional awkward moment when you both start talking at once and feel like you interrupted each other. Despite this, almost every coach considers making calls a vital component of the recruitment process.

Calls let your prospects know, for however long you’re on the phone, your attention is on them. For a high schooler, the importance of this cannot be understated. In some regards, the inconvenience of a phone call are its strengths. A call lets your recruits know that you thought of them and took the time out of your evening to make that call.

Calls also give a great glimpse into you as a person and as a coach. Use this time to laugh, ask questions, and get to really know your recruits. Among all the spreadsheets, stats, and online profiles, you’re still recruiting a person.

When to Text

Voicemail is mostly a thing of the past. Leaving a message is a nice formality, but the response rate is not great. If the recruit doesn’t answer the phone, send a text. More often than not, this results in an almost immediate response. Usually (and hopefully) it will be a quick “Hey Coach! Sorry I missed your call, out at Chipotle with the team. Can you talk tomorrow?”. Boom, mission accomplished. Other times, you’ll be less lucky and that response will give you a quick heads up that your time is best spent elsewhere. Some recruits will just ignore calls, but will feel more comfortable letting you know they’re not interested or committed elsewhere via text. Don’t worry, there are other fish in the sea and this will save a lot of time and effort in the long run.  

Beyond following up on a missed call, texts can provide that opportunity to strike the sweet spot between maintaining contact and not overwhelming your recruits. Sending over a quick check-in between calls asking how school is going, how their offseason conditioning has progressed, or how a low-key competition went is the perfect time to check in with your recruits. These texts will provide good talking points when making that next call and let your recruits know you’re still interested.


Browsing For BrowsersMonday, August 15th, 2016

IMG_2590 (1)by Josh DiCristo, Front Rush

Have you ever heard from a student athlete that a website you’ve sent them to isn’t displaying correctly or looks wrong? Usually the first question is “What browser are you using?”. Some websites will even ask the question for you – they greet you with a message telling you to switch browsers for a better viewing experience. No “Hi there!” or “How was your day?”, instead you get, “Please use Google Chrome”.


It’s a strange request, the first time you see it. You’d think that the internet is a massive, global network so surely it can all be accessed in some global way. Why are there multiple browsers, anyway? The same question could be applied to Mac vs. PC or iPhone vs. Android – all browsers are built slightly differently and are better for slightly different uses. So when you’re scouring the internet hunting for wild recruits (okay, I know that’s not exactly how it works but just let me have my fantasy), what browsers should you use?


Chrome is arguably the most reliable web browser as well as the most current. Though it’s updated about as often as Firefox, it’s ability to keep up with trends is greater than any of its competitors. That is to say: when in doubt, the site will work on Chrome. Chrome is the overall winner when it comes to speed and performance and also allows the most opportunity for personalization through chrome extensions. Like this one, which changes every image on your page to a picture of Nicolas Cage. Hey, I never said all of the extensions were useful.

Microsoft Edge

Edge is the newest browser on the market so you’re forgiven if you haven’t heard of it. Replacing Internet Explorer as the default browser on PCs starting with Windows 10, Edge is remarkably efficient when it comes to battery usage and is fast when it has to load simple pages. If you’re frequently visiting sites with lots of features however, you may want to look elsewhere. Considering it’s the newest browser on the market, its speed and reliability is impressive, though it’s not first place. Give it a few years and maybe it’ll be near the top.

Internet Explorer (IE)

With the release of Edge, updates for IE have ceased. You’re probably fine to keep using it for now, but it was always the slowest and least adaptive browser in the first place and it’s just going to get worse as time goes on. In a year, you might as well sit at your computer and yell, “SHOW ME CAT PICTURES” rather than use IE to search for it. Actually, in a few years voice-controlled computers could be a thing. That’s not as crazy as it seems.

What I’m saying is don’t use Internet Explorer.

Netscape Navigator

Your computer is legally old enough to drink. Get a new one.


