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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  Nothing against the use of a GPS, but sometimes they can be outdated and often lead you to the wrong destination.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.

ipadchart

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.

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”.

Rude.

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

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

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

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.

Opera

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.

AOL CD-ROM

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.

 

Expand Your EmojicabularySunday, July 31st, 2016

ken1by Ken Whittaker, Front Rush

I have a confession to make. I used to think emojis were useless. I didn’t get the point. When I made the switch from Android to iPhone (gasp!) in 2011, emojis were just gaining popularity. Some of you might remember that to even enable emojis on the iPhone, you had to go to the keyboard settings and add the specific emoji keyboard (the horror!). A friend of mine stopped by my dorm room one day, and must have noticed I was still typing emojis the “original” way 🙂 She said something like, “You gotta get emojis” before leaving. “Nah,” I thought to myself, “it’s faster to type the symbols.” Fast forward five years, and 😍.

Now, if you don’t know what emojis are – you’re probably very confused. In short, they are cartoon like representation of emotions, images, shapes, food…and just about anything. It’s not a new concept – but neither is Season 32 of Survivor. Everywhere you look – emojis have popped up. Just last week my auto insurance company sent me a statement reminder and had a dollar bill emoji in the subject line. This naturally begs the question – are emojis professional? I wouldn’t venture that far – but when used in the right context – they can be a great tool. They’re funny and can often summarize a feeling that might otherwise be too awkward to type out in words 🐢.

At Front Rush, we use an instant message client to communicate as a team, which is especially convenient considering many of us work across the country. It’s no secret that emojis are a huge part of our day to day interactions – whether they are for fun, to drive a point home, give props for a job well done, or even help to take lunch orders 🍕. There is no question that your recruits and players use emojis. I’d be willing to guess most of you also use them as well. Here are a few ways you can use emojis in your day to day recruiting methods:

Break the Ice

Using emojis when communicating with recruits lets them know you’re a fun person (I know you are) – someone that’s not just all about business. It gives a message more of a personality and could even help with some confusion. For example, “I saw your video from last weekend’s tournament” vs “I saw your video from last weekend’s tournament 👏” Subtle, but it definitely sends positive vibes their way. The best (worst?) part is there’s no limit to how many you can use, however…

Don’t Go Overboard 🙄

Some people like to string multiple emojis together to create a sentence. Honestly, I never really saw the point in this. I think of emojis as helpers, not complete replacements for entire words in a paragraph. It’s possible this mentality might change in the near future, as Apple has announced a feature coming in the next version of iOS that will allow users to tap on a word and replace it with an emoji. 🆗👍(That’s emoji for, “Hmm, ok. Got it.”)

International 🌎

If the situation arises where you’re still brushing up on your foreign language skills, emojis can help you in a bind. As I mentioned earlier, emojis can represent just about anything – including emotions. It’s like tech slang, so the more you can pull from your existing emojicabulary, the safer you’ll be.

Familiarize Yourself 🤓

Ok, so maybe I haven’t sold you yet. Maybe you’re still acting like the 2011 version of me who was a holdout. The truth is, emojis are just such a common part of texting, instant messaging, and even emailing, that there’s no doubt you’ll come across them if you haven’t already. Emojis are continually being added to the universal library (in fact, 72 new emojis were released last month), so it’s important to know what they are and what some of them mean. This resource (http://emojipedia.org) will help you get started.

Drones: What’s All the BuzzMonday, July 25th, 2016

cip_pic_360by Chelsea Cipriani, Front Rush

Every week, I head over to Dusty Rhodes Dog Park in Ocean Beach, San Diego with my two crazy Italian Greyhounds (semi-instafamous @izzy.the.iggy).  Throughout the year, I have witnessed many different activities in the park however, more recently, I can’t help but notice the increasing recreational use of drones.

Maybe they have always been there but there is one defining moment that I began to notice their existence.  Just for a visual, the dog park is separated by a fence, keeping the small dogs on one side, and the bigger dogs on the other.  I probably wouldn’t have noticed this drone, until Baxter, a lab mix, made a run for the corner of the connecting fences barking uncontrollably.  He launched over the fence and headed straight towards the center of the field.  It was then I realized what Baxter was after.  He was after the drone.

This drone was piloted by a young boy and his father.  They were operating the DJI Phantom 3, one of the more popular drones on the market.  There are lots of different brands of drones out there, but I have just decided to focus on the DJI Phantom Series.

The DJI Phantom 3 features 4 models to choose from.  Phantom 3 Standard (the “beginner model”), Phantom 3 4K, Phantom 3 Advanced, and Phantom 3 Professional (the “phantom that has it all”).  Each of these drones were created for High-Level aerial photography and cinematography.  The prices typically vary from $499 – $1259.

To Learn more about the features of all of the DJI Phantom drones visit their website.

Aside from recreational use, businesses have caught on to the trend using the drones mainly for  photography and video. However some companies such as Amazon are taking it further with the idea of commercial drone use for package delivery.  On June 21st, the FAA Finalized the first operational rules for commercial use of UAS (drones).  These regulations will create new opportunities for Businesses and Government moving forward.

