by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
There comes a time when I need to face the truth.
In this instance, there are three truths, digital truths, that I’m trying to process:
- Digital Truth #1: Digital is impacting coaches
- Digital Truth #2: Coaches adopt digital at different speeds
- Digital Truth #3: Screen sizes keep getting smaller
Here is what has me scratching my head … there is a positive impact (Digital Angel) and a negative impact (Digital Devil) to each of these truths. And I’m trying to understand how this will work.
Truth #1: Digital is impacting coaches
In a recent survey of sport coaches, over 35% of them told me they were significantly concerned about the impact digital was having on their coaching.
Yikes — all those coaches worried about data flying around, media that’s called social, and powerful phones in people’s pockets.
Are their concerns valid?
At the other end of the survey results, 31% of coaches told me that they were NOT worried about the impact of digital. AT ALL.
Are they ignoring reality?
Who is right? On my end, I see the Angel and the Devil:
- Digital Angel: One day I was pumped about the value of sharing a race video I just recorded, through social media, to team members.
- Digital Devil: The next day I spent hours trying to sort out a “social media dust up” between team members. At the end of the day I was ready to condemn all things electronic.
- Digital Angel: A huge percentage of coaches report the impact of digital on their recruiting is positive (>70%)
- Digital Devil: Everyday there is another story about a coach who runs into trouble due to digital, like this one.
See, there’s an Digital Angel and a Digital Devil sitting there. On a shoulder. Whisper confusing things.
Truth #2: Coaches adopt digital at different speeds
Almost half of coaches in my survey (44.1%) told me as soon as they know about a new digital thing they want to try it.
That’s crazy stuff. What are these coaches looking for? A recruiting advantage? Easing of workload? Distraction?
Yet, the other half yawned when new digital popped up. They said they don’t care about the new stuff..
So, half of coaches are early adopters (that’s me, actually I’m a super-early adopter), and the other half are late (if ever) adopters.
Angel and Devil again.
Truth #3: Screen size is getting smaller
Thanks to Moore’s Law, digital gadgets are shrinking and so is their cost. And this is leading to smaller screen sizes.
desktop => laptop => tablet => smartphone => smartwatch
I have a theory. Here’s the first part: “smaller screen size means devices are becoming more mobile.” It is so easy to stick the smartphone in your pocket or slip the smartwatch on your wrist and take the screen with you — everywhere.
Here’s the second part: “smaller screens lead to greater human contact which leads to greater use.” And, of course there is an Angel/Devil aspect here.
- Digital Angel: quick communication is at arms length
- Digital Devil: distracted coaching becomes a reality (how many times do you check during practices?)
- Digital Angel: everyone has a smartphone
- Digital Devil: a smartphone in plain view, even if off, changes conversations
The list goes on.
Does any of this matter?
Growing up, rock-n-roll was just becoming popular. The adults around me were split between how great it was, and it being a sign of our society’s demise. Angel/Devil.
Digital is part of our coaching world. There are smart/safe ways to use it. I doubt if we will see a lessening of it’s popularity. Knowing there is both a Digital Angel and Digital Devil might be helpful as I (and you) keep moving ahead.