Firefox is built in a different language compared to other browsers on this list, so when it converts a page from code to a display on your window, don’t be surprised if the page seems a little… off. The browser is fast (though not the fastest), reliable (though not the most reliable), efficient (though not the most efficient, but it makes a strong case), and will keep your personal internet data safe (actually, it’s the best at that). There’s a fair share of pros with Firefox so, like all browsers, it really depends on your usage. If you left your charger at home and you’re scared of WikiLeaks, this might be the choice for you.


Safari doesn’t eat up nearly as much battery power as it’s competitors and it’s just as fast, but you’ll see some of the same issues as Firefox when it comes to webpages displaying incorrectly. In addition to that, not all features will load properly on Safari. Although if you love Apple products and live in an Apple household and have debated legally changing your name to begin with a lowercase ‘i’, then you’ll enjoy Safari for how it interacts with your other devices. Otherwise, you may find other browsers more reliable if you depend on the internet for your day-to-day.


Oh, Opera. The most popular web browser in Sub-Saharan Africa and Bangladesh (that’s true). Look, Opera’s actually a really good option when it comes to speed, performance, personalization*, reliability, privacy, your webpages will look normal, blah blah blah, but be honest with me. Did you know Opera was even a web browser before you read this article? You won’t have any problems if you use Opera, I’ll give you that. Just know that when you ask your nephew for help with your internet, he’s just going to download Chrome and call it a day.


Honestly I’m just impressed that your computer still has a CD-ROM drive. If I give you the tracklist, can you burn me a mix CD? Don’t worry, you can find most of the songs on Napster.

*Want to know why Opera is good at personalization? Because Opera allows you to download and use any Google Chrome extension on their browser. Cheaters.

Hit Em’ Where it Counts!Monday, August 8th, 2016

nicole1by Nicole Sohanic, Front Rush

Long gone are the days of snail mail and email correspondence as the main tools of communication. Historically messaging apps had a tone of being too casual and lacking in professionalism. Times sure have changed. Being the main medium of communication among ‘kids these days’, it has also found its place as a staple communication tool among working professionals.

What are messaging apps? These apps replace text messaging on your devices. Among them are WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and many more. Using messaging apps, you can avoid text messaging charges and even communicate across country borders without worrying about a hefty bill. These messaging apps all have their special affordances that cater to individual’s needs. They can provide awesome bonus features that the regular text messaging app on your device just cannot do.

Competing with other coaches, you need speed and clarity when reaching out to your recruits. The quickest way to get in touch and express your interest is through messaging apps! That recruit will receive your message right away and can immediately start communicating with you in a medium they use every single day.

Casual is Comfortable

We all have at least one adult friend on facebook that will close their comment with their name as if they are writing a formal letter. No need for such formalities when you are messaging! Say hello and express your interest. Keep it light!

Short and Sweet

It is best to keep your messages on the short side! When chatting in a messaging app, sometimes it is hard to keep up. Messages can be long or can come in short, rapid bursts. Make it easy, give recruits time to respond to the messages you send. The more you get to engage with your recruit, the more you get to learn about them as an athlete and a person.

Timing is Everything

Even though recruits may receive your message right away, does not mean they can respond at that time. The tone of messaging apps can sometimes bring about some anxiety or impatience when someone doesn’t respond as quickly as we would like. Be patient, give the recruit some time to finish up whatever they could have been doing. If you have not heard from them in a day or so, feel free to touch base again to be sure they got your message.

Team Communication Tool

With your existing team, you can use messaging as a fast way to communicate. Group messages are your number one friend for mass communication. Inform your roster of practices times, schedule changes, and upcoming team events. GroupMe is a popular app among college teams. Allowing you to see when messages are sent, received, and read is super crucial to making sure everyone knows what is happening. This instills responsibility in your athletes to get back to you in a timely manner and acknowledge your message. You also have the ability to set up groups for your support staff, trainers, and current roster. Since these groups always remain, you are one click away from talking to who you want.

Get out there Coach! Jump right into these awesome messaging apps and take advantage of them for recruiting and team communication. Learn something new, talk it up, and have some fun along the way.


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