Okay, so how does all of this relate to you?  The other day I was at the USA Women’s Rugby Sevens Olympic trials at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA.  Out of the corner of my eye, I saw it again, a drone taking off and eventually hovering above the field.  I had to pause for a moment because up until this point, I never thought of a drone as anything more than just a cool piece of technology, but now I see how valuable it can be in athletics.

Not only does a drone have a very functional purpose when it comes to filming your practices, it is really really awesome.  Drones offer that futuristic angle for media purposes, in promotions, and highlight films, but I sat down to speak with one of the players on the team to find out if and how drone use at practice has impacted their video analysis.  Below are my findings.

  1. The View / Depth Perception: Having a higher angle allows the players and coaches to see the entire width of the field as well as distances between players.

Imagine this, you’re a field hockey coach and your main focus all week has been off ball movement.  You are putting everything together in a final scrimmage before the upcoming game.  The ball transfers from the right back, to the center back, out to the left back, and ahhh you can no longer see the right back, right midfielder, and you have no idea if those players are making the correct cuts / movement.

  1. Moving with the play:  The use of a drone allows you to move with the play from the back field to the forward line.  

Everyone has watched film.  Typically you have this one problem.  Maybe your camera is set in a lift behind a goal.  That is great when you are defending or attacking that goal, but what happens when you need to see the rest of the field.  “Is that #7 or is it #9? Oh no, it’s #6…I think.” This can help you solve that problem.

  1. Safety: No longer have your student workers, players, and coaches standing at dangerous heights which have the potential to result in injury or even a tragedy.
  1. Cost Effective: You can purchase a very advanced Drone for $1000 or less.  Now that may sound expensive, but think about the cost of a mechanical lift, or scaffolding, in addition to a quality video camera, which would easily cost $600.  

The quality of video on the Drone is so high that it will most likely be better than the quality of the camera due to its 4K resolution.  

  1.  Be known as the tech-savvy coach: Players, other teams, and most importantly recruits will think its really awesome.

When you have recruits on campus, typically when they come to watch practice they do not have much to do.  Here you can have one of your players show them all about the drone and footage and even allow them to take a turn flying the drone (if you’re feeling adventurous).  It will definitely be a memory they will remember and share with their family and friends.

In the past, the use of drones really didn’t seem practical.  After witnessing how common they are becoming and digging into it a bit more I can see how drones will only evolve more and help overcome some of the obstacles the camera and tripod may encounter.  

From creating marketing videos of your campus and your sports program to utilizing drones in your day to day practice and game film, the possibilities are endless.  If you have an extra $1000 in your budget, I highly recommend exploring how a drone may be a benefit to your program.  

Pokemon Go – Why You should care, and how to use itMonday, July 18th, 2016

neal_headshot_dantudorby Neal Cook, Front Rush

By now, you’ve probably heard the word ‘Pokemon Go’ hundreds of times. You may have even seen some people – more than normal – walking around staring at their phones. Odds are they are trying to catch digital Pokemon. So what is Pokemon Go and why is it taking the world by storm? To understand Pokemon Go, you must first understand the origins.

Pokemon was originally a concept from a video game designer named Satoshi Tajiri. Tajiri had a childhood obsession with insect collecting and a passion for video games. Hence, the original Pokemon game (pokemon is a combination of the words pocket and monsters).

If you were a kid in the 90’s, chances are you had a Gameboy and played Pokemon non-stop. The game, coupled with a hit TV show, made Pokemon a cult-phenomenon. But that was 20 years ago.

Flash forward to the present. Pokemon Go was released on July 5th. It’s a free, augmented reality, mobile game that can be downloaded on most iPhone and Android devices.  Augmented reality blends the real world with technology. The game uses your phone’s GPS sensors to track where you are and uses Google Maps as your game board. You can’t play this game sitting in your house. You need to get out and move. As you walk around in real-life, Pokemon will appear and you can catch them with your digital Pokeballs (sounds kinda lame, but it’s actually really cool).  Depending on your location, you’ll notice different Pokemon. Fire-type Pokemon appear close to gas stations, grass-type Pokemon appear in parks, water-type Pokemon appear when you are by water. Chances are your school has some unique Pokemon that your recruits and team would love to catch.

Why should you care about all this? Because it’s huge. Really huge. As of Monday, July 11th, the game was seeing about 21 million daily active users (in a span of a week). In terms of daily users, it is the biggest mobile game in U.S. history. While it’s hot, it’s most likely playing a role in the lives of the student-athletes you engage with.

Screenshot_20160715-142135

How can you use your knowledge of Pokemon Go with your recruits and team?

#1 Check to see if your school is a PokeStop or Gym.

A PokeStop is a predetermined landmark that you can interact with and gather items (pokeballs, potions). Odds are, you’ll have a few these on your campus. Gyms, on the other hand, allow you to battle your Pokemon against other real people. Both draw users of the game to their locations (small businesses are actually using Pokemon Go to bring customers to their businesses).

#2 Catch Pokemon with your recruits

Recruits and parents are coming on campus to learn about your university and program. That comes first, but doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun along the way. Maybe take a detour to your local Pokestop/Gym on campus and catch a few Pokemon. Doesn’t have to be for long. But this would be a great icebreaker and show the recruit you are pretty cool and in-the-know.

#3 Tell your recruits which Pokemon you caught

Next time you send an email to your recruits, let them know how many Pokemon you’ve caught or which Pokemon has the strongest CP (combat power). Recruits will get a kick out of it. Maybe it’ll even spark a larger conversation about your program.

#4 Have fun with your team

Most of your team is already playing. After practice or a meeting, lighten the mood by having a Pokemon walk with your team. Sure, some might be “too cool’ to participate, but it’ll be a great team-bonding experience.

Pokemon Go is a global and cultural phenomenon that may or may not be here to stay. Familiarize yourself with how it’s being used within your world. Get creative in how you could use it to engage with your team, recruits, and even your University as a whole.

Gotta catch ‘em all!

 

Digital Angel or Digital Devil?Monday, April 25th, 2016

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:

  1. Digital Truth #1: Digital is impacting coaches
  2. Digital Truth #2: Coaches adopt digital at different speeds
  3. 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.

04-24-16 - impact of digital on coaches

 

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.

04-24-16 - coaches adopt digital

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.

So What?

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.

Will A Robot Take Your Coaching Job?Sunday, March 27th, 2016

by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com

You’re not going to like this, but I have to ask you a question. You’ll probably think it’s the stupidest question you’ve gotten today. Or this week. Or maybe this decade.

Regardless, I’m going to ask …

Will a robot take your coaching job?

Will you be replaced by a machine?

There’s a new reality brewing

You, we, me are way too valuable to be replaced by a machine. We bring too much to the role of a coach.

How could we possibly be replaced by a robot?

Heads up — it’s happening already.

  • Yesterday, I took my pulse during practice by placing two fingers on my carotid artery, Coach would count to 10, then I would multiply by 6.
  • Today, I all have to do is look at my Fitbit and read the display.
  • Yesterday, to fine-tune a player’s moves to the basket, Coach would stand, watch and then instruct.
  • Today, video cameras are turned on, and players can watch their mistakes in all shades of slow motion. Where, when and how they want to watch it. (Each NBA team has six cameras in the ceiling.)
  • Yesterday, the intensity of my workout was at best an estimation.
  • Today, an app tracks my steps, stairs and heart rate and tells me to work harder or rewards me when I exceed my goals.

03-26-16 - Fitbit image

Are those robots? Close.

robot can be defined as a mechanical or virtual artificial agent, electro-mechanical in nature, which is guided by a computer program or electronic circuitry.

I think it’s scary how close we are to robot-coaches.

Human powered?

Why do humans even need to be involved in the coaching process?

Is it because we know more than machines and computers. Actually, we don’t.

Is it because we can communicate better. Actually, we can’t.

Is it because a machine could never drive better than us? Actually, they can.

Or is it because we learn as we go — and machines don’t. Actually, they do. As evidenced by an artificial intelligence named Giraffe, which taught itself to play chess and attained an International Master status in just 72 hours.

Taught. It. Self.

Knowledge, communication and learning are NOT just human strengths. Machines can do them, and if they aren’t doing them better than us TODAY, they will TOMORROW.

Our advantages

So what does a human-coach actually do better than a robot-coach? Humans blow away robots in at least two areas — areas critical to coaching: empathy and relationships.

Empathy — We can read people’s facial expressions. We can tell by the look in their eyes or their voice intonation how they’re feeling and what’s going on. We can grasp what they are emoting.

But, how long until robots can do that?

For instance, the computer I’m typing on has facial recognition. How difficult will it be to connect that recognition with an emotional data base? Then, when I sit down at my computer, it knows how I feel. “Need a few minutes of Twitter, Mike, to see what your friends are doing? It’ll pick you up.

Stay tuned on this, because I think it’s happening now.

Relationship — A critical factor in coaching is the ability to build positive relationships. A robot could never do that. Right?

Well — what’s your relationship with your smart phone?

Even if you don’t do any of those, I bet you know someone who does.

A prediction

I’m lousy at predicting the future. But there are voices to listen to.

Scott Santens wrote Robots Will Take Your Job, published in the Boston Globe. In the article Santens writes about the jobs already being replaced by robots (hint — it’s not just on the assembly line).

And he throws this bomb shell on the reader, “Nothing humans do as a job is safe anymore. From making hamburgers to anesthesiology, machines will be able to successfully perform such tasks and at lower costs than humans.

Evidence suggests Santens is right.

So?

To keep our coaching jobs, we need to be valuable.

So, what makes YOU more valuable to your athletes/team/organization than a robot?

I’d love to hear …

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